Articles about Microsoft

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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Microsoft releases an official fix for the Windows Defender bug

Microsoft has released KB4052623, an update that addresses an issue with Windows Defender that was preventing scans from running properly.

While a workaround had been suggested by some, now there is an official fix available which should banish the "Windows Defender skipped an item due to exclusions or network protection settings" error message.

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Microsoft may hide the Control Panel in Windows 10

Microsoft building in California

If you've used any version of Window before Windows 10, you'll definitely be familiar with the Control Panel. It's still present in Windows 10, but with various updates to the operating system Microsoft has been gradually encouraging people to use only the Settings app.

With just about every update to Windows 10, the prominence of the Control Panel has been reduced to the point that it's a bit of a chore to get to. According to references found in Windows 10 insider Build 19587, Microsoft could be on the verge of hiding or removing the Control Panel completely, or at least elements of it.

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Microsoft, Facebook, Slack and others support #BuildforCOVID19 Global Online Hackathon


There are numerous technology companies that have agreed to offer their services for free as the world tries to tackle the coronavirus crisis, and others who have taken steps to reduce their strain on the internet. Tomorrow, #BuildforCOVID19 Global Online Hackathon kicks off, with many of the big names from the world of tech coming together to tackle some of the problems COVID-19 presents.

There are also numerous partners from the health community, including the World Health Organization, and the aim is to come up with software solutions that can be used to improve health and hygiene, help with social isolation, assist in education, and help businesses stay afloat.

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Microsoft is pausing all but essential security updates for Windows 10

Square Microsoft store logo

Microsoft is putting Windows 10 into coronavirus lockdown. The company has announced that from May it will only be releasing security updates for the operating system, as it puts all optional updates on pause.

New versions of Edge have already been put on hold and it is little surprise that, in light of coronavirus, Microsoft is choosing to focus its energy on the updates that matter the most. The decision means that no more so-called "optional C and D releases" will be release from May.

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There's a simple fix for the Windows Defender bug in Windows 10

Windows Defender on a laptop

Yesterday we wrote about a bug in Windows Defender, seemingly introduced by a recent update. Only affecting Windows 10, the bug causes some virus scans to fail, and in others a somewhat unhelpful message informs users that there were unspecified "items skipped during scan".

The error message goes on to make reference to scanning exclusions as well as network scanning settings, and it is here that a simple solution has been found.

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Microsoft says new versions of Edge are on hold for the time-being

Multiple Edge logos

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are widespread and varied across the tech world. Streaming video services have been reducing quality to ease the strain on the internet, support for old versions of Windows has been extended, and many brand-new cinema releases have been pirated earlier than normal.

In addition to delaying the end of support for Windows 10 version 1709, Microsoft also says that the COVID-19 crisis will impact on the development of its Edge browser. This means that Edge 80 is the last stable build we're going to see for a while.

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Watch Bill Gates' 2015 warning about a future major virus outbreak

COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, with ever greater numbers of cases and deaths being reported on a daily basis. It’s having a huge impact not just on people’s health, but on our way of life and on the global economy.

While at the start of the year no one expected us to be where we are now, the threat of a fast-spreading virus has been anticipated for quite some time. Indeed, back in 2015, Bill Gates gave a TED Talk on this very subject.

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Security warning: Microsoft has broken Windows Defender with an update for Windows 10

Broken windows

Microsoft's run of problematic updates for Windows 10 continues. This time an update is causing an issue that could have serious security implications for users -- it has broken Windows Defender.

While the Windows Defender security tool is included in Windows 7 and 8 the problem only affects Windows 10. Many people are finding that when they perform a virus scan, an error message is displayed that reads: "Items skipped during scan. The Windows Defender Antivirus scan skipped an item due to an exclusion or network scanning settings". For others, scans simply fail after a few moments.

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Best Windows 10 apps this week

Three-hundred-and-seventy-eight 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.

Windows 10 is installed on 1 billion devices, finally. In other news, Microsoft is pushing its services more aggressively via nag screens and Microsoft Edge (Chromium) users may now review and rate extensions in the official Store.

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Microsoft announces DirectX 12 Ultimate with improved raytracing

DirectX 12 Ultimate

Proclaiming that "it is time for DirectX to evolve once again", Microsoft has revealed DirectX 12 Ultimate which unifies the graphics technology for Xbox Series X and PC gaming.

There are a number of graphic hardware features for developers to take advantage of, including DirectX Raytracing 1.1, Variable Rate Shading, Mesh Shaders and Sampler Feedback. But Microsoft stresses that the new API will not reduce compatibility. DirectX 12 Ultimate is described as an "additive initiative"; hardware that does not support it will still be able to run next-generation games, but without some of the visual enhancements.

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