Windows 11 Bug Is Preventing Basic Applications From Running

Another annoying issue is bothering some Windows 11 users. With this new bug, built-in system apps like the Snipping Tool, which is a common method for taking screenshots, refuse to work.

The good news? Microsoft has already confirmed it is working on a fix.

According to Microsoft’s Windows 11 known issues page, a digital certificate in Windows 11 expired on October 31 and became outdated. This caused the Snipping Tool, Touch Keyboard, Voice Typing, and Emoji Panel to stop working properly or refuse to launch altogether. Also impacted was the Accounts page and landings page in the Settings app in Windows 11 S mode, as well as the Getting Started and Tips app, and Input Method Editor.

To fix issues some of these issues, as well as the performance issues with AMD Ryzen processors, Microsoft issued a security update by the name of KB5006746. It was originally released on October 21 and appears as an optional download. You need to manually force the install by going to Settings > Windows Update > Download and install.

The update only resolves problems with the Touch Keyboard, Voice Typing, and Emoji Panel, as well as the Getting Started app and the Input Method Indicator. Microsoft is still trying to fix the Snipping Tool and the S Mode-only issues. It says it will provide an update when more information is available.

As a temporary workaround, it’s being suggested to use the Print Screen key on your keyboard and paste the screenshot into a document or into the Paint app. Microsoft usually issues Windows patches on the second Tuesday of each month, so we’re assuming that an official fix could come around November 9.

Although Windows 11 has been out for around a month now, the rollout has been a bit rough. Users have reported experiencing a lot of bugs in Windows 11. Empty folders in the subsystem, a delay when using the context menus in Windows 11 itself, and a memory leak in the File Explorer are just some examples.

If you’re hesitant about updating to Windows 11 for any of these issues, or if you experience one yourself, we suggest checking out the Feedback Hub app. The app is where Windows users report and file issues relating to the new operating system, as well as Windows 10.

Editors’ Choice

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Watch DOOM Eternal running on an NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti

While today’s announcement of the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards may have been bittersweet considering the current hardware shortage, there’s certainly reason to be excited about these new cards. Both cards, which are launching later this month, offer a boost in performance over their non-Ti counterparts, and now we’re getting to see just how capable the 3080 Ti is with a new DOOM Eternal gameplay demo.

The gameplay demo was published by NVIDIA today and uses the 3080 Ti to run DOOM Eternal at 4K resolution with ray tracing turned on. The demo makes for a pretty impressive watch, and thanks to framerate and hardware data included in the upper right corner, we can see more specifics not only concerning the 3080 Ti’s performance, but also the rig this was tested on.

During periods of action, the framerate seems to fluctuate between around 75 and 90 fps, often settling in the low to mid-80s. When there’s less happening on screen, frame rate can jump above 100 frames per second, though that’s obviously a fairly rare occurrence when you remember that we’re running at 4K with ray tracing turned on.

From that hardware data, we learn that the RTX 3080 Ti has been paired with an Intel Core i9-10900KF CPU clocked at 3.7GHz. While ray tracing is turned on for the entirety of the demo, HDR and DLSS are both turned off. Of course, since this is a ray tracing demo, you should pay particular attention to the lighting effects, whether we’re talking lasers, explosions, or reflections.

It’s an impressive demo, to be sure, but the real problem will be getting your hands on one of these cards. The standard 3070 and 3080 have been extremely difficult to find for months and months, and there’s no reason to believe that the 3070 Ti and 3080 Ti will be any easier to buy. We’ll see soon enough, though, as the 3080 Ti is slated to launch on June 3rd while the 3070 Ti will be releasing on June 10th.

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Qualcomm’s benchmarks show Snapdragon 8cx running as fast as Intel’s Core i5

Qualcomm said that is partnering with Lenovo to create what it’s calling the first 5G PC, code-named “Project Limitless,” based on the Snapdragon 8cx processor it announced last December. It also used a pair of unreleased PCMark benchmarks to prove that the Snapdragon 8cx can outperform a “Kaby Lake-R” Intel Core i5.

