Categories
Security

Microsoft Defender launches on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Microsoft is launching a new Defender cybersecurity app across Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android today. While the software giant has used the Defender moniker for its antivirus protection for years, this new cross-platform Microsoft Defender app is designed for individuals as more of a simplified dashboard that taps into existing antivirus software or offers additional device protections.

Microsoft Defender will be available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers today, and the features will vary by platform. On iOS and iPadOS, for example, there’s no antivirus protection, and the app offers some web phishing protections instead alongside a dashboard that includes alerts for other devices.

Over on Android, Microsoft Defender includes antivirus protection and the ability to scan for malicious apps. The app will also scan links to offer web phishing protection. Microsoft Defender on Windows acts more like a dashboard rather than attempting to replace the built-in Windows Security app. You can view your existing antivirus protection from Norton, McAfee, or other vendors and manage and view security protections across devices.

Microsoft Defender on iOS.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Defender also includes security alerts and tips across multiple devices, although the tips are only available on Windows and macOS.

The app feels like it will be superfluous for many, but it will be useful for those wanting to protect family members and multiple devices in a simple dashboard. Microsoft is promising that more features are on the way, too.

“The expansion of our security portfolio with Microsoft Defender for individuals is the natural and exciting progression in our journey as a security company,” says Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of Microsoft security. “This is just the start. As we look forward, we will continue to bring more protections together under a single dashboard, including features like identity theft protection and secure online connection.”

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Security

Don’t wait to install the June Windows update — it fixes the Follina security flaw

Microsoft has patched a Windows vulnerability that hackers are actively exploiting. If you own a system that uses Windows 7 and up, you’ll want to update your computer as soon as possible (via Bleeping Computer).

The security flaw, called Follina (CVE-2022-30190) by researchers, lets bad actors hijack users’ computers through programs like Microsoft Word. Security researchers have been aware of the threat since late May, but Microsoft reportedly dismissed their initial findings.

In an attack documented by security company Proofpoint, hackers associated with the Chinese government sent malicious Word documents to Tibetan recipients. When opened, these documents use the Follina exploit to take control of the Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) to execute commands that could be used to install programs, create new user accounts, and access, delete, or change data stored on a computer. The exploit has also been used in phishing campaigns targeting American and European government agencies.

Microsoft’s original warning about the threat offered workarounds to protect against the threat, but this update (KB5014699 for Windows 10 and KB5014697 for Windows 11) should eliminate the need for that. “Microsoft strongly recommends that customers install the updates to be fully protected from the vulnerability,” Microsoft says. “Customers whose systems are configured to receive automatic updates do not need to take any further action.”



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Computing

How to download Windows 11 22H2, and everything new

The first major featured update for Windows 11 is coming. Currently officially known as Windows 11, Version 22H2, this update addresses a lot of the quality of life issues that people have complained about. It brings folders in the Start Menu, the ability to drag and drop files to the Taskbar, and a lot more.

We highlighted some of these features in the past when they were in early beta testing in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider program. Yet now, Microsoft has moved these features, and confirmed Windows 11, Version 22H2 for wider, and safer testing in the Release Preview channel. It has also released ISO files for download, too, so you can “clean install” on a new or existing PC.

We’ll touch on how you can download Windows 11 22H2, and what you can expect in this guide. But please note that Microsoft has not come out with an official list of new features in Windows 11, Version 22H2.

We’re just going off intuition from trying the update for many weeks, and based on previous Microsoft blog posts about what’s been said of coming to Windows “soon.” Microsoft has also not yet talked about when Windows 11, Version 22H2 will be available for everyone, outside of betas, but we assume it will be later this fall.

We’ll do our best to keep this guide updated with new features once Microsoft confirms them.

Download through the Windows Insider Program

To begin the process of downloading Windows 11, Version 22H2, you need to enroll your PC in the Windows Insider Program. Don’t worry though, as the Release Preview channel that you’ll be joining is quite safe, with little risk for data loss, and other bugs. Before starting, make sure you have Windows 11 installed already.

Step 1: Open the Windows 11 Settings app with Windows key + I. Then, head to Privacy & security. Click the Diagnostics and feedback section, and make sure the toggle for send optional diagnostic data is turned on.

Step 2: Head back to the sidebar in the settings app, and choose Windows update. From there, click Windows insider program.

