Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Microsoft rolls back KB5005101 update for Windows 10 following app launch problems

Colorful Microsoft logo

Microsoft has performed a relatively rare Known Issue Rollback (KIR) to fix an issue caused by an update to Windows 10. The update was found to cause problems opening files and apps.

The issues followed the release of the KB5005101 update earlier this month, and several versions of Windows are affected: Windows 10 versions 21H1, 20H2, 2004, 1909 and 1809, as well as Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 and Windows Server 2019 and newer. Manual instructions to address the issue are also available.

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How to upgrade to Windows 11 for free right now

Windows 11

Windows 11 is now just over two weeks away from launch, but there is no need to wait until then to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. While there has been a great deal of interest in the new features being added to Windows 11's Beta and Dev builds over the last few months, Microsoft has just pushed out build 22000.194 to the Release Preview Channel.

Assuming no serious issues are found in the next couple of weeks, this is the final RTM build of Windows 11 that will roll out to everyone soon, but you can grab it right now and stay ahead of the game. So, if you're interested in upgrading to Windows 11 right now rather than having to wait until October 5 -- or even later -- here's what you need to know.

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Microsoft is giving its Your Phone app a great redesign for Windows 11

Windows 11 Your Phone app

Microsoft is busy putting the finishing touches to Windows 11 ahead of the launch at the beginning of next month. With the updated operating system comes a completely new look and design language, and this is seeping into apps as well.

We’ve already seen the likes of PowerToys getting a Windows 11 makeover, and the latest app to get the redesign treatment is Your Phone. At its Surface event earlier this week, Microsoft gave us a glimpse of the app’s new UI running on a Surface Duo 2.

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Twitter embraces cryptocurrency by rolling out Bitcoin tipping

Twitter logo and Bitcoin

It is a few months since Twitter added Tip Jar -- now simply known as Tips -- giving users a way to receive donations and appreciative financial tips from followers. Now the company has expanded the capability two key ways, in a move that will be welcomed by creators and entertainers alike.

Firstly, the Tips option is being made available globally to iOS users, with the promise that Android users will get it in "the coming weeks". Secondly, and more interestingly, Twitter is also making it possible to send and receive tips using Bitcoin.

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macOS has an unpatched Finder vulnerability that hackers can use to run arbitrary commands

macOS Big Sur

Apple makes much of the security of its products, but vulnerabilities are certainly not unknown. SSD Secure Disclosure has revealed details of a zero-day flaw affecting Finder in macOS. It can be exploited to run arbitrary commands without displaying any messages, prompts or warnings.

The vulnerability was discovered by independent security researcher Park Minchan, and it is present in macOS Big Sur and earlier. The flaw relates to the way macOS processes .inetloc (internet location) files and Apple has made a poor, easily circumvented attempt to fix it in the most recent version of its Mac operating system.

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Lithuanian government warns consumers not to buy new Chinese phones and to throw out old ones ASAP

The Defence Ministry of Lithuania has issued a warning that people should stop buying phones from China and should "get rid of those already purchased as fast as reasonably possible".

The extraordinary advice comes after a government report found that handsets produced by Xiaomi and Huawei include a feature to detect and censor certain words and phrases. On the blacklist are terms such as "free Tibet", "long live Taiwan independence" or "democracy movement", and while the censoring functionality was disabled for the European market, there is the potential for it to be remotely activated at any time.

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Microsoft may not block installing Windows 11 on PCs that do not meet minimum requirements

Windows 11 laptop

The issue of Windows 11's hardware requirements has reared its head once again, just after Microsoft publicly released an updated version of its PC Health Check compatibility checker. For people with computers that do not meet the minimum requirements, there may be some good news from the last twist in the mixed messaging from Microsoft.