Though the “Project Limitless” name implies it’s nothing more than a research effort, it’s expected that the Qualcomm partnership with Lenovo will yield a consumer product, which Lenovo will likely ship in early 2020. Both Qualcomm and Lenovo are here at the Computex show in Taiwan, where Qualcomm is seeking partners for what it calls its Always Connected PCs.

As we learned in December, the Snapdragon 8cx was designed as a ground-up, optimized design specifically for laptops. Qualcomm’s goal is to achieve performance comparable to that of an Intel U-series Core i5 chip. At the time, Qualcomm hadn’t set the final clock speeds, though the reference laptop the company showed was running at 2.75GHz. Executives said today that the 8cx will run at 2.84GHz.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx compal prototypeMark Hachman / IDG

A Qualcomm 8cx prototype, manufactured by “white box” maker Compal.

First 8cx performance numbers released

As for the Snapdragon 8cx itself, the knock on Qualcomm’s chips inside of a PC is that they haven’t been able to supply the horsepower of Intel’s rival Core processors. (On balance, the Snapdragon 850 inside the Lenovo Yoga C630 is perfectly fast enough to run Netflix and most office tasks just fine, based on my experience with it, using a Qualcomm-supplied machine.)

Qualcomm executives previously told PCWorld that the Kryo 495 CPU inside the Snapdragon 8cx was “at least” 2.5 times as powerful as the version of the Kryo in the Snapdragon 850. On paper, that would put it on roughly on a par with an Intel Core i7-8550U, based on PCWorld’s scores for the Snapdragon 850 used in the Galaxy Book 2. As for the Adreno 680 GPU, at the time executives described it as twice as fast as the Snapdragon 850, and three times as fast as the Snapdragon 835.

Qualcomm snapdragon 8cx big numbers Qualcomm

The Kryo CPU, Adreno GPU, and Hexagon 690—all have been improved within the  Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx. 

Qualcomm also erased part of the mystery surrounding the performance of the 8cx itself. On May 27, PCMark developer UL will debut a pair of new benchmarks: an application benchmark that measures processor performance on Office, and a new battery life benchmark that runs down the battery in three different ways.

Qualcomm tested the Snapdragon 8cx against a Core i5-8250U, a member of the 2017 Kaby Lake-R generation. The tests were performed by Qualcomm, though reporters were also offered the opportunity to launch the tests themselves and confirm them. (Qualcomm’s numbers were based on tests running on battery, however, while the demonstration models were plugged in.)

The PCMark application benchmark tested the performance of the laptop across Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and the EdgeHTML version of Microsoft Edge. (According to Jani Joki, the director of engineering at UL, Microsoft’s upcoming switch to the Chromium version of Edge won’t meaningfully affect results, in much the same way driver updates don’t change the fundamental nature of its 3DMark benchmark.)

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Tech News

The New Google Assistant: How to get it up and running on the Pixel 4

The new Google Assistant is one of the marquee features of the new Pixel 4, with a less-intrusive interface, rapid-fire responses, and smarter integration with Android 10. But even if you have a Pixel 4, you might not be seeing it due to Google’s restrictions on how and when you can get it. So if you’re still seeing the old Assistant, here’s how to get the new one.

Change your language

new google assistant setup IDG

The new Google Assistant is U.S.-only at launch, so you’ll need to pick English (United States) to get it to work.

The new Assistant is U.S.-only at launch, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in the United States to get it. Just head over to your Assistant settings and change the language to English (United States). That should trigger the new Assistant on your Pixel 4 even if your location is elsewhere.

Turn on Gesture navigation

new google assistant gestures IDG

You’ll need to turn on gesture navigation to use the new Google Assistant.

Google offers two ways to navigate the Pixel 4, the new gesture-based navigation and the old 3-button nav bar. However, the new Assistant works only with the newer gesture navigation. So if you opted to stick with the old buttons, you’ll need to swap them out in the System settings to use the new Assistant.

Check your Google account

new google assistant gsuite IDG

Oddly enough, your G Suite account might be blocking access to the new Google Assistant.