Step 3: Click the Get started button. Then, sign in and link your Microsoft Account. Click Continue and choose Release Preview channel. Follow the steps on your screen, and then restart your PC.

Choosing the Release Preview Channel.

Step 4: Once you’re back in your PC, go back to Windows Update and check for updates. You should see a new update available for you. It will be labeled as “Windows 11, Version 22H2 available”. Click Download & install.

Step 5: Your PC will download and complete the installation by prompting you to restart when ready. Be patient as it could take up to an hour.

Step 6: If you’re not seeing Windows 11, Version 22H2 in the Release Preview channel, you can switch to the Beta channel instead to get it. These channels are equal, with very few risks of damaging or causing big crashes on your PC.

Just go back to Windows Update, Choose Windows Insider Program, and then under Choose your insider settings, pick Beta Channel. Now go back to Windows Update, and you should see the big update available for you.

A USB drive on a keyboard.

Download using the ISO

If all else fails and you’re having issues updating to Windows 11, Version 22H2 through Windows Update, Microsoft has an ISO file you can download. Just visit the Windows Insider website, log in with your Microsoft Account, and download the ISO by selecting the Release Preview Channel option at the bottom of the screen.

We have a separate guide that explains how you can use that ISO to install Windows 11.But as a summary, this ISO can be used to “clean install” and erase your existing Windows 11 installation with Windows 11 22H2. This can be used on either your PC, or on another PC. It also can be used for an in-place update, just double click the ISO mount it, open the installer, and follow the instructions.

The new Start Menu in Windows 11, 22H2.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Improved Start Menu

The Start Menu is one of the core areas in Windows 11, Version 22H2 that got huge improvements. You’re now able to create Start Menu folders and name them. Just drag an app on top of another app to try it!

In addition, you can customize the recommended section a bit more. This is so you can see more of your pinned apps, and less recommended content. Or more recommended content and fewer pinned apps. A total of four rows of pinned apps are now displayed.

Microsoft even added a shortcut to the Sign-in options page on the power button in the Start Menu. This should make tweaking your sign-in-related things like Windows Hello, Security Keys Dynamic Lock, and saving apps on restart much easier.

Taskbar settings in Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Tweaks to Taskbar

The next area that Windows 11, Version 22H2 improves is the Taskbar. These are some smaller quality of life tweaks. For example, you can once again drag files onto apps that you have pinned in the taskbar. And, you can drag apps from the desktop or Start Menu to the Taskbar to create shortcuts.

Other Taskbar tweaks include the ability to scroll your mouse wheel on the volume icon in the Taskbar’s system tray area to change the volume. You’ll even now see a more subtle flashing when an app has a notification, too.

Other than all that, you’ll notice new icons in the Taskbar system tray for when you’re casting to a display, a new lighting bolt icon for when your battery is charging. Oh, and Windows key + ALT + K will now mute your microphone in compatible apps like Teams or Zoom. A notification for it will pop up above the Taskbar.

Live Captions in Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Live captions

You might be familiar with Live Captions on Android phones, and Windows 11, Version 22H2 introduces a Microsoft take on this feature. You can access it by hitting Windows key > Control key > L on your keyboard. After being prompted to set up and download the feature, you’ll get a bar at the top of your screen that will have a readout of what Windows 11 is hearing. It’s a bar that matches Windows 11’s mica effects.

Touching the Start Menu in Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Useful touch gestures

Windows 11, Version 22H2 tweaks the way touch screen Windows devices work. You can now swipe up with one finger on the Start Menu to open it. In addition, you can swipe up on the Quick Settings area to open that, too. Other touch-centric features include the addition of a three-finger swipe from down the middle of the screen to minimize all of your apps, and a three-finger swipe from the left or right, or right to switch between running apps.

The Task Manager app in Windows 11 22H2

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Redesigned Task Manager app

The Task Manager in Windows 11’s initial release is one left over from Windows 10 and Windows 8. This new 22H2 update gives the Task Manager a new look to match Windows 11’s design. There’s a new sidebar to aid with navigation, support for dark mode, a new command bar for each page, and an efficiency mode that you can turn on for processes to save RAM and resources. Task Manager’s heatmap in the processes area will even recognize your theme color, too.

