Nick Peers

UTM 4.1 lets you install Windows 11 on any M1, M2 or Intel Mac -- for free!

Running Windows on Macs is nothing new, but with the loss of BootCamp support for the newer Silicon-based Macs (those running M1 and M2 chips), your only option for installing Windows is through virtualization software. You’ll find plenty of free and paid-for options available, so what makes UTM 4.1 stand out from a crowded field of virtualization tools?

When it comes to running Windows, UTM offers nothing you can’t find elsewhere in the form of Parallels Desktop, but there’s one crucial difference: UTM is open source and -- if you’re willing to update it manually -- completely free. If you want automatic updates, or you simply want to support the project, a one-time fee of $9.99 can be paid by purchasing UTM through the Mac App Store.

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OBS Studio 29 extends AV1 encoding support, adds new audio filters

Open source video broadcasting, recording and streaming tool OBS Studio 29.0 has been released for Windows, macOS and Linux.

With this release, the Windows build now supports AV1 encoding on both AMD (Radeon RX 7000 upwards) and Intel  (Arc Graphics) chipsets in addition to prior support for NVIDIA. Support on Linux is expected to follow in a future release.

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Universal Media Server 13.0 unveils 2D-to-3D video conversion for use with VR headsets

Universal Media Server 13.0 has received its first minor update since its initial release during the busy holiday season. Universal Media Server 13.0.1 is largely a bug-fix release, but builds on the landmark 13.0 release, which unveiled an on-the-fly 2D-to-3D converter for standard videos.

Aimed primarily at those viewing video through a VR headset and associated VR media player, the 2D-to-3D converter works during playback to convert standard 2D videos to 3D. The feature requires a PC with a suitably powerful GPU acting as the server along with a suitably fast Wi-Fi connection (AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 was used during testing).

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System Mechanic 23 unveils major UI update alongside improved network scanning tool

California-based software developer iolo has unveiled a major new release of its flagship product family: iolo System Mechanic 23. The Windows PC system optimization app, available with additional tools in Pro and Ultimate Defense editions, opens with a completely revamped user interface.

The streamlined new look isn’t simple a case of redesigning existing elements; System Mechanic 23 unveils a more streamlined look designed to be easier to navigate.

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Tor Browser 12 released, adds native Apple Silicon support and improves Android build's privacy and security

US nonprofit the Tor Project has announced the release of Tor Browser 12.0 for Windows (both 32-bit and 64-bit), Mac, Linux, and Android. The major change in version 12.0 is that its underlying code has now been updated to Firefox Extended Support Release 102.5.

Tor Browser is a Firefox variant, designed for accessing the internet through the open Tor network, which makes users harder to track online through a combination of multi-layer encryption and the use of relays to boost anonymity. In addition, the browser is configured with maximum privacy in mind through the use of private browsing by default alongside other anti-tracking tools.

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PhraseExpress 16 unveils new look and trigger system to celebrate its 20th anniversary

Bartels Media GmbH has unveiled a major new version of its freemium cross-platform text expander tool with the launch of PhraseExpress 16 for Windows. The new release, which coincides with the software’s 20th anniversary, boasts a fresh new look, new trigger system, improved Edit History feature as well as a new unified phrase file format for using with Mac and iOS builds -- both of which are currently in beta.

The first major change sees the user interface updated with new high-resolution icons to match Windows 11’s more modernized look. Bartels is keen to highlight that the UI has been 'carefully updated' to ensure existing users aren’t left floundering looking for their favorite tools.

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First alpha of Paint.NET 5.0 released, packed with new features and performance improvements

Rick Brewster has announced the release of Paint.NET 5.0 (alpha). This early pre-release, which is also available as a portable build for existing users keen to try out the new features without affecting their current, stable release, promises significant performance increases, resurrected support for pressure-sensitive pens and tablets, plus a brand-new plugin system.

