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  1. Microsoft is today releasing a Beta channel build. While the Dev channel got Windows 11 build 22458 yesterday, the beta channel is being served a cumulative update, bumping up the build number to 22000.194. This is to be expected since the version heading to the Beta channel is in its final stages of development, being made ready for the October 5 release. However, the version will continue receiving cumulative updates with bug fixes post-release, especially since the release is a staggered one. As for the fixes themselves, there's a few that are listed below, but readers might need to be aware that this build also introduces the TPM requirements in Virtual Machines, meaning updates will be blocked if you are running Windows 11 in anything but VMWare Workstation Pro or Hyper-V Manager that is included in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows. Addressed an issue where if you enable then disable a contrast theme, it would lead to artifacts in title bars, in some cases making the minimize/maximize/close buttons hard to see and use. Fixed a crash with certain connected devices that could result in not being able to use Bluetooth. Mitigated an issue that was resulting in subtitles not appearing when expected in certain apps, particularly Japanese language subtitles. Fixed an issue that was causing certain PCs to bugcheck during modern standby. Mitigated an issue when typing with certain 3rd party IMEs into the search box in Settings that could result in the candidate window being rendered elsewhere on-screen (not attached to the search box) and/or characters inserted into the search box not displaying. We fixed an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding. This build includes a change that aligns the enforcement of the Windows 11 system requirements on Virtual Machines (VMs) to be the same as it is for physical PCs. Previously created VMs running Insider Preview builds may not update to the latest preview builds. In Hyper-V, VMs need to be created as a Generation 2 VM. For more details on the Windows 11 system requirements – see this blog post here. The build, however, contains a the exact same list of known issues as the previous one, released a week ago. It is anybody’s guess if these issues will be fixed in time for general availability, or if the OS ships with a few known issues, something that has happened in the past with certain Windows 10 versions. Here is the complete list of issues: [General] We’re investigating reports from Insiders in the Beta Channel where after upgrading to Windows 11, they are not seeing the new Taskbar and the Start menu doesn’t work. To workaround this if you are impacted, please try going to Windows Update > Update history, uninstalling the latest cumulative update for Windows, and the reinstall it by checking for updates. We’re working on a fix for an issue that is causing some Surface Pro X’s to bugcheck with a WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR. [Start] In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it. System and Windows Terminal is missing when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). [Taskbar] The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods. [Search] After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again. Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box. [Widgets] The widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again. Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual PC display first and then launch on your secondary monitors. [Microsoft Store] We continue to work to improve search relevance in the Store. [Windows Sandbox] Within Windows Sandbox, the language input switcher does not launch after clicking the switcher icon on the Taskbar. As a workaround, users can switch their input language via any of the following hardware keyboard shortcuts: Alt + Shift, Ctrl + Shift, or Win + Space (the third option is available only if Sandbox is full-screened). Within Windows Sandbox, the IME context menu does not launch after clicking the IME icon in the Taskbar. As workarounds, users can access the functionalities of the IME context menu with either of following methods: Accessing the IME settings via Settings > Time & language > Language & region > (e.g., Japanese) three dots > Language options > (e.g., Microsoft IME) three dots > Keyboard options. Optionally, you may also enable the IME toolbar, an alternative UI, to quickly invoke specific IME functions. Continuing from above, navigate to Keyboard options > Appearance > Use IME toolbar. Using the unique set of hardware keyboard shortcuts associated with each IME-supported language. (See: Japanese IME Shortcuts, Traditional Chinese IME Shortcuts). As usual, Beta channel users can check for updates via Windows Update to pull the build. It will not be surprising to soon see Windows 11 builds head to the Release Preview channel for consumers since they have already begun being made available for commercial testing. Windows 11 build 22000.194 adds update block for Virtual Machines in Beta channel
  2. We reported this morning that some Windows 11 Insiders were unable to update to the latest build of Windows 11 on their virtual machines due to a TPM 2.0 error. In the changelog for Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.194 Microsoft confirmed that support for TPM 2.0 will now be required to run Windows 11 on a virtual machine. Microsoft writes: This build includes a change that aligns the enforcement of the Windows 11 system requirements on Virtual Machines (VMs) to be the same as it is for physical PCs. Previously created VMs running Insider Preview builds may not update to the latest preview builds. In Hyper-V, VMs need to be created as a Generation 2 VM. Effectively this means Windows 11 will only run in VMWare Workstation Pro (which costs more than £200) or Hyper-V Manager that is included in Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows. The news will introduce a new frustration for hobbyists, who may already have been unable to throw Windows 11 on older spare PCs or laptops they may have had lying around. via Neowin Microsoft confirms Windows 11 will not support most Virtual Machines
  3. Contrary to expectations, Microsoft appears to be enforcing their requirement for a TPM 2.0 module for Windows 11 virtual machines to be able to update to the latest version of Windows 11 for Insiders, build 22458. Users on Twitter are reporting the following issue warning. Microsoft recently clarified the requirements for Insiders to continue with the program, saying that Windows Insiders whose PCs do not meet minimum Windows 11 requirements (e.g. TPM 2.0) but who could still install the OS would be able to continue with the program. It is unclear what has changed or if the interpretation of Microsoft’s original clarification has been incorrect. Hopefully, more information will become available shortly. The latest Windows 11 Insider Build 22458 is enforcing TPM 2.0 requirement for Virtual Machines
  4. Microsoft today released a redesigned Tips app for Windows 11 with over 114 new tips. This new Tips app aligns well with the new look and feel of Windows 11. Microsoft has also included 100+ new tips related to Windows 11. The new tips are around new keyboard shortcuts, ways to optimize your PC, productivity tips for Office, gaming on Windows, and more. And these tips are available in 36 languages. And it doesn’t quite stop there with the Tips app—you’ll notice tips appear throughout Windows 11 to help you discover new things as you go! Check out the new Tips widget on the widgets board, tips as First Run Experiences, and tips for specific experiences within Windows 11. The new Tips app is now available for Windows Insiders in the Windows 11 Dev Channel. Microsoft will soon bring it to Windows Insiders in the Beta and Release Preview Channels soon. Source: Microsoft Microsoft releases new Tips app for Windows 11 with 114 new tips
  5. Microsoft today released a new Windows 11 Dev channel build from the rs_prerelease branch. The build brings just one UI change in the form of a new 'Sign-in options' link to the power menu in Start. There are, as expected, a bunch of bug fixes and known issues accompanying the single new feature. While the company has been releasing Dev and Beta channel builds simultaneously, it does not seem to be the case today, as there is no Beta channel build in sight yet. Surprisingly, there was no cumulative update for the OS either yesterday as part of the Patch Tuesday updates. As for Dev channel builds themselves, major new features slated for release in the next version will eventually start appearing in these releases. Generally, the firm releases servicing updates when builds head to the Beta and/or Release Preview channels, which is the case with Windows 11 since it is now available for commercial customers in the Release Preview channel. With Windows 11 slated to begin rolling out to eligible users starting October 5, it is surprising to see the bulk of bug fixes heading to Dev channel builds. The firm does note that it will bring "some fixes" from these Insider builds to the stable version after it releases. It is anybody's guess if these features will come in the way of day one updates. Here are the fixes made as part of build 22458: [Start] Fixed an underlying issue that was impacting Start reliability. [Search] Folders with # in folder name can now be added to indexing. [Settings] Addressed an issue that was causing Settings to crash sometimes when trying to open the Display page. Clicking “More about refresh rate” in Advanced Display Settings now opens the support page it’s supposed to. Fixed an issue where the Location page in Settings wasn’t showing warning text explaining why the location services setting was greyed out if it was