The new Snap Layouts feature in Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Improvements to Snap Layouts

Snap Layouts are the signature feature of Windows 11, and the 22H2 release brings it more upfront. Now, when you drag a window around, you’ll get a subtle drop-down from the top of your screen. If you drag the window to the drop-down area, you’ll see ways to put that Window in a Snap Layout. You can then release the window over the specific Snap Layout you want, to activate it.

It’s an alternative to hovering your mouse over the maximize button. And, it works great with touch screens and your fingers. Oh, and do note that the Windows Key + Z shortcut will show you numbers for how you can trigger a specific Snap Layout, too.

Sharing a file in Outlook in 22H2

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

File Explorer

The File Explorer in Windows 11 22H2 has a new “Home” page. You’ll see this each time you open the File Explorer. This replaces Quick Access at the top of the app.

And speaking of Quick Access, it has been rebranded to “Favorites.” You can right-click a file or folder and you’ll see that there’s a new “Favorites” option.

Other than that, File Explorer better integrates with OneDrive and Outlook. The app now features a drop-down menu for OneDrive sync and storage status. The “Share” menu in File Explorer also has a new option to share with Outlook, without opening the dedicated Outlook app.

Oh, and did you notice? Folder previews are back in 22H2, after being gone from the initial version of Windows 11. You’ll now see a small preview of what’s inside a folder! That’s on top of the updated visual icons in the menus you see for stuff like properties, renaming files, and the show more options.

The volume slider in Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Cleaner volume, brightness sliders and Bluetooth options in Quick Settings

Windows 11’s volume and brightness sliders are tweaked in 22H2 to match the operating system’s new design. The sliders fall at the bottom of the screen now and have a slimmer look.

As for Quick Settings, there’s now a dedicated sub-menu accessed via the Bluetooth icon for quick ways for pairing devices. You’ll no longer have to go into the dedicated Bluetooth area in the Windows settings app for this.

Subscriptions in Windows 11 22H2

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Items in Settings app

Windows 11’s settings app received two new areas in 22H2. The first is for your subscriptions, available under Accounts. From here, you’ll see the status of your Microsoft 365 subscriptions. In addition to that, you’ll be able to manage Family options from the settings app. This is linked out to the new Family Safety app which comes with this new windows version.

Oh, and while we’re here. You also can set Windows Spotlight as your wallpaper in Windows 11 22H2. This gives you a new wallpaper each day, from Microsoft. You’ll be able to control it from the desktop with a camera icon at the top right of your screen. See it under Settings > Personalization > then Windows spotlight under Personalize your background.

The Alt+TAb strip in Windows 11 22H2

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Alt+Tab visuals

Alt+Tab has been around in Windows for ages, and Windows 11 22H2 gives it a fresher look. Now, when you hit the keyboard combo, your open apps won’t show in a full-screen background. Instead, you get a thin window, with an acrylic background showcasing all open apps. It’s clean and efficent.

Notifications, Do not disturb, and Focus

You’re likely to notice that 22H2 changes your notification center a bit. Windows 11’s “Focus Sessions” feature from the Clock is now up and center here. This lets you set a timer from the bottom of the notification center and wind down and take time to relax, and schedule focus times throughout the week.

In addition, Microsoft’s added a “Do not Disturb” option, too. This turns off all notifications except ones you’ve set as priority. This is basically the old Focus Assist feature, which is now rebranded as Focus.

As for what else is new for notifications, they will show differently depending on the app. Windows 11 will stock notifications simultaneously for apps that are calling, reminding, or alarms.

The Journal app in Windows 11

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Microsoft Journal

Microsoft Journal is a new inking app from Microsoft that puts your pen first. It comes as a new option in the Pen Menu in Windows 11 22H2. If you don’t have the app, clicking the Journal icon will install it from the Store.

The Windows 11 lock screen.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Updated music player on Lock Screen

You’re probably familiar with the Windows 11 lock screen, but, like the rest of the OS features, Windows 11 22H2 adds some small tweaks. One of those is a new UI for media controls when your screen is locked. It now matches the area that you see in Quick Settings when music is played. It stays in a dark mode to match the wallpaper.

Smart App Control in Windows 11.

Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

Smart App Control

One of the last new features in Windows 11 22H2 is Smart App Control. This can be found under Windows Security, but it only will be enabled if you’ve cleaned and installed from fresh. It’s designed to protect your device from ransomware and other unwanted apps. The feature learns which app you’re using, and can detect malicious untrusted apps.