A Google account is basically a prerequisite for owning a Pixel 4, but if you have a G Suite for Business account it’s going to cause problems with the new Assistant. It’s not clear why, but if you have a G Suite account on your phone, even if it’s not your main account, it will stop the new Assistant from appearing and revert to the old method. So you need to remove it completely by going into the Accounts tab in Settings. So if it’s vital for your job, you’re just going to have to wait to test out the new Assistant.

Turn on Continued Conversation

new google assistant continued conversation IDG

To get the most out of the new Google Assistant, turn on Continued Conversation.

Finally, even if you are seeing the new Assistant on your phone, you might not be getting the full experience. That’s because you need to have Continued Conversation turned on to be able to ask follow-up questions, the main reason you’ll want to use the new Assistant. With Continued Conversation turned on, you’ll be able to ask contextual follow-up questions, such as, “what about tomorrow?” after getting today’s weather report. You can find the toggle inside the Assistant settings on your phone.

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Tech News

Here’s what Android running on the dual-screen Surface Duo might look like

On Wednesday, Microsoft released an emulator showing how Android apps would run on the dual-screen Surface Duo Android phone. We now have a better idea of how it will all work.

Microsoft is simultaneously developing apps for the dual-screen Surface Duo Android platform, as well as the Surface Neo, a dual-screen Windows PC that will run Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10X. Microsoft will release a Windows emulator for Windows 10X on February 11, but it has allowed developers to begin testing the Android emulator as well.

surface duo screnshot Neowin / Youtube

Thanks to Zac Bowden of Windows Central and Jonas Daehnert, you can take a look at how Android apps will interact with one another on the Duo platform. While Bowden ran the emulator itself and compiled some footage, Daehnert overlaid the footage onto a rendering of the Neo, “showing” how it would look on the actual device.

While Android acts as you might expect, Daehnert’s work shows off how well Android works on a dual-display device. On a single-display device, launching an app or selecting a menu option refreshes the single display with whatever you’ve chosen. In the Surface Duo render, the menu option opens on the secondary display, preserving your history. It might not sound like much, but if you’ve ever worked with multiple windows across multiple displays, you’ll know what we mean.

Neowin also played with the dual-screen Android emulator, compiling this video of the experience.

While the  videos don’t reveal any particularly revelatory uses for dual-screen Android devices, they’re simply an elegant depiction of how the Surface Duo will work. Holiday 2020 can’t come soon enough.

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IBM quantum computing development roadmap envisions applications running 100 times faster

Even as the hype around quantum computing continues to build, plenty of skeptical voices have emerged questioning the lofty predictions and growing venture capital pouring into the sector. In an attempt to cut through that debate, IBM has published a quantum computing development roadmap intended to bring some clarity while also reinforcing its belief that this emerging technology will have a major impact.

IBM believes it has an achievable timetable to advance its quantum hardware to reach the power and reliability that will allow for commercial applications within 5 years. The challenge then is enabling the tools and the environment to let companies and developers start experimenting with writing the applications that will allow them to harness this power.

“Nobody is using quantum computing commercially yet,” IBM vice president of quantum ecosystem development Bob Sutor said. “That will follow mid-decade or so. But it’s not something you can wake up and just suddenly be an expert in overnight. So typically, what you see is that the leaders in the field will move to new technology and they start experimenting with it to develop that expertise.”

Big tech companies such as Google and Microsoft are plunging ahead with ambitious quantum computing programs. Meanwhile, quantum startups have been raising steady amounts of money from VCs, including Zapata with $38 million for quantum machine learning, IQM with $46 million to commercialize its quantum computers, and Classiq with $10.5 million for its modeling tool for building algorithms for quantum computers.

IBM has been among the most aggressive in trying to build momentum for quantum computing. In 2016, the company launched the Q Network, which allows companies to begin experimenting with quantum computers via the company’s cloud service. According to Sutor, the Q Network now has more than 135 organizations, including corporations such as JP Morgan Chase and Exxon, as well as universities and startups.

According to IBM’s quantum hardware roadmap, the company expects to achieve 100 qubits (the measure of a quantum computer’s processing power) this year, 400 qubits next year, and 1,000 qubits by 2023. While there are still major scientific hurdles to clear to make quantum computing superior to classical computing, Sutor said IBM is in a strong position to overcome them.