greyed out. Changes made to preferences under Manage App Execution Alias in Settings should now be preserved. Fixed a couple typos in the output of dll (Issue #206). [Windowing] Mitigated an issue that could make certain games unexpectedly crash when using ALT + Enter (i.e., switch between full screen and windowed) during with Auto HDR enabled. [Other] Addressed an issue that was causing text truncation in the Encrypting File System window in certain cases. Fixed a rare scenario that could result in an uninstalled in-box app unexpectedly reappearing after reboot. Appx commandlets should now work with PowerShell 7.0+ printui.dll (Issue #13138). As is expected with development builds, there are a bunch of known issues that users should be aware of. This includes the taskbar bug that misaligns the Start menu and the app icons, resulting in some icons being cut off. Here is the complete list of known issues: [General] We’re working on a fix for an issue that is causing some Surface Pro X’s to bug check with a WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR. We’re working on a fix for an issue that is causing some devices to bug check with DRIVER_PNP_WATCHDOG error when attempting to update to a recent build. [Start] In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it. System is missing when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). [Taskbar] IMPORTANT: Icons on the Taskbar are shifted to the side when in the default center alignment, resulting in them getting cut off by the “show hidden icons” button when too many apps are open. The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods. [Search] After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again. Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box. [File Explorer] If you right click files in OneDrive locations in File Explorer, the context menu will unexpectedly dismiss when you hover over entries that open sub-menus, such as “Open with.” [Widgets] The widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again. Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual PC display first and then launch on your secondary monitors. [Windows Sandbox] We’re investigating an issue in which Windows Sandbox may not launch for some Insiders after upgrading to this build. [Microsoft Store] We continue to work to improve search relevance in the Store. [Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) & Hyper-V] We’re investigating reports of both WSL2 and Hyper-V not working on this build on ARM64 PCs such as the Surface Pro X. Lastly, Microsoft is also announcing a refreshed Tips app for Windows 11, complete with UI refreshes and the ability to serve "100+" tips for users. The OS is also receiving the ability to serve tips across the OS showing off new capabilities and features added, such as widgets, the new touch-focused improvements, and much more. Update: As pointed out by our readers, which was also confirmed by Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc, the 'Sign-in options' link has been present in the Dev channel since last week's release. The addition was not mentioned in last week's release notes. Windows 11 build 22458 for the Dev channel brings a 'Sign-in options' link to the power menu [Update]
  6. AMD has posted a new set of drivers for their AMD Ryzen Chipsets, AMD Radeon Graphics, AMD Radeon Pro Graphics, and AMD Processors with Radeon Graphics which brings official support for Windows 11. Version 3.09.01.140 of the Ryzen driver brings official support for Windows 11, which means all features in the Radeon Software is now enabled. This includes Radeon Anti-Lag, Radeon Image Sharpening, and more. The update also addresses Windows 11 issues with other supported chipsets, including the 400-series and 300-series. “Windows 11 is just around the corner, and we know many users are participating in Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program and have access to an early build of Windows. If you’re one of those people, you can now take advantage of all the features found in Radeon Software,” said AMD. The updated driver can be downloaded here. via WindowsLatest Official AMD Radeon™ Graphics and Ryzen™ Chipset Drivers for Windows 11 now available
  7. Around a month ago, Parallels announced that its Desktop 17 software supports running Windows 11 on both Intel and M1 Macs. However, users would only be able to emulate the Windows on ARM variant of the OS. It is important to note that in order to get Windows on ARM up and running on virtualization software like Parallels, you have to grab and utilize a virtual hard disk file from a Windows Insider Preview build, as noted by XDA. That said, in a statement issued to The Register recently, a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed that running Windows 11 on M1 Mac devices isn't a "supported scenario". What this means is that while you can install the OS via Parallels on an M1 Mac, if you run into any issue, Microsoft isn't responsible for providing a workaround or a fix. Furthermore, if at any point in the future, Microsoft makes changes to the OS that renders this virtualization impossible, people who paid for software like Parallels Desktop will be left out in te cold. It is important to understand the importance of this caveat as a Windows 11 Dev Channel build recently starting throwing errors related to hardware compatibility on M1 Macs, and although Parallels was able to update its software to resolve the issue, there might be a future scenario where a quick fix is not possible. Interestingly, Thurrott does say that a source told him that Windows on ARM for M1 Macs would be officially supported by Microsoft in September. However, this seems to be very unlikely to happen now, in light of the recent statement. Microsoft: Running Windows 11 on M1 Macs is not a supported scenario
  8. Back in June when the first builds of Windows 11 were leaking or being released to Windows Insiders, it was discovered that Microsoft had blocked setup from completing if there is no Internet connection available on the device, ultimately forcing everyone to sign in with a Microsoft account. We discovered a workaround, but not long after that Microsoft closed that loophole. Fast forward to today, and Neowin member warwagon contacted us again with a new workaround that enables you to complete the Windows 11 setup (confirmed to be working in build 22000.184) without internet, and Windows 11 doesn't seem to mind operating without a Microsoft ID when the network is eventually enabled. warwagon captured the steps above in a video he shared with us, but to clarify, we've confirmed in our own testing of the latest build, and detailed what you need to do below: Pointy clicky method: At the "Lets connect you to a network" step, press Shift + F10 on your keyboard, At the Command prompt window that opens, type taskmgr press Enter on your keyboard, Expand Task Manager to More details, Find 'Network Connection Flow', Select it, then right click and choose End task, Now go back to the Setup and continue to add a local account. Power user method: At the "Lets connect you to a network" step, press Shift + F10 on your keyboard, At the Command prompt window that opens, type: taskkill /F /IM oobenetworkconnectionflow.exe Press Enter on your keyboard, close the Command prompt window, Now go back to the Setup and continue to add a local account. After booting for the first time, you will notice that several icons in the Start menu will not populate, this is because they are downloaded from the internet. However, in our testing we found that we can connect to the internet to allow Windows to finish downloading apps, and so far we have not been forced to sign in to a Microsoft ID in order to continue using Windows. As you can see above, without an internet connection, the icons fail to even load properly, as the apps are not yet downloaded. Opening an app such as the Tips app is possible but it will fail to load anything. Upon connecting to the internet, apps will download as normal and show on the Start menu and the Tips app will function normally, even without being signed in to a Microsoft ID. Windows 11 is scheduled to release on October 5, which is only weeks away. Thank you again, warwagon, for the brilliant find and video! You can still complete Windows 11 Home setup without internet
  9. After teasing it a few days ago, Microsoft has started rolling out its newly updated Photos app for Windows 11 Insiders. The app features new WinUI 2.6 controls, new Mica effects and new photo views. Other improvements include an improved cropping menu and easier access to the Information page. The new version of the app is being pushed out via a controlled rollout and can be identified by the version number 2021.21090.9002.0. via ALumia, WBI New Windows 11 Photos app now rolling out to Insiders