So, there you have it! It’s quite easy to download the next big update for Windows 11 today. And, there are a ton of features that you can look forward to once you see it available for download. Now that Windows only gets updated once a year though, you can look out for the next big update in 2023, which is already in testing with the Dev Channel in the Windows Insider program.

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Categories
Game

The Xbox Windows app will make it easier to know if a game will run well on your PC

With so many different ways to build a computer, one of the trickiest aspects of PC gaming is knowing whether a game you’re about to install will play well on your machine. Microsoft is testing a feature that could make that easier. As spotted by , the Xbox app on Windows now includes a label that will tell you if a game will “play great” on your PC.

Xbox Windows PC app

Tom Warren/The Verge

Since there are some titles where the app says “performance check not available yet,” it doesn’t appear Microsoft is comparing the listed system requirements against the components in your PC. Instead, it would seem the company is building a database where it tests a game against various different machines. If you want to test the labels, you can do so by downloading the and opting into the Windows gaming preview. 

If the system works well, it could solve a common pain point for PC gamers. In recent years, we’ve seen some developers share more granular system requirements for their games, telling you not just the minimum and recommended spec but also hardware that will deliver the best experience at Full HD, QHD and 4K respectively. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been anything close to standardization across the industry, and that’s even before you consider the fact some developers list overly optimistic requirements for their games.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Categories
Computing

How to Use Link to Windows to Connect Your Android Phone to a PC

Thanks to efforts from the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, the gap between smartphones and computers has grown ever smaller. These days, you can get a desktop-like experience by booting up your iPad or by plugging your Samsung or Huawei phone into a spare monitor. But efforts to bridge the gap between phones and computers haven’t begun and ended with the desktop-like DeX mode, and if you own a compatible Samsung or Microsoft smartphone, you can use Link to Windows to connect your phone and your computer.

Using Link to Windows allows you to see your most recent photos, reply to messages, see notifications, and mirror your smartphone’s screen from your PC. Whether you’re a power user or more casual, it’s safe to say connecting your smartphone to your computer is useful. Here’s how to use Link to Windows to connect your Android phone to a PC.

Which phones and computers are compatible?

Of course, you first need a phone and computer that are compatible with Link to Windows. Link to Windows requires a Windows PC running Windows 10 and the May 10, 2019, update at the earliest. It also requires a compatible Android phone. The full compatibility list is available from Microsoft, but basically, you’re looking at most phones released by Samsung in the last three years, including Galaxy flagship devices back to the Galaxy S9 and the Microsoft Surface Duo and Surface Duo 2.

If you have one of those phones and a Windows 10 PC that meets the requirements, then move on to the next step, because we’re ready to start.

How to set up Link to Windows

You won’t need to download a new app on a Samsung phone to use Link to Windows, but you will need an app on your PC. Here’s how to link your phone and computer, and how to turn on notifications, too.

Step 1: Open the Windows Store by searching for it in your taskbar, and then search for Your Phone in the store.

Step 2: Install the app and tap Launch to open it. The app will ask you to choose between iPhone and Android. Since this guide concerns itself with Android phones, select Android, and move on to the next step.

Step 3: Next, you’ll need to link your phone to your PC. Go to your browser on your phone and type in the URL displayed on your PC. If you’re using a non-Samsung phone, you’ll need to download a companion app, but a Samsung phone will go straight to the linking process without an additional app download.

Step 4: Click Generate QR Code on your PC and scan the QR code using the screen that pops up on your phone. You may need to allow Phone Companion Permission to access your camera.

Step 5: The next step takes place on your phone. You’ll need to set up app permissions first to let your phone and PC play well together. Tap Continue and allow access to your contacts, phone, files, and SMS messages in order to turn on all of the features.

Step 6: Now shift back to your computer and click Get Started to open up the main Your Phone window.

Step 7: Make sure each section is set up correctly by clicking on each tab and following the tutorials to set up full access. For instance, for the Messages section, you’ll need to click See Texts, followed by Send Notification. If you’ve already allowed access to your phone, your messages should pop up in a few moments.

Step 8: Turning on notifications does require a few more steps to set up. Click Open Settings on Phone to open a list of apps. Scroll down the list until you find Your Phone Companion, and then tap the slider to turn it on.

