Articles about Microsoft

With app-free, account-free Meet Now option, Skype is a viable alternative to Zoom

Skype on laptop

While there has been a good deal of controversy about Zoom lately, the video conferencing service remains incredibly popular. This is at least in part because of its ease of use, and the fact that it can be used without having to create an account.

Well aware that the privacy and security issues that have plagued Zoom have left many people considering alternatives, Microsoft has issued a timely reminder about the Meet Now option in Skype. This feature makes it possible to use Skype without having to install any software, or even sign up for an account.

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Microsoft Edge is now the second most popular web browser

Microsoft Edge on laptop and smartphone

Google Chrome is still the leader of the pack, but there's a different rival tailing it. New figures show that Microsoft Edge is now the second most used browser in the world, pushing Firefox down into third place.

The silver medal now belongs to the Chromium-based version of Edge on the desktop which has seen a great increase in popularity, even though it has only been available for a matter of months.

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qBittorrent warns users not to install the Microsoft Store version

The developers of one of the most popular torrent clients, qBittorrent, warn users not to install the Microsoft Store version of the application.

The warning, which is displayed on the release notes page on the official qBittorrent website, informs users that the Microsoft Store version is not created by the team nor officially licensed or sanctioned by the original development team. In addition, the Microsoft Store release is not free but needs to be purchased.

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Microsoft releases PowerToys v0.16.0, adding four new tools including Image Resizer and Window Walker

PowerToys reboot

Since Microsoft first announced PowerToys for Windows 10, there was great excitement about the return of the collection of utilities. The company has been drip-feeding us new features over the last few months, and now PowerToys v0.16.0 has landed, bringing with it no fewer than four new tools.

The most interesting new arrivals are the Image Resizer Window Shell extension which provides easy access to image resizing options from the context menu, and Window Walker which is a text-based Alt-Tab alternative.

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Microsoft releases out-of-band update to fix VPN bug

Angled Microsoft logo

After installing February's KB4535996 update, some Windows 10 users started to experience VPN problems. Microsoft promised to release an off-schedule update for the issue which was causing connectivity issues. Now the company has made good on that promise.

In all, there are four different updates available. You need to install the correct one according to the version of Windows 10 you are running.

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Microsoft is bringing vertical tabs to Edge so you can make better use of your widescreen monitor

Microsoft Edge vertical tabs

Websites are, on the whole, vertical experiences, whereas laptop screens and desktop monitors are, in most cases, horizontal ones. Despite the relatively limited amount of vertical space available, browsers tend to further reduce this by placing tabs, menus, toolbars and more at the top of the screen. But Microsoft is ready to try something different.

The company has announced a number of new features that are coming to the new Chromium-based version of Microsoft Edge. Among these features are vertical tabs which make more efficient use of screen space.

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Microsoft clarifies a slightly misleading claim about a leap in cloud service usage during coronavirus pandemic

Colorful Microsoft logo

Over the weekend, Microsoft post an article on its Azure blog announcing that there had been an astronomical 775 percent surge in the use of its cloud services. Despite the massive increase in traffic, the company added, uptime was good. But the blog post wasn't entirely correct.

Since we published a story about the claims, Microsoft has contacted us to say that it had not been "was not as clear as they intended to be with the previous statement". The company has provided updated stats explaining what it meant to say -- and it's rather different.

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Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365 -- a 'subscription service for your life'

Microsoft has done a spot of rebranding today, replacing Office 365 with Microsoft 365, and introducing personal and family subscriptions.

This builds on the foundation of Office 365, but improves on it and adds some useful consumer focused apps and features.

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Install the Microsoft News Bar beta to keep track of news and stocks in Windows 10

Microsoft News Bar beta

Some people are obsessed with keeping up to date with breaking news, and this is something that's true of more and more people given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

Microsoft has a solution available for news addicts in the form of the News Bar beta. This free app adds a news ticker to the top or bottom of your screen, or you can use a side-panel at either edge of the screen. You have a choice between a text or image-based version in all cases, and you'll be shown headlines from thousands of trusted sources. It can display stocks too.

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Coronavirus has led to a 775 percent increase in usage of Microsoft Azure cloud services

Microsoft Azure

This weekend, Microsoft has given an insight into the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on its services. The company says that there has been a huge increase in Teams usage, and there are not over 44 million daily users.

In regions where there are isolation and home sheltering orders in place, Microsoft says that there has been a colossal 775 percent increase in usage of its cloud services. Despite the surge in demand, there have not been any significant service disruptions.

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Microsoft Edge finally gains extension synchronization

Multiple Edge logos

If you've used Firefox, Chrome or numerous other browsers, you'll be used to the extensions you install synchronizing between device. This simple but wonderfully handy feature is something that has been sadly lacking from Microsoft Edge, but now this is changing.

Microsoft has promised extension syncing for a little while, and the company is finally starting to roll it out to users. But not everyone is going to get the feature right now.

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Microsoft will release off-schedule patch for VPN connectivity problems caused by buggy update

Microsoft is racing to prepare an out-of-band patch that will hopefully fix VPN problems introduced by February's KB4535996 update. This update was released to address search and print problems in Windows 10, but users complained of slowed performance, issues with sleep.

On top of this, Microsoft also acknowledged that the update could cause connectivity problems for VPN users, as well as for various applications. With so many people currently remote working, there is pressure to get these issues addressed, hence the rush job on an out-of-band fix.

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Microsoft asks Xbox developers to limit games updates to reduce strain on the internet

Blue Xbox controller

The internet is currently straining under the pressure of millions of people around the world working from home or self-isolating because of the coronavirus pandemic. There is additional strain because of people using homeworking as a reason to using streaming video services and online gaming more.

Many tech companies have had to take steps to meet increased demand, with the likes of Netflix reducing video quality to cut back on bandwidth. Now Microsoft is asking that developers limit the updates released for Xbox games.

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Best Windows 10 apps this week

Three-hundred-and-seventy-nine in a series. Welcome to this week's overview of the best apps, games and extensions released for Windows 10 on the Microsoft Store in the past seven days.

Microsoft announced this week that it is pausing non-security updates for Windows starting in May 2020. Security updates released on Patch Tuesday will still be produced on schedule.

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Microsoft releases Windows 10 Insider Build 19592, restarts new tablet experience

The past few Windows 10 Insider builds haven’t been very exciting -- mostly just featuring a number of fixes and minor improvements -- although that’s hardly surprising thanks to the impact of COVID-19.

Build 19592, released today to those on the Fast ring, does include a new (but familiar to some) tablet experience for 2-in-1 convertible PCs, although it’s rolling out slowly.

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