  10. Microsoft has updated the Windows 11 ISO to build 22454, allowing power users to perform a clean install of the OS. Build 22454 was only released yesterday and has the following changelog: CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS Right-clicking on Recycle Bin on the desktop now uses the new modern context menu. New modern context menu when you right-click on Recycle Bin on your desktop. Added an option when right clicking a network share in File Explorer to pin it to Quick Access without having to click Show more options. We have begun releasing an updated version of the Korean IME with adjustments made based on Windows Insider feedback. We believe this will provide a more reliable input experience for Korean on Windows 11. The updated version of the Korean IME follows the new visual design of Windows 11 with acrylic in the candidate window, a new selection visual, and dark mode support. It also improves improved performance and compatibility. The updated Korean IME is rolling out to a subset of Insiders in the Dev Channel first, to help us quickly identify issues that may impact performance and reliability. Over time, it will roll out to everyone in the Dev Channel. Please file feedback via Feedback Hub under Input and Language > Text Input. The updated Korean IME candidate window in dark mode. FIXES [General] We fixed the issue that was causing PCs with Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) enabled to bugcheck continuously. PCs with WDAG enabled should now receive Build 22454. [Start] Windows Terminal is listed again when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). Narrator should announce the Start launch more reliably now. [Taskbar] The Desktops flyout should now dismiss properly for Narrator users when scanning with item navigation across the Task View button. Fixed an issue where the preview thumbnails for Desktops were not rendering correctly for certain aspect ratios. Fixed a rounding issue that was making the volume icon tooltip show the wrong number in some cases. The input indicator, Quick Settings, and notification center icon tooltips will no longer display behind the flyouts when they’re open. Addressed an underlying issue that was resulting in the volume icon in the Taskbar displaying sound was muted when that was not the case. Fixed an issue that could cause the Taskbar to unexpectedly get stuck on top of full screen applications, such as PowerPoint presentations, after interacting with the Taskbar previews. Taskbar icons should no longer flicker when you mouse over them while using a contrast theme. Fixed an issue where app icons would occasionally unexpectedly animate onto the Taskbar from somewhere other than from below. Shift + Click on an app icon in the Taskbar to launch a new instance of that app (for apps that support multiple instances) is now working again. Did some work to address an issue where app icons could get stuck in an alert state in the Taskbar even if the app in question was closed. [Input] Fixed an issue that was causing the text candidates to not appear after the first time the handwriting panel was invoked. Mitigated a stutter in the animation when tapping a text field to invoke the touch keyboard. Fixed a bug that was causing clipboard history to not render for some people. Displaying 3rd party IME icons in the input indicator should be more reliable now. Addressed an explorer.exe crash that could happen when changing window focus while using the touch keyboard. Fixed an issue for people who’d opted into the previous version of the Japanese IME that was causing certain games to crash. Fixed an issue where the tip for voice typing when using the touch keyboard wouldn’t be connected to the microphone button. Addressed an issue where the touch keyboard could get into a state where the key labels would be invisible due to the wrong background color being used. Mitigated an issue that was leading to the touch keyboard settings flyout having white on white text sometimes. Did some work to address an issue where interacting with the expressive input button in the touch keyboard could result in the candidate area having a broken layout. [File Explorer] Improved the reliability of context menu invocation. Mitigated a couple of issues that were causing leaks when using File Explorer. The context menu will now not immediately dismiss when the option to open things with a single-click is enabled in File Explorer. If you press F11 to full screen File Explorer, then use WIN + Shift + Left/Right to change what screen the window is displaying on, pressing F11 again will no longer jump the window back to the original screen. [Settings] Mitigated an issue when typing with certain 3rd party IMEs into the search box in Settings that could result in the candidate window being rendered elsewhere on-screen (not attached to the search box) and/or characters inserted into the search box not displaying. We did some work to help address an issue that was making the Windows Insider Program page in Settings appear blank sometimes. The mouse pointers under Accessibility > Mouse pointer and touch are no longer invisible for Arabic and Hebrew display languages. System > Storage > Show more categories > Other should no longer always say it’s managed by group policy even when it isn’t. Added some links to “Find my device” in Settings to help you learn more about the privacy resources. Start time and end time pickers under Focus Assist > During these times are now visible when focus is set while using a contrast theme. Addressed a crash that could happen when using Sound Settings. Fixed an issue with the volume slider in Quick Settings that was causing the volume to sometimes to save at a slightly different level than what was actually set. [Logging in and Authentication] Fixed a crash that could happen when the network icon updated states on the login screen. [Windowing] Made a change to address an issue where title bar options including close, minimize and maximize where not appearing as expected in certain apps when moving the mouse to top of the screen while the app was maximized. [Other] Improved icon rendering for certain apps in the Search hover flyout. Addressed an issue that was causing overlapping text in the Share window for certain languages. Made some performance improvements when switching to the Details tab of Task Manager. If the Windows Security app is open when switching to dark mode, the UI elements should respond better now and not have unreadable text. If there are a large number of exclusions listed under Virus and Threat Protection in the Windows Security app, it will now display a progress indicator when loading them. Fixed some text clipping in the Windows Security app when using the option in Accessibility Settings to increase the text size. Mitigated an issue that was causing the WM_CTLCOLORSTATIC message used in certain apps to be ignored, so the colors in some places wouldn’t appear correctly. Fixed a leak when the desktop background was set to a slideshow, impacting performance over time until explorer.exe was restarted. Mitigated an issue that was causing some PCs to bugcheck while in modern standby. Fixed an issue that was causing slower Wi-Fi speeds after enabling Hyper-V and creating an External V-Switch. When animations are disabled in the system, there should no longer be a fade animation in UWP apps like Settings or the Feedback Hub when transitioning from the splash screen to the app content. NOTE: Some fixes noted here in Insider Preview builds from the active development branch may make their way into the servicing updates for the released version of Windows 11 after general availability on October 5th. KNOWN ISSUES [General] We’re working on a fix for an issue that is causing some Surface Pro X’s to bugcheck with a WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR. [Start] In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it. System is missing when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). [Taskbar] The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods. We’re investigating an issue in this build where app icons in the Taskbar are getting cut off by the “show hidden icons” button and aren’t centered when using multiple monitors. [Search] After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again. Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box. [File Explorer] If you right click files in OneDrive locations in File Explorer, the context menu will unexpectedly dismiss when you hover over entries that open sub-menus, such as “Open with.” [Widgets] The widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again. Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual PC display first and then launch on your secondary monitors. [Windows Sandbox] We’re investigating an issue in which Windows Sandbox may not launch for some Insiders after upgrading to this build. [Microsoft Store] We continue to work to improve search relevance in the Store. You can download the new build ISO from Microsoft here. Official Windows 11 Build 22454 ISO image now available for download from Microsoft
  11. File Explorer, the default file management tool of Windows 11, is not the same tool that users of Windows 10 use to manage files. Microsoft redesigned large parts of File Explorer, and all of the changes can be described with a single word: minimalism. Windows 11 is still in development, and while there is not a lot of time left until the official release date October 5th, 2021, there is a chance that things may change. It seems unlikely that File Explorer will see major changes this short for release, though. When you open File Explorer in Windows 11, you will notice several changes immediately. Gone is the ribbon toolbar with its tab and functions; Microsoft replaced it with a single toolbar that displays just a few core options. Some options are only visible in certain locations, others all the time. The main interaction options allow users to create new files, folders and other items, cut, copy, paste, rename, share and delete items. Additional items may be displayed, such as ejecting a disc when an optical drive is selected. The sort menu lists available sorting options, and view options to change the layout and design of items in File Explorer, to enable compact view mode, and some other options, hidden under "show", e.g. to show file extensions all the time. There is also a three dots menu at the top, which displays additional options, such as selection options, copy path, properties and the folder options. How does it stack up against Windows 10's ribbon toolbar in File Explorer? Some options have been merged, e.g. the New folder and New item menus have been merged into the New menu in Windows 11's File Explorer. Others, are nowhere to be seen. Move to and Copy to are not available anymore, and neither are pin