In addition, there are several new adjustments and effects, and a raft of improvements across existing tools. The new build does, however, jettison support for 32-bit systems and older versions of Windows.

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O&O DiskImage 18 Pro rebuilds core engine to deliver major performance improvements

O&O Software’s imaging and file backup tool gets another new upgrade with the release of O&O DiskImage 18 Pro. Version 18 promises a complete rebuild of the underlying O&O DiskImage engine, plus adds further refinements to its support for backing up virtualized machines.

O&O DiskImage 18 Pro provides a comprehensive suite of backup tools, with support for incremental and differential drive imaging for updating backups as efficiently as possible.

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Auslogics BoostSpeed 13 promises full Windows 11 support, fully customizable dashboard

Auslogics-Boostspeed

Auslogics has released a major update to its Windows optimization suite with the arrival of Auslogics BoostSpeed 13.0. The latest version is the first to fully support Windows 11, but also ships with several improved features.

Implementing full support for Windows 11 PCs means that BoostSpeed 13 can target specific parts of the new OS -- for example, users are able to delete documents from the 'Recommended' section of Windows 11's Start menu, while other new tools include a multi-uninstall manager and add-ons manager for removing unwanted browser and shell extensions.

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Adobe debuts Photoshop Elements 2023 and Premiere Elements 2023 with new photo and video effects

Adobe has unveiled brand new versions in its consumer photo and video range with the combined launch of Adobe Photoshop Elements 2023 and Adobe Premiere Elements 2023 for Windows and macOS.

Both new versions showcase new visual effects, but also come with the promise of usability, performance and stability improvements. They’re also accompanied by the launch of new companion web and mobile apps.

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IObit Driver Booster 10 expands driver database, promises faster scans and updates

IObit has released major new version of its Windows driver and game component updater tool. IObit Driver Booster 10 simplifies the task of finding and updating drivers across Windows PCs, and comes in both ad-supported free and paid-for versions.

Version 10 sees the tool expand its driver database to now include more than 8.5 million device drivers and game components.

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Firefox 105 promises improved stability in low-memory situations, touchpad improvements

Mozilla is rolling out Firefox 105 for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. Key takeaways from this new build include improved stability and efficiency in low memory situations in Linux and Windows, as well as an option to print just the current page from the print preview dialog.

Major new features, then, are hard to find in Firefox 105. Swipe to navigate -- using two fingers on a touchpad -- has been implemented in Windows allowing users to swiftly move back and forwards through their history. The new build also promises a doubling of speed when searching large lists for individual items.

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Blender 3.3 unveils latest LTS release with multiple new and improved tools

The Blender Foundation has unveiled its first Long Term Support release of the Blender 3.x series with the release of Blender 3.3 LTS. LTS releases are supported for two years from release.

Also available as a portable Windows build, this is the third major point release in the 3.x series since it debuted in December 2021.

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WinZip 27 offers two new tools for sending files securely and cleaning duplicates

Corel has unveiled WinZip 27, a major new version of its flagship compression tool for Windows. Its headline changes are the addition of two new standalone tools in the form of a duplicate file cleaner and tool to facilitate the quick and secure sharing of zip files online.

The first new addition to all three editions of WinZip -- including the entry-level Standard version -- is WinZip SafeShare. This standalone tool is designed to make it easy to zip up, encrypt and share files securely with others via a three-step wizard.

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Behind the Microsoft Office compatibility drive, LibreOffice 7.4 still manages to surprise with more new features

The fourth major point release of The Document Foundation’s open-source, cross-platform office suite has landed. As with the previous release in February, LibreOffice 7.4 is targeted towards improving the experience for those migrating from Microsoft Office.

The focus on improving compatibility with Microsoft Office -- both for those migrating away from the platform and others who need to share documents with MS Office users -- is an ongoing process, and the 7.4 press release focuses a lot of attention on LibreOffice’s "highest level of compatibility in the office suite market segment".

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