Step 9: Tap Allow to allow access to notifications. This allows future notifications to pop up on your PC as well as your smartphone.

How to use Link to Windows

Now you’ve set up Link to Windows, you might be wondering what you can do with it. Here’s a brief explainer of each section and what you can get from each.

Receiving and customizing notifications

Any new phone notifications will pop up on your PC as they arrive, keeping you up to date without unlocking your phone. But if you’re getting overwhelmed with notifications, you can easily change your settings to exclude certain apps. Open Notifications and click Customize at the top right. From there, you can turn off notification banners, badges in the taskbar, and notifications from individual apps.

You can also click on a notification to open your phone screen on your PC. You’ll be able to control your phone through this window, allowing you to respond to messages on social media.

Receiving and answering messages

Clicking on Messages will open up a list of your most recent text messages. You can reply to messages from within the apps, and there’s no need to launch a screen mirror to reply or receive new messages. Essentially a beefed-up version of Android Messages’ web service, this is probably the simplest but most useful aspect of this app.

View and download recent photos

Photos is another simple and fairly self-evident tab. Here you’ll find your most recent photos, downloads, and screenshots. You can click on them to view them in your PC’s gallery app, share them through various messaging platforms, and save them directly to your computer.

Open and use apps without picking up your phone

One of the more interesting features of Link to Windows is the ability to launch and use any app on your phone through your PC. Open the Apps section to see a list of the apps currently installed on your phone. You can mark certain apps as favorites to see them above the list, and launch them by clicking on them. Your Phone will connect to your phone and open a window that mirrors your phone’s screen. Unlock your phone, and you’ll be able to use your phone as you would normally, but with a keyboard and mouse. This ability also extends to any games you might have installed, so you can explore New Eden in EvE Echoes without needing to pick up your phone.

Receive and place phone calls

If your PC has Bluetooth capabilities, then you can even use your PC to take and receive calls — which some may find a little more useful than playing Candy Crush. Simply select Calls to make and receive phone calls and hear them through your speakers and microphone or headset.

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Computing

Windows 11 Gains Back A Highly Requested Taskbar Feature

Microsoft has confirmed the weather widget that was initially introduced via Windows 10 will be integrated into Windows 11. A new voice access feature for the operating system has also been added.

The latest Insider preview build for Windows 11, dubbed . 22518, displays live weather content on the left side of the taskbar. Users will also be able to open the widgets board by hovering over the entry point.

Another addition to Windows 11’s latest preview build is voice access, which allows users to control several aspects of their PC and author text through voice commands.

The new feature lets you open and switch between apps, browse the web, and control the mouse and keyboard. For example, you can click an item like a button or a link by saying “click start” or “click cancel.”Similarly, you’ll be able to open an application by saying “open Edge” or “open Word.”

Other elements that can be interacted with through one’s voice include searching and editing text, as well as interacting with overlays. Microsoft provided a full list of commands for voice access, but pointed out that it only supports the English-U.S option in the display language section.

Microsoft has also made it easier for new users to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux through the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft is also introducing the Spotlight collection to Windows 11, which will “keep your desktop fresh and inspiring.” New desktop pictures from around the world will be offered every day, accompanied by various facts pertaining to the picture itself.

Besides Insider preview build 22518, Microsoft recently released a redesigned Notepad. An updated user interface brings changes like rounded corners, but the most exciting inclusion is a dark mode component. The new-look Notepad also addresses a “top community feature request” by adding support for multilevel undo.

There’s currently no timeline for when all these changes will become available for all Windows 11 users, but expect a rollout sometime during 2022. As for the latest preview build that’s been released in the Windows 11 Dev Channel, Microsoft stated that it won’t be offered to ARM64 PCs due to an issue that it’s currently working to fix.

Regarding Microsoft’s plan for Windows 11 in 2022, one area of focus for the company largely revolves around performance, with the tech giant highlighting how improving the responsiveness of the new operating system will be a priority.

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Computing

This 17-inch HP Windows 11 Laptop is Down to $650 — Hurry!

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Retailers are offering laptop deals in all shapes and sizes, so buying a new laptop may be overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. For dependable machines with immense value for money, it’s highly recommended that you start with HP laptop deals, which includes this $150 discount for the HP 17 Laptop that brings its price down to just $650 from its original price of $800. If you finalize your purchase now, you’ll get it in time for Christmas so that you can give it as a gift to a loved one — or even to yourself.