to Quick access, grouping options, adding columns, making all columns fit the window, or the link to remove access or advanced security. Some of these may be available elsewhere, e.g. in the properties window when it is opened, or when right-clicking on column headers to add or remove columns. The new toolbar is not the main usability issue though. Microsoft has probably analyzed data that it has on File Explorer usage and removed options that were not used a lot. The main usability issue becomes apparent when you right-click on items. Microsoft developed a new right-click menu design and layout. It is as streamlined as the new toolbar in File Explorer, and when you compare it to the right-click menu of Windows 10's File Explorer, you will notice that a lot of options are missing. Some context menu options are displayed only if the right file type is selected, but core options are missing from the menu. Microsoft did not remove the classic menu entirely though, as it is spawned when you activate the "show more options" link or press Shift-F10. The classic menu is then displayed in all its glory and with all the missing options of the new File Explorer menu. Several things need to be noted. First, if you install third-party applications that add their own items to the context menu, then you will notice that these are not displayed in the new menu. Maybe it is required to adjust the installer to make that happen, but at least in the preview builds, all third-party context menus are displayed only when you open the classic menu using "show more options". The decision is terrible for usability. Want to zip files quickly using a program such as 7-Zip, WinRar or PeaZip? Then you need to right-click the selection, select show more options, and then select the archive options of the program that you installed. Some native options are also only displayed in the classic menu. Restore previous version, pin to taskbar, create shortcut, or give access to are only displayed in that menu, and not the simple one. Closing Words File Explorer on Windows 11 has serious usability issues. Besides the stripped down main toolbar menu that hides many of the options in sub-sub-menus, it is the dual-windowed right-click context menu that needs to be mentioned specifically. Having to juggle between the simple new menu and the full menu that needs to be spawned from the simple menu or by using a keyboard shortcut, is impacting usability significantly. Will File Managers, similarly to Start replacement applications on Windows 10, make a comeback on Windows 11 as a consequence? Windows 11's File Explorer has serious usability issues
  12. Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool is a new portable program for computer systems running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. It compares the computers hardware with Microsoft's requirements for the company's Windows 11 operating system. It offers a quick option to check if a PC is compatible with Windows 11. If that is all that is required, it is as good a tool as any for the job as it displays whether the device is compatible with Windows at the top of the window when it is run. What sets it apart from other tools of its kind, including Microsoft's own PC Health Check tool and third-party solutions such as Win11SysCheck or WhyNotWin11, is that it reveals information about incompatibilities that the other programs don't provide. Most tools check the model and make of the processor to find out if it is on Microsoft's compatibility lists for AMD, Intel and ARM processors. Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool does not do that. The tool checks the actual processor requirements and returns the result to the user. The program checks for the following processor features and instructions next to the number of cores and processing speed: PAE (Physical Address Extension) NX (No-eXecute) SSE4.1 (Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.1) CMPXCHG16B LAHF (Load AH from Flags) SAHF (Store AH into Flags) PrefetchW Virtualization-Based Security (VBS) Similarly, the program checks whether the system has a security processor and supports secure boot. For Secure Boot, it will highlight if the device supports it and whether it is enabled or disabled. For TPM, it will check for a TPM 2.0 security processor. The application runs two feature checks at the time of writing. The first checks if connected displays support High Dynamic Range (HDR) content. AutoHDR is a new feature that Microsoft introduces in Windows 11 to improve the graphics quality of games. The second tests if the storage controller of the system disk and the shader model of the graphics card meet DirectStorage requirements. DirectStorage is another new feature aimed at gamers that promises improved game loading times. A click on an entry opens a help page on the developer's website with additional information about the feature. Closing Words Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool may provide Windows users with additional information in regards to Windows 11 compatibility of their systems. It may provide actionable information when a feature is supported but not enabled. For most users, it may be enough to know if a system is compatible or not. Still, it is a well designed tool that is very promising. Landing Page: https://bytejams.com/ Windows 11 Requirements Check Tool offers details on why a PC is not compatible with Windows 11
  13. The general rollout of Windows 11 is less than a month away now, which means that the Insider builds that we see - at least in the Beta Channel - are very close to what we can expect to roll out on October 5. Although we have covered some of the major features in the past, we feel that it is valuable to our readers to take a deeper dive into some specific functionalities and changes present in Windows 11 and see how they stack up against those present in Windows 10. So far, we have taken a look at Search, Widgets, the Start menu, Snap Layouts and Snap Groups, the Taskbar, and quick settings and notifications in Windows 11. Now, we feel like it's time to take a look at another capability that has been revamped from a UI perspective, and that is Virtual Desktops. For the purpose of this hands-on, we'll be taking a look at Windows 11 build 22000.176 that was released to the Beta Channel a week ago versus a publicly available and up-to-date Windows 10 (version 21H1 build 19043.1165). As usual, it is important to note that the OS is still under active development so it's possible that some of the features we talk about change by the time of Windows 11's general availability. Virtual Desktops in Windows 10 Before we talk about Windows 11, it's worth discussing Virtual Desktops in Windows 10 first. These can be launched by pressing the "Task View" button on the left side of the taskbar or by using the Win + Tab shortcut. This opens a UI which is fairly cluttered as it gives you the ability to launch virtual desktops on the top panel, shows the open apps below that, and Timeline activity in the bottom half. A lot of stuff fit into a single screen that makes it difficult to focus on and find what you're looking for, in my opinion. Speaking of virtual desktops, you can right-click to rename them (or just click on the name text), use the "+" icon to create new ones, and also hover between them to show open windows and apps in each respective desktop. Right-clicking on these windows also gives you a variety of options such as the ability to move windows between desktops, replicate to all desktops, and so on. Virtual Desktops in Windows 11 Coming over to Windows 11, you see a much different picture. This is because Microsoft has removed Timeline in the OS, something that it formally announced back in June. Even prior to that, Microsoft had indicated that it was winding down on the feature in Windows 10, even though the feature was introduced to much fanfare back in 2017. The company's rationale was that while local activity history is useful to some extent, there are much better workarounds for cross-device syncing. With Windows 11, it has seemingly decided that local activity history isn't useful either. Personally, I never used Timeline anyway so its absence doesn't bother me at all. What matters to me is that this clears up the UI a lot, as can be seen in the screenshot above. Now, we have a dedicated UI for managing virtual desktops that is a lot cleaner to use and easier to focus on. The virtual desktops are at the bottom of the screen while the windows and apps open in them - respectively - are in the center. New capabilities for Virtual Desktops in Windows 11 Talking about Virtual Desktops themselves, Microsoft has ported all of the capabilities from Windows 10, and improved on them in a couple of areas in meaningful ways too. For one, you can now right-click on a virtual desktop and instead of just showing the "Rename" option present in Windows 10, Microsoft's upcoming OS also shows a couple of other useful options like moving a virtual desktop to the left or the right, or changing the desktop background. The reasoning behind the latter is to allow you to differentiate between which virtual desktop you have open, which I think is a pretty neat idea. You can also drag and drop virtual desktops to change their order, something that is not present in Windows 10 at all. Overall, I can see myself making use of Virtual Desktops in Windows 11 because it offers a much aesthetically pleasing experience as compared to Windows 10. Apart from that, it also adds a couple of new capabilities on top of that, which greatly improve the user experience, in this writer's opinion. There don't seem to be any major features added to Virtual Desktops in Windows 11, but I'm glad that Microsoft at least hasn't taken away useful capabilities, à la the awful taskbar in Windows 11. Perhaps some next steps could be to add some capabilities for power users such as the ability to categorize virtual desktops, or to save a set of apps for a virtual desktop so that all of them automatically open when you launch a certain desktop. Personally, I don't see myself utilizing these capabilities but they might be useful to some people. What are your thoughts on Virtual Desktops in Windows 11? Do you like the changes? How would you like to see Microsoft enhance it further? Let us know in the comments section below and inform Microsoft via the Feedback Hub too. Closer Look: Virtual Desktops in Windows 11