While it was looking rather like installing Windows 11 on incompatible hardware was going to be blocked, now it appears that Microsoft is going to let people go ahead with the installation -- with a caveat. The installation can only proceed on systems that do not meet minimum requirements if users agree to a statement acknowledging the fact that any damage caused by installing Windows 11 on such hardware is not covered by the manufacturer's warranty,

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You will need to download many of Windows 11's 'pre-installed' apps in order to use them

Windows 11

Here's an odd one: when Windows 11 launches in a couple of weeks, it will include a number of pre-installed apps... except they won't really be pre-installed. Eh?

This slightly strange state of affair comes as a result of Microsoft taking steps to reduce the size of Windows 11's footprint to help improve performance. What it means in practice is that in order to use apps such as Microsoft To-Do, you'll click the shortcut -- which is really just a placeholder -- and the app will then be downloaded for you.

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Check if your PC is Windows 11-compatible with Microsoft's updated PC Health Check app

PC Health Check

Windows 11 starts to roll out as a free upgrade in just two weeks and there is still great confusion about the system requirements for the operating system. Microsoft had released a compatibility testing tool called PC Health Check, but the launch of this utility was fraught with issues.

Having released, pulled, updated and made the app Insider-only, Microsoft has now released a new version of the PC Health Check app -- and this time everyone can download it, regardless of whether they are an Insider or not. This means that you can now find out -- hopefully once and for all -- whether your computer can run Windows 11 or not.

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Run Windows 11 in VirtualBox? Nope!

VirtualBox logo

The curse of Windows 11's system requirements has struck, and this time the victims are users of VirtualBox. Anyone hoping to run the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system in Oracle’s virtualization software is out of luck.

It comes after Microsoft tightened up the requirements for running Windows 11 in virtualized environment. The recent change in policy means that virtual machines are subject to the same hardware requirements as physical computers -- including the need for TPM 2.0.

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AMD issues warning about CPU vulnerability and releases a chipset patch

Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the AMD Platform Security Processor (PSP) chipset driver for multiple CPU architectures. Tracked as CVE-2021-26333, the security flaw is comparable with the likes of Spectre and Meltdown.

The vulnerability, found by ZeroPeril Ltd, can be exploited to grab data such as password from memory, and it affects a wide range of AMD processors. AMD has issued a patch which users are advised to install as soon as possible.

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Microsoft is launching Office 2021 on the same day as Windows 11 for subscription haters

Microsoft Office icons

While Microsoft would prefer that anyone in the market for office software paid for an Office 365 / Microsoft 365 subscription, the company is well-aware that "some customers aren't ready to move to the cloud".

More specifically, some customers do not want to pay a subscription to use software, and this is precisely why the subscription-free Office 2021 exists. Microsoft has just made the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version available for commercial users, but the consumer version is due to launch on October 5, the same day as Windows 11.

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New malware uses Windows Subsystem for Linux as an attack vector

Hacker

Security researchers have discovered a new type of malware that makes use of Windows Subsystem for Linux as a way to stealthily attack systems.

Attacks can be carried out using malicious Linux binaries using a technique that was previously just a theoretical proof-of-concept. The new attack vector was discovered by researchers from Black Lotus Labs who describe it as "the first instance of an actor abusing WSL to install subsequent payloads".

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Microsoft even requires TPM 2.0 for Windows 11 virtual machines

Windows 11 laptop

If you were hoping to get around Windows 11’s TPM 2.0 requirement by running the operating system in a virtual machine, you're out of luck. People attempting to update to Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.194 in a virtual machine will have noticed a message warning them that "this PC does not currently meet Windows 11 system requirements".

More specifically, the message goes on to explain that "the PC must support TPM 2.0". But, as have been the case on more than one occasion with Windows 11 system requirements, confusion abound thanks to Microsoft's mixed messaging.

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PowerToys is now available to download from the Microsoft Store for Windows 11

PowerToys Windows 11

Microsoft recently started the process of giving PowerToys a Windows 11 makeover ahead of the launch of the operating system next month.

Now the company has released the latest version of the essential collection of utilities to the Windows 11 Microsoft Store. This means that PowerToys is now likely to gain a much bigger following as until now it has only been available to download from GitHub.

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