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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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AMD releases Radeon and Ryzen drivers for Windows 11 with new overclocking options

As computer users prepare for the launch of Windows 11 next month, so are hardware manufacturers. We are starting to see growing numbers of Windows 11 drivers being released, and the latest company to do so is AMD.

The company has released Windows 11 drivers for Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics. In addition to Windows 11 support, the new software also brings a new auto overclocking feature for some graphics cards and processors.

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Microsoft releases refreshed Tips app for Windows 11 packed with dozens of hints and tips

Windows 11 Tips app

Regardless of whether you're upgrading to Windows 11 from an older version, or if the latest version of Microsoft's operating system is your first foray into the world of Windows, there is a lot to learn.

To help with this, Microsoft has a Tips app that is filled with Windows 11 tips to not only help you get started, but also to learn about the new features. There is now a new version of the app with over 100 new tips in addition to a revamped acrylic look, and the company also says that Windows 11 will show you tips as you use it.

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Now everyone can make their Microsoft account passwordless

Microsoft sign

Having already given commercial users the option of adopting passwordless sign-in, Microsoft is doing the same for consumers. Starting today, users have the option of removing the password from their Microsoft account and choosing different methods of authentication.

The move means that is now possible to access the likes of OneDrive, Outlook and other Microsoft services without the need to remember or enter a password. But this does not mean having to compromise on security.

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Microsoft releases KB5005565 and KB5005566 Windows 10 updates to fix PowerShell bug and more

Microsoft headquarters

With another Patch Tuesday rolling around, Microsoft has released a pair of new updates for Windows 10 -- KB5005565 and KB5005566.

Serving the same purpose, KB5005566 is available for Windows 10 version 1909, and KB5005565 is available for Windows 10 versions 2004, 20H2 and 21H1. These cumulative updates include security fixes, so they are important to install, but they also address non-security bugs including one affecting PowerShell.

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Microsoft releases new PowerToys build complete with Video Conference Mute tool

Microsoft PowerToys

We've just written about Microsoft giving its PowerToys utilities a Windows 11 makeover. While a new coat of paint is all well and good, what people really want is new tools to play with -- and with the newly released PowerToys Experimental v0.46.0, this is precisely what Microsoft has delivered.

This latest release sees the addition of the much-touted Video Conference Mute tool which provides global audio and video controls for video calling apps that make use of cameras and microphones. The release also fixes a variety of issues with the collection of utilities.

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Mozilla deconstructs Microsoft protections to make it easier to change the default browser in Windows 10 and Windows 11

Firefox

One of the complaints people have about Windows 11 is just how difficult Microsoft has made it to change the default web browser. The process is slightly easier in Windows 10, but it is still far from intuitive for the average user.

This is, of course, because Microsoft really does not want people to move away from Edge -- but, having free will and personal preferences -- changing the default web browser is precisely what many people want to do. Eager to offer people an alternative (specifically its own browser), Mozilla has successfully reverse engineered the system Microsoft had put in place, making it possible to switch to Firefox in just one click.

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