The HP 17 Laptop, which is made by a brand that’s a fixture in Digital Trends’ best laptops, promises reliable performance in a relatively affordable package. The laptop is powered by the 11th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and Intel Iris XE Graphics, for multitasking between several apps without any slowdowns and crashes. The laptop also comes with a 1TB HDD, which should be enough space to install your essential software and to store your important files. Windows 11 Home is pre-installed in the machine, and since the operating system is the standard for many business-related programs, according to our laptop buying guide, you’ll have access to an expansive software library for any purpose that you need.

Typing documents, browsing websites, and watching streaming content are enjoyable on the laptop’s 17.3-inch HD+ display. Meanwhile, working on the laptop is comfortable because of its lift-hinge design, which raises the machine to a natural typing position, augmented by an enlarged click pad. If you’re always on the go, the HP Fast Charge technology will help you out by keeping the HP 17 Laptop in action, as up to 50% of its battery will be recharged after just 45 minutes of being plugged in.

Whether you’re planning to upgrade your laptop, or you think that a friend or family member needs a new machine, you can’t go wrong with the HP 17 Laptop. It’s currently available from HP for just $650, after a $150 discount to its original price of $800. If you want delivery to occur ahead of the holidays, you should purchase the machine now before stocks get depleted and shipping channels get congested. Don’t hold yourself back — click that Buy Now button for the HP 17 Laptop as soon as you can.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Computing

Microsoft Backpedals On Default Browsers in Windows 11

Many people have been complaining about difficulty of changing the default browser in Windows 11, but it seems that Microsoft is finally taking note.

The latest Windows 11 Insider build contains fixes that make it much easier to do with just a single button press.

In its current form, changing your default browser in Windows 11 requires a lot of workarounds. The fix is said to bring it back to what it used to be in Windows 10.

The fix was found by several Windows Insider users in the 22509 build that was released recently. User @WithinRafael on Twitter posted screenshots that show the new functionality, giving a hint as to what will most likely make it into an upcoming Windows update.

In the current Insider preview build, users are able to navigate to the Default Apps section in Windows 11. This allows them to easily change the default browser to their app of choice by simply clicking Set default. Microsoft confirmed this change.

“In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the default browser to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML,” Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows Marketing, told The Verge.

This means that the new fix doesn’t apply to, among others, .PDF files — those will still have to be adjusted by hand. Otherwise, they will continue to default to Microsoft Edge when opened. This is a much-needed change, and although it may seem obvious, it isn’t how the feature currently works in Windows 11. Right now, users who want to switch away from Edge need to individually change default apps for every file format.

Windows build 22509 has a new browser [Set default] button. 👀 pic.twitter.com/kRDFPKfJMv

— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) December 1, 2021

The Windows 11 user base was not pleased with the way setting the default browser worked in Microsoft’s latest operating system. New apps popped up, such as EdgeDeflector, which made it easier to switch away from Edge. However, Microsoft recently blocked the app, so the new Insider update has come at the perfect time. While there are still some file types left to include in the new patch, it seems that Microsoft has budged and is taking steps in the right direction, and that’s always good to see.

The software giant has been making attempts at improving Microsoft Edge and attracting new users. Just recently, Microsoft added a new game-improving functionality to Edge, along with a new feature that lets users search through multiple tabs at once. While the new Chromium-based Edge fares better than its old version, it’s still nowhere near beating Google Chrome.

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Game

Qualcomm is making 5nm ARM chipsets for Windows laptops

is expanding its lineup of ARM-based chips for Windows and Chromebook with Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 platforms. In addition, the company aims to power handheld gaming devices using Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chipsets.

Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, which , is the first 5nm PC platform, according to Qualcomm, which designed it with ultra-slim and fanless laptops in mind. It says that moving to a 5nm process node and other optimizations allowed for improved Kryo CPU performance while sustaining similar power consumption levels as Gen 2 chipsets. The company claims the chipsets will deliver up to 85 percent improved performance compared with the previous generation and up to 60 percent better per-watt performance than x86 chips.

