Wayne Williams

Upgrading a laptop to Windows 10 is so easy a 10 year-old could do it

10 year olds

Microsoft wants you to use Windows 10. I mean, really, really, really wants you to use it. To this end it is pulling out all the stops, and removing as many barriers to adoption as possible.

The OS will be free to users of Windows 7 and 8.1 in the first year (check out the requirements here), but the process of upgrading has also been made as easy as possible. You just need to click the icon that pops up in the system tray to reserve your upgrade. But if you’re still unsure how simple upgrading will be, Microsoft has put together a video in which a bunch of 10 year-olds explain the process.

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Will your PC or tablet run Windows 10? Check out the official system requirements

win 10 thumbs up

Microsoft has started advertising Windows 10 to Windows 7 and 8.1 users, and has revealed that the OS will be available free from July 29, but that’s not the only information that has come to light today.

While the process of reserving your free Windows 10 upgrade is as simple as clicking the Windows icon that appears in the system tray, you’ll want to make sure your device is capable of running the new OS before you do anything. Fortunately, Microsoft has revealed the system requirements for Windows 10 today, and also explained which edition of the OS users can expect to receive. There are different versions of Windows 10, and Microsoft will keep upgraders on like-for-like editions. So if, for example, you are running Windows 7 Home Premium, you’ll receive Windows 10 Home.

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Run PC software on Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 2

Raspberry-pi-800x450

Last August, Russian technology startup Eltechs, announced virtual machine software which could run x86 apps on ARM-based Mini PCs. It required the host device to have an ARMv7 processor, and while the list of such hardware includes Raspberry Pi 2, the emulator wasn’t optimized for it.

Fortunately, that’s all changed as Eltechs has just improved Raspberry Pi 2 support in the latest version of its ExaGear Desktop software, and also made it compatible with older Raspberry Pi models.

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Windows 8.x finally overtakes Windows XP again

Surprise

After months of not really doing much, Windows 8.x finally gained a decent amount of usage share in May, according to web analytics firm NetMarketShare.

This gain came at the expense of Windows 7 and Windows XP, which both lost share, resulting in Windows 8.x leapfrogging XP for the first time in six months. The last time the tiled OS was more popular than XP was in December 2014. At the time a run of usage gains lead me to predict it was on course to break the 20 percent barrier. Yeah, talk about being overly optimistic.

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Microsoft confirms Windows 10 available as a free upgrade on July 29

win10 new

Although the rumors of a July launch for Windows 10 have been swirling for a while, there’s been no official confirmation from Microsoft. That all changes today, however, as the software giant confirms that the new OS will be available on July 29.

As we already knew, the company states it will be a free upgrade to anyone using Windows 7 or 8.1. The push-ads promoting the new OS to users of those operating systems started to appear over the weekend.

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How to customize Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10130

Windows 10 build

On Friday Microsoft surprised us by releasing a new build of Windows 10 to Insiders on the Fast ring. This build includes new and updated icons, improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser (still called Spartan, unbelievably), Jump List tweaks and more.

Microsoft has also introduced additional options for customizing Windows 10. In particular, you can now easily choose what appears on the Start menu. It’s very easy to make changes to the OS's appearance, so let’s take a look at the options.

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The evolution of the smartwatch -- from IBM WatchPad to Apple Watch

ibm watchpad

Apple certainly didn’t invent the smartwatch, although it does look set to finally bring the product into the mainstream. It performed a similar trick in 2010 when it made tablets popular by introducing the iPad.

Android watches have been available for a while, but even they aren’t the earliest example of wrist-based computing, nor for that matter is the Microsoft smartwatch my colleague Joe Wilcox wrote about recently. The history of smartwatches actually goes back some 15 years.

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YouTube celebrates its 10th birthday in style

10

This is a big year for YouTube -- it’s ten years old, having first launched back in 2005. A month ago YouTube celebrated its first ever upload, "Me at the Zoo" but today is the video service’s official tenth birthday.

Naturally, Google couldn’t let the milestone pass without some form of celebration, and it’s created an A-Z infographic remembering some of its most famous moments. And, as you might expect, there’s a video as well, and even a web based trivia game.

