Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

Third-party widgets are coming to Windows 11 (probably)

Windows 11 Widgets

The Widgets component of Windows 11 was something that seemed like a great idea on paper, but has thus far failed to generate too much excitement. This is at least in part down to the fact that only official Microsoft widgets exist -- but this is going to change.

It is looking very much like Windows 11 is going to be gaining support for third-party widgets, opening up the possibility of a wider range of genuinely useful tools coming to users. There are also hints that a widget store, called the Widget Board, is on the way.

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Microsoft re-releases KB5009624, KB5009557 and KB5009555 updates

Microsoft building logo

The first Patch Tuesday of 2022 ended up being rather more dramatic that many would have expected -- and not for the right reasons. The company released the KB5009566 update which, along with another update, was later found to cause problems with VPN connections. But it was issue with Window Server updates that concerns system administrators.

No fewer than three updates were found to be problematic for different versions of Windows Server, ultimately leading to Microsoft halting the rollout of KB5009624, KB5009557 and KB5009555. And while the Hyper-V issues introduced by the patches are still to be fixed, Microsoft has nonetheless recommenced the rollout of the update, saying that it is investigating the problems.

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Microsoft pulls problematic Windows updates that break Hyper-V and more

Microsoft headquarters

Problems with updates are hardly a new phenomenon for Microsoft, but 2022 has not got off to a good start. Not only were the KB5009543 and KB5009566 updates found to break VPN connections, another trio of updates has now been pulled because it contains critical bugs.

The KB5009624, KB5009557 and KB5009555 updates have been withdrawn because they are causing Hyper-V to stop working. The problematic updates have also be found to cause domain controller reboots and to render ReFS volume systems inaccessible.

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KB5009543 and KB5009566 updates are breaking VPN connections in Windows

Angled Microsoft logo

Updates for Windows are supposed to fix problems, boost security and add new features, but all too often they cause problems of their own. This month's Patch Tuesday updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11 are no different in this regard.

Earlier this week, Microsoft released KB5009543 for Windows 10 and KB5009566 for Windows 11. Users who have installed either of these updates are reporting issues with L2TP VPN connections.

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Microsoft releases important PowerToys update to fix stability issues

Microsoft PowerToys

Just days after the release of PowerToys v0.53.1 which included the new Always On Top utility, Microsoft has unleashed an update it describes as "important".

With PowerToys v0.53.3, Microsoft addresses three problems reported by users. The trio of troubles concerns PowerToys Run, so anyone using this particular utility should grab the update as soon as possible.

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Microsoft urges Windows users to patch critical HTTP vulnerability

Microsoft sign

Microsoft has fixed a critical vulnerability which affects several versions of its operating system including Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022.

The security bug is an HTTP vulnerability which is tracked as CVE-2022-21907 and Microsoft warns it is wormable. The company has issued a fix for the flaw and says that users should prioritize installing it to secure their systems.

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Microsoft releases KB5009566 update to fix long-standing Windows 11 issue

Windows 11

Microsoft has released the first cumulative patch of 2022 for Windows 11 in the form of the KB5009566 update.

The patch is a mandatory cumulative update that addresses security problems thanks to the inclusion of January 2022 Patch Tuesday fixes. These address no fewer than six zero-day vulnerabilities, and a total of 97 security issues in all. The KB5009566 update also address a long-standing issue with Windows 11 and takes the operating system up to build 22000.434.

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Microsoft reveals 'powerdir' macOS vulnerability that allows unauthorized user data access

Apple logo and padlock

Microsoft has revealed details of a security vulnerability in macOS that could be exploited to gain unathorized access to user data.

The vulnerability, which has been named 'powerdir' and is being tracked as CVE-2021-30970, involves a logic issue in the Transparency, Consent and Control (TCC) security framework. The security and privacy problem was discovered by the Microsoft 365 Defender Research Team and was reported to Apple is mid-July last year.

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European watchdog orders Europol to delete 4 petabytes of illegally collected personal data

Europol Building in The Hague

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has ordered Europol to delete huge quantities of personal data about hundreds of thousands of people. The European Union's police agency has been found to have illegally collected billions of pieces of data about criminals, suspected terrorists and innocent citizens.

The colossal stash of information has been dubbed a "big data ark" by privacy experts, and it includes data gathered by hacking encrypted services and NSA-style grabs. The data store was collected over a period of six years, and the EDPS ruling means that Europol must delete data that has been stored for over six months. The agency also has a year to determine what of the remaining data it may legally continue to hold.

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Meta launches new Privacy Center, leaving Facebook users the unenviable task of learning about privacy and security

Meta Facebook Instagram WhatsApp logos

TCFKAF (the company formerly known as Facebook), Meta, has launched Privacy Center, a new way for users to "learn more about our approach to privacy across our apps and technologies". Across five modules -- Security, Sharing, Collection, Use and Ads -- Meta gives users information about privacy across its services.

It also provides links to its endless and scattered collection of tools, settings and options for taking control of privacy and security. The new hub has already come in for criticism, however, as it places onus the burden of responsibility on users rather than hand-holding then through the process of locking down privacy.

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Microsoft Edge for Windows 11 is getting Dynamic Refresh Rate to boost performance and reduce power consumption


While still a long way from being the most popular browser on the market, Microsoft Edge continues to be where some of the most interesting developments are to be found. A great example of this can be seen in the latest Canary build of the browser.

In Edge 99, Microsoft has added a new setting that can be configured to use higher refresh rates only when scrolling. This not only means that scrolling looks nicer, but also that the lower refresh rates used the rest of the time will help to reduce power consumption, thereby improving battery life on laptops.

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Microsoft acknowledges that the KB5008212 update breaks Outlook search in Windows 10

Microsoft building logo

Microsoft has acknowledged an issue following the installation of the KB5008212 update. The problem causes email searching in Outlook to break, and no fix is currently available.

To let people know about the issue, and to provide details of a workaround, Microsoft has published a support document entitled "Outlook Search not showing recent emails after Windows update KB5008212".

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Microsoft releases PowerToys v0.53.1 and adds new Always On Top utility

Microsoft PowerToys

The first PowerToys release of 2022 is here, and it is a strong start to the year. With the release of PowerToys v0.53.1, Microsoft has not only added a new utility in the form of Always On Top, but has also made lots of fixes, changes, additions and improvements to the existing tools in the suite.

Among the other notable additions to this release are new supports options in the File Explorer preview pan, and the arrival of web searching from PowerToys Run. Microsoft says that "the v0.53 release cycle was designed for a maintenance sprint but with some amazing community support, it is loaded with greatness" -- and there certainly is a lot of greatness to explore.

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The chronological feed is coming back to Instagram

Instagram icon

The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has revealed details of tests that are currently underway that will change the way feeds are displayed on the platform. Among the options that are on the way is the much-requested ability to see a chronological feed.

In all, there are three feed viewing options that are undergoing testing -- something Mosseri describes as giving "you more control over your Instagram experience". Of the three views, two of them allow for chronological scrolling through posts.

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Microsoft makes updated Notepad and Media Player available to more Windows 11 users

Updated Windows 11 Notepad

It has been suggested that Windows 11 shipped as an unfinished product. Microsoft would almost certainly disagree, but it's an idea that is backed up by the fact that bundled apps are being updated -- and not just with minor tweaks, but with major overhauls.

We've already seen a preview version of the redesigned Notepad, and now Microsoft is making this staple app available to more people, complete with a new dark mode option and more. And it doesn't end there. An updated version of Windows Media Player, which replaces Groove Music, is also available to a wider range of users.

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