  14. Last week, Microsoft announced that Windows 11 will be available from October 5. Microsoft today started the marketing campaign for Windows 11 with a new video ad featuring the new single, “All Starts Now” by Odessa ft. Tim Myers. Microsoft’s focus for this campaign seems to be the following: Windows 11 comes with new and improved features that help you stay organized in a snap. Keep up with the news, weather, and events you care about. Instantly connect with anyone, anywhere. Or access the latest apps and games right on your PC. Check out the new ad below. Introducing new Windows 11: a whole new way to experience your PC. It doesn’t just bring you closer to the tools you need, it brings you closer to everything you love. Microsoft begins Windows 11 marketing campaign with a new video ad
  15. Microsoft today announced the release of Windows 11 Build 22000.184 with a couple of bug fixes for Beta Channel Insiders and commercial PCs in the Release Preview Channel. This build also comes with several known issues including the new Taskbar and the Start menu doesn’t work after the upgrade. Find the full change log below. What’s new in Windows 11 Build 22000.184: Fixes [General] Fixed an issue where the new learn more info in OOBE about Windows Hello wasn’t translated for non-English languages. Fixed an issue where a small set of languages were missing translations across the UI in Windows 11. Known issues [General] We’re investigating reports from Insiders in the Beta Channel where after upgrading to Windows 11, they are not seeing the new Taskbar and the Start menu doesn’t work. To workaround this if you are impacted, please try going to Windows Update > Update history, uninstalling the latest cumulative update for Windows, and the reinstall it by checking for updates. We’re working on a fix for an issue that is causing some Surface Pro X’s to bugcheck with a WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR. [Start] In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it. System and Windows Terminal is missing when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). [Taskbar] The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods. [Search] After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again. Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box. [Widgets] The widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again. Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual PC display first and then launch on your secondary monitors. [Microsoft Store] We continue to work to improve search relevance in the Store. [Windows Sandbox] Within Windows Sandbox, the language input switcher does not launch after clicking the switcher icon on the Taskbar. As a workaround, users can switch their input language via any of the following hardware keyboard shortcuts: Alt + Shift, Ctrl + Shift, or Win + Space (the third option is available only if Sandbox is full-screened). Within Windows Sandbox, the IME context menu does not launch after clicking the IME icon in the Taskbar. As workarounds, users can access the functionalities of the IME context menu with either of following methods: Accessing the IME settings via Settings > Time & language > Language & region > (e.g., Japanese) three dots > Language options > (e.g., Microsoft IME) three dots > Keyboard options. Optionally, you may also enable the IME toolbar, an alternative UI, to quickly invoke specific IME functions. Continuing from above, navigate to Keyboard options > Appearance > Use IME toolbar. Using the unique set of hardware keyboard shortcuts associated with each IME-supported language. (See: Japanese IME Shortcuts, Traditional Chinese IME Shortcuts). Source: Microsoft Microsoft releases Windows 11 Build 22000.184 with bug fixes for Beta Channel Insiders
  16. Microsoft today announced the release of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22454 to the Dev Channel. This build does not include any new features, but comes with three new improvements including the new modern context menu for Recycle Bin. Find the full change log below. What’s new in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22454: Changes and Improvements Right-clicking on Recycle Bin on the desktop now uses the new modern context menu. New modern context menu when you right-click on Recycle Bin on your desktop. Added an option when right clicking a network share in File Explorer to pin it to Quick Access without having to click Show more options. We have begun releasing an updated version of the Korean IME with adjustments made based on Windows Insider feedback. We believe this will provide a more reliable input experience for Korean on Windows 11. The updated version of the Korean IME follows the new visual design of Windows 11 with acrylic in the candidate window, a new selection visual, and dark mode support. It also improves improved performance and compatibility. The updated Korean IME is rolling out to a subset of Insiders in the Dev Channel first, to help us quickly identify issues that may impact performance and reliability. Over time, it will roll out to everyone in the Dev Channel. Please file feedback via Feedback Hub under Input and Language > Text Input. The updated Korean IME candidate window in dark mode. Fixes [General] We fixed the issue that was causing PCs with Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) enabled to bugcheck continuously. PCs with WDAG enabled should now receive Build 22454. [Start] Windows Terminal is listed again when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). Narrator should announce the Start launch more reliably now. [Taskbar] The Desktops flyout should now dismiss properly for Narrator users when scanning with item navigation across the Task View button. Fixed an issue where the preview thumbnails for Desktops were not rendering correctly for certain aspect ratios. Fixed a rounding issue that was making the volume icon tooltip show the wrong number in some cases. The input indicator, Quick Settings, and notification center icon tooltips will no longer display behind the flyouts when they’re open. Addressed an underlying issue that was resulting in the volume icon in the Taskbar displaying sound was muted when that was not the case. Fixed an issue that could cause the Taskbar to unexpectedly get stuck on top of full screen applications, such as PowerPoint presentations, after interacting with the Taskbar previews. Taskbar icons should no longer flicker when you mouse over them while using a contrast theme. Fixed an issue where app icons would occasionally unexpectedly animate onto the Taskbar from somewhere other than from below. Shift + Click on an app icon in the Taskbar to launch a new instance of that app (for apps that support multiple instances) is now working again. Did some work to address an issue where app icons could get stuck in an alert state in the Taskbar even if the app in question was closed. [Input] Fixed an issue that was causing the text candidates to not appear after the first time the handwriting panel was invoked. Mitigated a stutter in the animation when tapping a text field to invoke the touch keyboard. Fixed a bug that was causing clipboard history to not render for some people. Displaying 3rd party IME icons in the input indicator should be more reliable now. Addressed an explorer.exe crash that could happen when changing window focus while using the touch keyboard. Fixed an issue for people who’d opted into the previous version of the Japanese IME that was causing certain games to crash. Fixed an issue where the tip for voice typing when using the touch keyboard wouldn’t be connected to the microphone button. Addressed an issue where the touch keyboard could get into a state where the key labels would be invisible due to the wrong background color being used. Mitigated an issue that was leading to the touch keyboard settings flyout having white on white text sometimes. Did some work to address an issue where interacting with the expressive input button in the touch keyboard could result in the candidate area having a broken layout. [File Explorer] Improved the reliability of context menu invocation. Mitigated a couple of issues that were causing leaks when using File Explorer. The context menu will now not immediately dismiss when the option to open things with a single-click is enabled in File Explorer. If you press F11 to full screen File Explorer, then use WIN + Shift + Left/Right to change what screen the window is displaying on, pressing F11 again will no longer jump the window back to the original screen. [Settings] Mitigated an issue when typing with certain 3rd party IMEs into the search box in Settings that could result in the candidate window being rendered elsewhere on-screen (not attached to the search box) and/or characters inserted into the search box not displaying. We did some work to help address an issue that was making the Windows Insider Program page in Settings appear blank sometimes. The mouse pointers under Accessibility > Mouse pointer and touch are no longer invisible for Arabic and Hebrew display languages. System > Storage > Show more categories > Other should no longer always say it’s managed by group policy even when it isn’t. Added some links