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Inbox by Gmail now open to all -- no invite required

inbox

Last October, Google introduced a new email app, called Inbox by Gmail. It provided a different way of accessing the search giant's webmail service, and was designed to cut through the crap in a busy inbox and just present you with what was important. You could even snooze emails for a later time.

However, Inbox (like Gmail itself originally) was only available by invite. You needed to sign up and wait, or get invited by someone already using the service. Well today that changes, and if you haven’t already got it, and you want to try it, you now can as it’s open to all. But that’s not the only big news -- Google has made several major improvements to it.

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Watch the Google I/O 2015 keynote here live

Keynote

Google’s annual developer conference kicks off in San Francisco today, starting with a keynote which the search giant traditionally uses to make big announcements. Last year Google showcased Android "L" (which later became Lollipop), Android Auto, Android TV, and Android Wear, as well as a number of updates to Google Services.

So what does the Google I/O 2015 keynote have in store? During past Google I/O conferences Google has unveiled the next version of Android, and there’s every reason to expect we’ll see Android "M" announced this year. It’s possible we’ll see the phoenix-like Glass 2.0 make an appearance too. Google does like to grab headlines after all.

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Piper.nv: An impressive night vision home security system [Review]

Piper nv - Black - Front

Home security is getting ever smarter, and Piper.nv (the more expensive night vision version of Piper) is an excellent example of this. It’s a smart camera that you access and control via your smartphone (iOS or Android). It displays 180-degree 1080p HD live video, and automatically switches to night vision when the room gets dark.

There’s much more to Piper than just a camera though. It comes packed with features to ensure your home stays safe when you’re asleep or away, and it’s very easy to set up and use.

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Everything you need to know about Microsoft's Cortana on iPhone and Android

cortana

The newly announced Windows 10 Phone Companion App will let you link your Android or iOS devices to Windows 10, but that’s not all. It will also give users of those rival mobile operating systems access to Cortana. I’ve used both Siri and Cortana, and I much prefer Microsoft’s virtual assistant over Apple’s. Having access to both (or Cortana and Google Now, in the case of Android), is great news for consumers.

To make use of Cortana you’ll need to have Windows 10 installed on a PC, and the Cortana app for iOS or Android. These isn’t available yet, but Windows Insiders will be able to try out the Phone Companion app in a future Windows 10 Insider Preview Build which is set to arrive in the coming weeks.

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Windows 10 Phone Companion app is a game changer -- but will it kill Windows Phone?

companion app

Windows 10 will run on a range of compatible devices, including PCs, hybrids, tablets, phones, Xbox One, HoloLens, and IoT hardware. Microsoft might be striving for ubiquity, but it knows when it comes to mobile, that the vast majority of people will continue to use Android or iOS phones and tablets.

Announced today, Microsoft’s Phone Companion for Windows 10 App, will let those users access content from whatever device they choose, and also give them access to Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant.

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Windows 10 Build 10122's AMD problem fixed -- new release now safe for all to install

Windows 10

When Microsoft released the latest Windows 10 build earlier in the week, there was one big known issue which will have put some people off updating. Windows Insiders on systems with AMD GPUs were warned that the new build could lead to stability issues, and problems with Windows Edge (or Spartan as it’s still branded in the current build).

Microsoft did say, however, that AMD was working on new drivers, and the good news is the problem appears to have been fixed.

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24 hours with Apple Watch [First-impressions review]

Apple Watch Sport on wrist

After Tim Cook demoed the Apple Watch at the Spring Forward event two months ago I declared I should want an Apple Watch -- but I don't. Despite being an iPhone owner and a watch wearer, I felt the new device was an "unfocused mess" and features like talking to your wrist and sending drawings to fellow Watch-owning friends just didn’t appeal. They were something only a ten year old would be interested in.

The way Watch was being retailed -- online only, with crazy delays -- didn’t impress me either. In fact, I called Apple’s launch a brand-damaging botch job. I still stand by that statement, but here’s the thing. Despite all that Apple Watch negativity, after I went into an Apple Store to look at the device I ended up buying one. I know, talk about easily swayed.

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