“This is significant because it represents that we have now the scientific and engineering confidence that we’re able to break through only having small systems to get to the larger systems that we are going to need to have quantum computing be useful to do things better than just classical systems can do,” he said.

Next quantum steps

That has brought greater focus to the question of what companies will do with this new computing power and how to bring them along. Part of that involves setting expectations.

“When we talk about quantum computing, the first thing you want to remember is that this not a wholesale replacement for classical computers,” Sutor said. “We’re not going to throw away our classical computers. Quantum computers need classical systems to work.”

Sutor said quantum computers will work best for offloading certain specific tasks. Among the most promising areas where quantum can bring more powerful calculations are natural sciences and chemistry, problem optimization, and some parts of artificial intelligence. In these scenarios, it’s possible to imagine a developer is running an application on their laptop but at a specific stage sends a request across the cloud to a quantum computer to perform a calculation which is then returned to that laptop.

To make the quantum portion of that equation more accessible, IBM has created an open source quantum programming framework called Qiskit. Sutor said that Qiskit will help speed up computation for applications by 100 times.

To leverage Qiskit, IBM is also trying to enlarge the pool of developers who can write applications for quantum computers. So IBM has been making a big push to train and expand the talent base of people who have a working knowledge of how to code for quantum.

The company started with a free online course expecting about 200 attendees. Instead, it drew 4,000 developers. And then IBM partnered with a coding school to create a program for 5,000 students. When 10,000 developers tried to register, the partners agreed to expand it to 6,000 attendees. Much of this teaching material is now also available on YouTube.

“We’re raising the first generation of quantum-native developers,” Sutor said. “These are people who are learning quantum computing at the same time they’re learning how to code.”

That growing developer community will, in turn, allow more companies to begin laying the groundwork for their own quantum strategies.

“If you’re a software developer, with this roadmap, you can decide where and when you should jump into quantum,” Sutor said. “This is obviously extremely important because developers are people who will be creating the software for all of us. And on the other hand, if you’re looking at this from a company perspective, they’re saying, ‘When will quantum be powerful enough to be relevant to me?’ And they’ll turn to developers for answers to that question. This roadmap should give them confidence that we will continue on a pace of very aggressive developments.”


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Tech News

Time is running out on TikTok, WeChat downloads on iPhones and Android phones

While we await word of a sale or some kind of a compromise, the popular TikTok and WeChat mobile apps will be removed from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store at midnight on Monday, September 21. The announcement follows months of jockeying and negotiations after the Trump Administration put the two apps on notice for allegedly collecting personal data from U.S. citizens and funneling it to the Chinese government.

Tencent, which owns WeChat, would also be prohibited partnering with another company to offer “internet hosting, content delivery networks, internet transit or peering services to WeChat, or using the app’s code in other software or services in the United States,” according to the New York Times. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the ban is intended to completely shut down WeChat in the U.S. beginning Monday.

TikTok will still be allowed to function until November 12 for anyone who previously downloaded the app. The stay is presumably to work out the terms of a potential sale.

Oracle is still in talks with owner ByteDance over a sale of the video-sharing app TikTok, but WeChat is far more ingrained in the Chinese landscape. Operating under the name Weixin in China, WeChat is a messaging, payment, and social media service used by millions of users in the U.S. and more than a billion worldwide.

While the ban wouldn’t have a huge impact on WeChat’s global operations, it’s unclear what effect the ban would have on Tencent’s other holdings, including stakes in Epic Games, Ubisoft, Reddit, and Universal Music Group. Also unclear is whether Google and Apple will take action against Trump for wielding power over its app stores.

Ross said the move is designed to protect U.S. users: “What they collect are data on locality, data on what you are streaming toward, what your preferences are, what you are referencing, every bit of behavior that the American side is indulging in becomes available to whoever is watching on the other side,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to squelch.”

Android users may be able to still download the TikTok and WeChat APKs after Sunday’s deadline, though it’s unclear whether the respective companies will still update them in the U.S. And with a ban on hosting as well, important pieces of WeChat, such as messaging and payments, will be all but unusable.

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