to “Find my device” in Settings to help you learn more about the privacy resources. Start time and end time pickers under Focus Assist > During these times are now visible when focus is set while using a contrast theme. Addressed a crash that could happen when using Sound Settings. Fixed an issue with the volume slider in Quick Settings that was causing the volume to sometimes to save at a slightly different level than what was actually set. [Logging in and Authentication] Fixed a crash that could happen when the network icon updated states on the login screen. [Windowing] Made a change to address an issue where title bar options including close, minimize and maximize where not appearing as expected in certain apps when moving the mouse to top of the screen while the app was maximized. [Other] Improved icon rendering for certain apps in the Search hover flyout. Addressed an issue that was causing overlapping text in the Share window for certain languages. Made some performance improvements when switching to the Details tab of Task Manager. If the Windows Security app is open when switching to dark mode, the UI elements should respond better now and not have unreadable text. If there are a large number of exclusions listed under Virus and Threat Protection in the Windows Security app, it will now display a progress indicator when loading them. Fixed some text clipping in the Windows Security app when using the option in Accessibility Settings to increase the text size. Mitigated an issue that was causing the WM_CTLCOLORSTATIC message used in certain apps to be ignored, so the colors in some places wouldn’t appear correctly. Fixed a leak when the desktop background was set to a slideshow, impacting performance over time until explorer.exe was restarted. Mitigated an issue that was causing some PCs to bugcheck while in modern standby. Fixed an issue that was causing slower Wi-Fi speeds after enabling Hyper-V and creating an External V-Switch. When animations are disabled in the system, there should no longer be a fade animation in UWP apps like Settings or the Feedback Hub when transitioning from the splash screen to the app content. NOTE: Some fixes noted here in Insider Preview builds from the active development branch may make their way into the servicing updates for the released version of Windows 11 after general availability on October 5th. Known issues [General] We’re working on a fix for an issue that is causing some Surface Pro X’s to bugcheck with a WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR. [Start] In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it. System is missing when right-clicking on the Start button (WIN + X). [Taskbar] The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods. We’re investigating an issue in this build where app icons in the Taskbar are getting cut off by the “show hidden icons” button and aren’t centered when using multiple monitors. [Search] After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again. Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box. [File Explorer] If you right click files in OneDrive locations in File Explorer, the context menu will unexpectedly dismiss when you hover over entries that open sub-menus, such as “Open with.” [Widgets] The widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again. Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual PC display first and then launch on your secondary monitors. [Windows Sandbox] We’re investigating an issue in which Windows Sandbox may not launch for some Insiders after upgrading to this build. [Microsoft Store] We continue to work to improve search relevance in the Store. Source: Microsoft Microsoft releases Windows 11 Build 22454 with three new improvements for Dev Channel Insiders
  17. We already know Windows 11 will make better use of new processors than Windows 10, but Microsoft says even on older hardware Windows 11 will feel significantly faster. In a Microsoft Mechanics video, Microsoft VP Steve Dispensa from the Windows Management team detailed some of the improvements. These include: Memory and CPU resource management improvements that prioritise foreground windows. Even in browsers, prioritising foreground tabs by sleeping inactive tabs, reducing memory usage by up to 32% and CPU usage by 37%. Faster resume by optimized calls to hardware components that need to power on for better overall memory management and reducing starvation across key processing threads so that power is preserved for the threads that really need it. 40% smaller and therefore faster updates thanks to a new update engine that only downloads the necessary files from Microsoft’s servers. Microsoft says Windows 11 should feel snappier and more responsive and the resume experience should be “almost instantaneous.” Watch the video below: via onMSFT Microsoft explains why Windows 11 feels faster than Windows 10 on the same hardware
  18. Microsoft is updating all of the included apps on Windows 11 to their new design language, and today Chief Product Officer Panos Panay posted a short video showing off the new, “beautifully redesigned” Photos app for Windows 11. The app features Microsoft’s fluent design with rounded corners but otherwise appears to offer no new features. Significant design differences however include smaller controls, an improved cropping menu and easier access to the Information page. The updated app will be rolling out to Windows 11 Insiders soon. via onMSFT Panos Panay tease redesigned Windows 11 Photos app (video)
  19. In an effort to make the process of Windows 11 update rollout smooth, Microsoft won’t provide support for old hardware. The software giant is confirmed to provide support for some 7th gen CPUs, all 8th gen CPUs, and newer ones, but you don’t have to disappoint as older chips are also confirmed to run Windows 11. However, you won’t get the update via Windows updates, instead, you’ll have to download the official ISO file of the OS. As we near the Windows 11 release date, Windows OEMs will start pushing necessary updates to their products to make sure no hardware issues play spoilsport during installation. Asus has already started pushing BIOS updates for some motherboards running Intel CPUs older than the ones specified by Microsoft(via WindowsLatest). The laptop manufacturer has already released a Windows 11-ready BIOS update for a number of Z270 motherboards, including ROG MAXIMUS IX FORMULA, ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING, for Intel 6th and 7th gen processors. In the BIOS update changelog, Asus categorically stated that, after installing the update, the users will require to make no changes to the UEFI BIOS to install the upcoming major version of Windows. However, the development of the BIOS update for ROG STRIX Z270F GAMING motherboard is currently in the beta stage. “Support Windows 11 by default, no settings changes required in the UEFI BIOS. Please note that this is a beta BIOS version of the motherboard which is still undergoing final testing before its official release,” the changelog reads. Meanwhile, Microsoft has plans to release the stable version of Windows 11 on October 5. Asus starts testing Windows 11 support for some older Intel CPUs on select motherboards
  20. Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Windows 11 operating system comes with a redesigned File Explorer application to manage files and folders on the operating system. Gone are the times of the ribbon and tabs, Microsoft decided to simplify the File Explorer application. The main toolbar lists just nine options by default, some of which open menus that list options that were accessible directly before. Core File Explorer functions such as cut, copy and paste are still available as buttons, everything else is available in nested menus. Microsoft changed the design of the drive, file and folder listing as well in Windows 11. While you do get the list of files and folders, sizes, types, modification dates and other information displayed to you when you open File Explorer, you may notice that there is lots of whitespace between items. The following screenshot shows the default view mode of Windows 11's File Explorer: Compare that with the Compact View mode that File Explorer supports as well: If you want more files and folders to be displayed at the same time, you need to enable Compact View in File Explorer on Windows 11 to achieve that. It is unclear why Microsoft decided to make the "other" mode the default. Was it for aesthetic reasons or to make file handling more comfortable for users of touch devices? The second option seems unlikely, as Microsoft could have implemented a check that would enable the larger view mode for touch device users and leave the more compact option enabled for everyone else. Compact View is available for all Windows 11 users; it needs to be enabled though, and many users may miss out on that mode and endure the less usable mode in the process. Do the following to enable Compact View: Open File Explorer. Select View > Compact View. Not exactly rocket science, but if you never open the View menu, you will never stumble upon that option. Tip: the view menu has options to display hidden files and file extensions for all files under the submenu "show" as well. Closing Words Some Windows 11 users may prefer the default view of File Explorer. It is certainly better for touch device users as it makes selecting files less error-prone. Non-touch device users on the other hand may prefer the compact file listing option as it makes it easier to work with files on the system as more as displayed without having to scroll. It seems to me that designers and users are increasingly at odds when it comes to weighting design and usability. Enable Compact View in Windows 11's File Explorer for improved usability
