Articles about Microsoft

Microsoft is making it easier to remove Chat from Windows 11's taskbar

Microsoft released a new Windows 11 preview build this week in which it changed the Chat integration in the operating system. The new build, which Wayne wrote about here, introduces a number of changes to the operating system.

One of these changes replaces the fly-out Chat interface with a shortcut to Microsoft Teams Free. When Microsoft launched Chat in 2021 on Windows 11's taskbar, it wanted to push Microsoft Teams usage on Home devices. Microsoft created the fly-out and made it difficult for users to remove it from the taskbar.

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How to access the hidden Emergency Restart option in Microsoft Windows

There are a lot of hidden or lesser-known features tucked away inside Windows 10 and Windows 11.

One of these undocumented functions is the Emergency Restart option which can really help if you run into problems with your PC and the Start button isn't working, or your system locks up while being used remotely.

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Microsoft releases Windows 11 Build 23481 with Folder Options changes in File Explorer and Windows Ink improvements

Wednesdays are a pretty big deal for Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel as that's when Microsoft typically releases new builds for Windows 11.

Today, the software giant rolls out Build 23481, and highlights in this new flight include improvements for Windows Ink and Folder Options changes in File Explorer. There's also a new widget rolling out.

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The US apes the UK, but stands in opposition to EU, by blocking Microsoft-Activision deal... for now

Xbox controller

A US judge has blocked Microsoft from buying Activision Blizzard following a request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The move is a temporary block while a complaint by the FTC that the deal could "substantially lessen competition" in the gaming sector is fully investigated. It puts the US in agreement with the UK, which blocked the deal earlier in the year, but is standing against the European Union which has given it the green light.

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Microsoft brings Windows 10 21H2 to end of service

Windows 10 logo on a beach

With the release of the June 2023 security updates for Windows 10, Microsoft has brought Windows 10 21H2 to the end of service. This means that the Home, Pro, Pro Education, and Pro for Workstations versions of Windows 10 21H2 will no longer receive any more updates.

End of service for Windows 10 21H2 has been known about for quite some time, and Microsoft recently reminded users that it was about to happen. What has upset some, however, are the forced upgrades that Microsoft is implementing.

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Move over Windows 11, Windows 12 is the operating system we need

Microsoft is set to pull the plug on Windows 10 in the near future, leaving people with the choice of upgrading to Windows 11, or hanging on for the inevitable follow up, which is expected to be called Windows 12.

Although Microsoft hasn't officially announced that next-gen operating system yet, it has dropped plenty of hints, and rumors suggest we might see Windows 12 arrive as soon as some time next year.

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Microsoft now lets you share files between Windows Subsystem for Android and Windows 11

Windows 11 logo

Having all but given up on its own mobile operating system, Microsoft has been gradually warming to Android and iOS by adding support for Google and Apple's software in the likes of the Your Phone app. And then there is Windows Subsystem for Android which the company has been developing and adding to for some time.

The latest improvement to the compatibility layer that makes it possible to run Android apps in Windows is the arrival of file sharing. Microsoft says that the ability to share files between Windows Subsystem for Android and Windows 11 is something that has been in high demand from users.

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Microsoft launches new Xbox and brings PC Game Pass titles to NVIDIA GeForce NOW

Xbox games

In a series of announcements at Xbox Games Showcase 2023, Microsoft has revealed that Game Pass subscribers will soon be able to stream select PC games through NVIDIA GeForce NOW. This means that a library -- albeit a limited one -- of PC games will be playable on low spec PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, mobile devices, TVs and more.

The company also announced a new Xbox console -- the Xbox Series S 1TB in Carbon Black. Priced at $350, the gaming system will be available later this year.

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The misconceptions around ChatGPT and the potential threat it poses to Google and other search engines

Since its public unveiling at the end of 2022, many have speculated that ChatGPT is the ultimate route for Microsoft to gain market share and overtake Google as the leading provider of search. In fact, some have even gone as far as saying that it will be a Google Killer, ending its supremacy of search engines online. However, the idea of generative AI making search irrelevant is a misunderstanding of what this technology genuinely represents. 

If we look at how Google has launched Bard, its alternative to ChatGPT, it’s clear that generative AI is not a threat to search but rather an enhancement. Marketed as a complement to search, Bard represents Google’s entry into the generative AI market and its chance to rewrite the narrative around this technology. With ChatGPT and Bard taking the internet by storm, this distinction is crucial for organizations. While generative AI is powerful, complementing it with search greatly enhances its power and versatility, and may be the perfect solution that businesses have been searching for to gain a competitive edge.

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Microsoft's latest Windows 11 build comes with a modernized File Explorer home and address bar


Microsoft continues to work behind the scenes on improving Windows 11 and adding new features to its current operating system.

Today it rolls out a new flight for Windows 11 Insiders in the Dev Channel, and this release, Build 23475, comes with a new modernized File Explorer Home powered by WinUI, and a modernized address bar and search box.

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Now you can download the updated Windows 11 22H2 ISO from Microsoft

Windows 11 keyboard

For many people, it can be useful to have Windows 11 installation media available for when a full reinstall of the operating system may be necessary. Microsoft has long made it possible to download Windows installation images, and the company has just updated the Windows 11 ISO

This means that it is now possible to download Windows 11 22H2 directly from Microsoft and use it to install the OS. It eliminates the need to install an older version of Windows 11 and then download a hefty update separately.

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Microsoft is quietly rolling out Bing Chat support to web browsers that rival Edge

Bing Chat overlayed with Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox logos

Thus far, Microsoft's artificial intelligence-powered Bing Chat has been exclusively available to users of the company's own Bing browser -- but this is starting to change.

Although there has been no official announcement, there have been numerous reports from users that they have been able to get Bing Chat to work without having to switch to Edge. Responding to queries about these reports on Twitter, Microsoft has now confirmed that it is gradually rolling out the AI-driven chat tool to different web browsers.

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Microsoft is killing off Cortana in Windows 10 and Windows 11 later this year

Hey Cortana

Given that it never really generated a huge degree of excitement, you would be forgiven for having forgotten about Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana. Now the company has announced that support for the Cortana app for Windows 10 and Windows 11 is coming to an end.

Microsoft has not made a huge fuss about killing off the app, slipping out the news in a support document rather than a blog post. But the end of support for the app does not mean that Cortana is disappearing altogether.

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Microsoft releases PowerToys v0.70.1 to fix a laundry list of issues


It's not long since Microsoft unleashed PowerToys v0.70.0 to an excited userbase, complete with two exciting new utilities. Just a week later, it's time for yet another release.

This time around there are, sadly, no new toys to play with, but that does not mean PowerToys v0.70.1 is not significant. Described as a patch release, it addresses a large number of problems that have been found in the software as well as making various improvements.

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Microsoft updates Paint for Windows 11 with dark mode option, new settings and more

Windows 11 Paint update

The Paint app that is built into Windows is much-maligned but, while it could hardly be considered a Photoshop-killer, much of the criticism really stems from the state of the app several years ago. Paint may not make it into the toolbox of a serious designer, but it has undeniably come on in leaps and bounds over the years.

And now Microsoft is treating Windows 11 users to an updated version of the not-quite-as-limited-as-you-might-think graphics tool. Among the new features are updated zoom controls and a much-requested dark mode option.

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