Along with 5G and WiFi 6/6E connectivity, the platform is said to offer multi-day battery life, upgraded camera and audio functions and chip-to-cloud security. Systems with 8cx Gen 3 chipsets will be able to take advantage of “29+ TOPS of AI acceleration,” which Qualcomm claims is three times the performance of “the leading competitive platform.” The AI acceleration could speed up tasks like face detection and background blur on calls. In addition, Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 supports up to 4K HDR camera quality, and as many as four cameras.

Qualcomm also says 8cx Gen 3 will offer up to 60 percent improved performance over previous-generation chips during GPU-intensive tasks thanks to the Adreno GPU. You’ll be able to play games in Full HD at up to 120 fps, and Qualcomm claims the platform is optimized to let folks play up to 50 percent longer “than certain competing platforms.”

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 chipset.

Qualcomm

As for Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3, that platform’s designed for entry-level PCs and Chromebooks, and it emerged only six months after . It too supports 5G, both sub-6 and mmWave, thanks to the inclusion of the Snapdragon X53 5G Modem-RF system. You can also expect Wi-Fi 6 and 6E support. Qualcomm says the 6nm 7c Gen 3 platform will deliver up to 40 percent improved CPU performance and as much as 35 percent improved graphics performance over the previous-gen chipsets.

haven’t exactly , and it remains to be seen whether Qualcomm can help the Windows on Snapdragon platform turn the corner with its latest, more powerful options. Devices with Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 and 7c+ Gen 3 chipsets are expected to debut in the first half of 2022.

Qualcomm Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 chipset on top of a handheld gaming device.

Qualcomm

Elsewhere, Qualcomm is making moves in a new chipset category: gaming handhelds. It says the Snapdragon G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform will support game streaming from consoles and PC, cloud gaming services and Android games and apps. The Adreno GPU can run games at 144 fps and at 10-bit HDR, according to the company, while the FastConnect 6900 system offers 5G mmWave and sub-6 and WiFi 6/6E connectivity.

To show off the platform, Razer collaborated with Qualcomm on a handheld gaming dev kit that’s available to developers starting today via Razer’s website. The device features a 120hz, 6.65-inch OLED display with 10-bit HDR support, four-way speakers and a built-in controller. The device can even be used for live streams that include audio and video feeds from players, since it has a 1080p 60 fps camera and dual mics.

Should Snapdragon-powered handhelds come to market, they’ll be vying against the likes of the Nintendo Switch, , smartphones and tablets. It’s a competitive sector, but one that’s growing rapidly, so there might be room for devices with Qualcomm chipsets to carve out a niche.

A person sits on rocks by the beach, playing a game on a handheld gaming device created by Razer.

Qualcomm

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Computing

Frustrated Security Researcher Discloses Windows Zero-Day

There’s a new zero-day issue in Windows, and this time the bug has been disclosed to the public by an angry security researcher. The vulnerability relates to users leveraging the command prompt with unauthorized system privileges to share dangerous content through the network.

According to a report from Bleeping Computer, Abdelhamid Naceri, the security researcher who disclosed this bug, is frustrated with Microsoft over payouts from the bug bounty program. Bounties have apparently been downgraded significantly over the past two years. Naceri isn’t alone, either. One Twitter user reported in 2020 that zero-day vulnerabilities no longer pay $10,000 and are now valued at $1,000. Earlier this month, another Twitter user reported that bounties can be reduced at any time.

Microsoft apparently fixed a zero-day issue with the latest round of “Patch Tuesday” updates, but left another unpatched and incorrectly fixed. Naceri bypassed the patch and found a more powerful variant. The zero-day vulnerability impacts all supported versions of Windows, including Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows 11.

“This variant was discovered during the analysis of CVE-2021-41379 patch. The bug was not fixed correctly, however, instead of dropping the bypass. I have chosen to actually drop this variant as it is more powerful than the original one,” explained Naceri in a GitHub post.

His proof of concept is on GitHub, and Bleeping Computer tested the exploit and ran it. It is also being exploited in the wild with malware, according to the publication.

In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said that it will do what is necessary to keep its customers safe and protected. The company also mentioned it is aware of the disclosure opf the latest zero-day vulnerability. It mentioned that attackers must already have access and the ability to run code on a target victim’s machine for it to work.

With the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., and the fact that a hacker would need physical access to a PC, it could be a while until a patch is released. Microsoft usually issues fixes on the second Tuesday of each month, known as “Patch Tuesday.” It also tests bug fixes with Windows Insiders first. A fix could come as soon as December 14.

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