  21. Microsoft continues to push the Settings application in Windows 11 just like it has done in Windows 10. The latest victim of the replacement policy is the classic Disk Cleanup tool. Used among other things to clean up old versions of Windows to free up Gigabytes of storage space, Microsoft announced in 2018 that it would replace the classic tool with Storage Sense, which it added to the operating system's Settings application. Up until now, Disk Cleanup was accessible from the Properties dialog window of drives. Microsoft replaced the link to the Disk Cleanup tool with a link to Storage Sense in the latest Windows 11 build. While it is still possible to load Disk Cleanup directly, it is no longer possible to open it from a drive's properties dialog. Activation of the Storage usage button opens the Storage used on other drives page of the Settings application. The page lists the capacity of all drives and the free and used storage ratio. It takes another click to display how storage is used on the drive. Options to cleanup files are not displayed on the page. It is necessary to open the main Storage page in the settings to get that option (or select Start > Settings > System > Storage). Select Cleanup recommendations and Windows displays cleanup options on the page that follows. Disk Cleanup tool is the better application The entire process is not as straightforward as using the Disk Cleanup tool. Opening issues aside, Cleanup recommendations is not nearly as user friendly as the Disk Cleanup tool. Disk Cleanup offers an immediate view of all items that can be cleaned up; while you may need to click on the "clean up system files" button after the program has launched to get more cleaning options, it is faster and provides a better view of items that can be removed from the system to free up disk space. Tip: you may speed up the system files loading part of Disk Cleanup. Disk Cleanup is still present in the latest Windows 11 build, and chance is high that it remains an option initially after Windows 11 is released. Windows 11 users may launch it by typing Disk Cleanup in Start. Windows 11 displays the tool as the first result and it may be opened this way. There is a chance that Microsoft is going to alter the result manually, so that the Storage settings page is opened instead. You may then still load it by opening the Run box with the shortcut Windows-R to launch cleanmgr.exe. Eventually, Disk Cleanup will be removed from Windows. Windows users who prefer the tool may use third-party alternatives instead. There is Cleanmgr+, an open source alternative that replicates the functionality, which may be used instead. It looks different but it offers the same cleaning options as the classic Disk Cleanup tool. Closing Words The replacing of the Disk Cleanup button with the link to the Storage Settings page marks another step in the removal of the Disk Cleanup tool from Windows. Thankfully, there is a third-party alternative available that works equally well and may be used by users who prefer Disk Cleanup over Microsoft's own reinterpretation of the tool. You may still use Disk Cleanup on Windows 11 (even though Microsoft does not want you to)
  22. Windows 11 brings a redesigned user interface and an overhaul to the system sounds, including different sounds for Light Mode and Dark Mode. When developing Windows 11, the Microsoft audio team developed new system sounds designed to provide a calm experience while still being able to notify you of something as necessary. "Windows 10 sounds were sharp, literally created with sharp wave lengths. In Windows 11, we have focused on making the technology calm. In order to do this, we needed to reevaluate our sound scape to also be calm," Microsoft told BleepingComputer in a statement. "The new sounds have a much rounder wavelength, making them softer so that they can still alert/notify you, but without being overwhelming." "Just like we rounded UI visually, we rounded our sound scape as well to soften the overall feel of the experience." Unlike all previous versions of Windows, Microsoft also created different versions of the system sounds for Windows 11, depending on whether you are in Light Mode or Dark Mode. For Light Mode users, the sounds are meant to be brighter and louder, while in Dark Mode, the sounds will be quieter and more subdued with a slight echo. "We introduced light and dark sound options so that people who may have low visibility or no vision can still experience light and dark themes audibly. Themed sounds improve productivity by matching your working style through your theme. Dark Sounds help you stay in focus while Light Sounds ensure you’re always engaged" - Microsoft spokesperson. The Light Mode sounds are still stored under the C:\Windows\Media folder with the new Dark Mode sounds stored under C:\Windows\Media\dm. Compare the Windows 11 Light and Dark mode sounds With Windows 11, Microsoft created ten new system sounds that will be played while in Dark Mode. These ten sounds, and their Light Mode counterparts, are displayed below to compare their differences easily. The Light Mode sound will be in audio control with a white background, while the Dark Mode sound will be the dark background. We have also labeled each sound based on default assignment under the 'Program Events' section in the Windows 11 Sound properties screen. Asterisk, Default Beep, Exclamation, Low Battery Alarm, System Notification: This system sound is played when an alert is displayed, such as a warning message. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Critical Battery Alarm and Critical Stop: This sound is played when an error occurs. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Device failed to connect: This sound will play when an inserted device could not be correctly set up by Windows 11. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Device Disconnect: This sound will play when you disconnect a device, such as a USB key, from your computer. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Calendar Reminder: This sound will be played when a Calendar event occurs. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. New Email Notification and New Fax Notification: When a new email or fax is received, this sound will play. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. New Text Message Notification: This sound will play when you receive a new text message. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Notification: This sound will play when a program wants to issue a notification. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. Windows User Account Control: This system sound will play when a User Account Control prompt is displayed in Windows 11. Your browser does not support the audio element. Your browser does not support the audio element. There are still quite a few system sounds that do not have new Dark Mode versions. So we will have to wait and see if Microsoft adds other sounds in the future. Windows 11 dark mode has quieter, more soothing sounds - Listen now
  23. The general availability of Windows 11 is just a month away, and for the past couple few weeks, we've been taking a closer look at the OS. The idea is to discuss its features in detail and to see how they stack up against those offered in Windows 10. The OS is under active development, but we feel that it's valuable for our readers who aren't in the Windows Insider Program to get a feel of what to expect, come October 5. So far, we have taken a look at Search, Widgets, the Start menu, Snap Layouts and Snap Groups, and the Taskbar in Windows 11. Now, we feel like it's time to take a look at the quick settings and notifications center too since it has been revamped significantly as well, as discussed in our last Closer Look article. For the purpose of this hands-on, we'll be taking a look at Windows 11 build 22000.176 that was released to the Beta Channel a couple of days ago versus a publicly available and up-to-date Windows 10 (version 21H1 build 19043.1165). An important change this time is that we are not using build 22449 which was also released to the Dev Channel at the same time. This is because Microsoft has now split builds from different branches and the Dev Channel does not represent what customers will be getting on October 5. Action Center in Windows 10 Windows 10 has a UI called Action Center that can be accessed from the icon on the extreme right of the taskbar. This collectively shows you all your quick settings on the bottom half of the panel on the right and all your notifications on the top half of the same panel. It's fairly straight forward to use; you can open or swipe notifications, or utilize and unpin your quick settings directly from one place. Action Center settings in Windows 10 The associated settings are quite straightforward too. You can edit quick actions, disable notifications from certain senders or configure other cosmetic things like sounds. Quick settings in Windows 11 When we go to Windows 11, the situation is considerably different. The major difference is that Microsoft has split quick settings and notifications into their own separate trays. The quick settings panel can be displayed when you click on any of the system icons (such as volume or internet connectivity in the screenshot above). Similar to Windows 10, you can right-click on any of the quick settings, choose the "Edit quick settings" option, and unpin or add more settings. A faster way to do this is also via the "pencil" icon that you can see in the bottom-right corner of the panel. The drawback of this approach is that in Windows 10, you could click on the system icons on the taskbar to open only the settings relevant to that icon. For example, if I click on the volume icon in the taskbar on Windows 10, I just get a volume slider in a pop-up. Clicking on the same in Windows 11 opens all the quick settings which I personally find a bit annoying as it wastes screen estate. Notifications panel in Windows 11 Similarly, notifications now have a separate panel too. Whenever you get a notification, you'll get a badge next to the date and time on the taskbar. Clicking on it will open the calendar at the bottom and the notifications area at the top. I don't know why Microsoft has coupled the calendar and notifications area in Windows 11, I personally haven't found a productivity use-case for it yet. Quick setting and notifications configurations in Windows 11 The associated settings for notifications and quick settings are mostly the same, there's not much to talk about except that they are grouped a bit better. Overall, I appreciate the fact that Microsoft has decoupled notifications and quick settings in Windows 11. It makes sense from a usability perspective and saves up a lot of space that previously used to be taken up by the Action Center panel on the right of the screen when you opened it. Now, you get relatively smaller and more manageable panels. But talking about screen estate, the fact that I have to see either all the quick settings or none of them bothers me. I liked the simplicity of Windows 10 where clicking on the volume system icon only opens a slider, but in Windows 11, I have to look at the whole panel of quick settings, which is a waste of space. The system icons behavior for quick settings definitely needs to be decoupled, and maybe Microsoft should add a dedicated system icon for quick settings à la Action Center - but only for quick settings - in Windows 10. In the same vein, the fact that notifications open alongside the calendar is a bit of an odd design decision too. Maybe I'm missing some popular use-case but I personally think it wastes more screen estate. It might be worth it to give users an option to add a dedicated system icon for this too. Overall, I like the direction that Microsoft is going in, but given the seemingly odd coupling of certain system icons, I'm not sure if I prefer it over the Windows 10 implementation yet. Personally, I feel Microsoft needs to invest some more effort into its design before the general availability of Windows 11. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the quick settings and notifications panel in Windows 11? Do you like the changes? How would you like to see Microsoft enhance it further? Let us know in the comments section below and inform Microsoft via the Feedback Hub too. Closer Look: Quick settings and notifications in Windows 11
  24. Relying on a simple recipe that has proved successful time and time again, threat actors have deployed a malware campaign recently that used a Windows 11 theme to lure recipients into activating malicious code placed inside Microsoft Word documents. Security researchers believe that the adversary behind the campaign may be the FIN7 cybercrime group, also known as Carbanak and Navigator, that specializes in stealing payment card data. Tried and tested method The adversary took advantage of the buzz created around the details for Microsoft’s development of its next operating system release, which started in early June. Cybercriminals laced Microsoft Word documents with macro code that ultimately downloads a JavaScript backdoor that lets the attacker deliver any payload they want. Researchers at cybersecurity company Anomali analyzed six such documents and say that the delivered backdoor appears to be a variation of a payload commonly used by the FIN7 group since at least 2018. The names used in the campaign seem to indicate that the activity may have occurred between late June and late July, a period immediate to when news about Windows 11 started to emerge on a more regular basis. It is unclear how the malicious files were delivered but phishing email is typically how it happens. Opening the document shows Windows 11 imagery with text designed to trick the recipient into enabling macro content. The claim that the document was generated with a newer operating system may make some users believe that there is a compatibility issue that prevents accessing the content and that following the instructions eliminate the problem. If the user acts on the indication, they activate and execute the malicious VBA macro that the threat actor planted inside the document. The code is obfuscated to hinder analysis but there are ways to clean it of the surplus and leave only the relevant strings. unobfuscated macro Anomali researchers found that the included VBScript relies on some values encoded inside a hidden table in the document to perform language checks on the infected computer. Detecting a specific language (Russian, Ukrainian, Moldovan, Sorbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Estonian, Serbian) puts a stop to the malicious activity and deletes the table with encoded values. The code also looks for the domain CLEARMIND, which Anomali researchers say appears to refer to a point-of-sale (PoS) provider. Other checks that the code makes include: Reg Key language preference for Russian Virtual machine - VMWare, VirtualBox, innotek, QEMU, Oracle, Hyper and Parallels (if a VM is detected the script is killed) Available memory (stops if there is less than 4GB) Check for RootDSE via LDAP “If the checks are satisfactory, the script proceeds to the function where a JavaScript file called word_data.js is dropped to the TEMP folder” - Anomali FIN7 indications The JavaScript is heavily obfuscated and cleaning it up reveals a backdoor that resembles other backdoors connected to the FIN7 cybercrime group, Anomali researchers say. There is moderate confidence for the attribution, which is based on the following factors: Targeting of a POS provider aligns with previous FIN7 activity The use of decoy doc files with VBA macros also aligns with previous FIN7 activity FIN7 have used Javascript backdoors historically Infection stops after detecting Russian, Ukrainian, or several other Eastern European languages Password protected document Tool mark from Javascript file "group=doc700&rt=0&secret=7Gjuyf39Tut383w&time=120000&uid=" follows similar pattern to previous FIN7 campaigns FIN7 has been around since at least 2013 but became known on a larger scale since 2015. Some of its members got arrested and sentenced but attacks and malware continued to be attributed to the group even beyond 2018 when several of its members got arrested [1, 2]. The attackers focused on stealing payment card data belonging to customers of various businesses. Their activity in the U.S. caused above $1 billion in losses from stealing over 20 million card records processed by more than 6,500 point-of-sale terminals at around 3,600 separate business locations. Among the companies that FIN7 hit are Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chili’s, Arby’s, Red Robin, and Jason’s Deli. Watch out for new malware campaign’s 'Windows 11 Alpha' attachment
  25. Two weeks ago Intel launched its Alder Lake processor architecture at their Architecture Day 2021 event. The processor is optimised for Windows 11, with the OS being Microsoft’s first to take advantage of Intel’s big.LITTLE architecture and when Intel spoke about its Alder Lake processor and hybrid architecture along with the new Arc GPUs the company said: To enable this high level of coordination that improves real-world performance, Intel has partnered with Microsoft to incorporate this revolutionary capability into the next version of Windows 11. When Microsoft was interviewed on the subject, Mehmet Iyigun – Partner Development Manager, said: Throughout the development cycle of Windows 11, my team worked with our colleagues at Intel to update and optimize our next operating system to make the most of the Performance Hybrid architecture and Thread Director in particular. With Thread Director feedback, the Windows 11 thread scheduler is much smarter in dynamically choosing the most appropriate core based on the workload to get the best power and performance. Prospective Windows 11 users would understandably want their new PCs to have this new processor, and we now believe we know when Alder Lake hardware will hit the street. Wccftech reports that devices bearing the processor will go on sale starting on the 19th of November 19, paired with Intel’s LGA1700-based top-end Z690 motherboards. Alder Lake will be Intel’s first performance hybrid architecture that includes a Performance-core and an Efficient-core to provide significant performance across all workload types. Intel also detailed the new Efficient-core and its Performance-core x86 CPU units that will power the Alder Lake. The Efficient-core microarchitecture is designed for throughput efficiency and efficient offloading of background tasks for multitasking. It runs at low voltage and creates headroom to increase frequency and ramp up performance for more demanding workloads. The new Efficient-core will deliver same performance when compared to Skylake core but with 40% less power. The Performance-core microarchitecture is designed for speed, the highest performing CPU core Intel has built. It pushes the limits of low latency and single-threaded application performance and provides a significant boost at high-power efficiency that can better support large applications. Intel claims that this new Performance-core will deliver 19% better performance over 11th gen cores. To make both the cores work seamlessly with the OS, Intel developed Intel Thread Director that will enable the OS to place the right thread on the right core at the right time. Also, Alder Lake will power devices ranging from ultra-portable laptops to enthusiast and commercial desktops. Early benchmarks have shown Windows 11 would be up to 15% faster on Alder Lake than Windows 10. via Neowin Ship date of Intel’s Alder Lake processors for Windows 11 leak
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