Microsoft Releases Cortana App in the Microsoft Store

Microsoft has released the initial beta of the Cortana app for Windows 10 in the Microsoft Store, virtually separating digital assistant in the operating-system.

Windows 10 shipped with Cortana pre-installed, and enhancements for the digital assistant were released included in updates that the company published for that operating system.

By moving it to the Microsoft Store, Microsoft are now able to release updates for Cortana straight with the Microsoft Store, which basically implies that the software giant can accelerate the job on refining the digital assistant and ship updates at a much faster cadence.

Same features as the built-in Cortana

This is an approach that Microsoft at some point wanted to use for the original version of Microsoft Edge too, however this idea was eventually abandoned, and also the browser remained part of Windows 10. Microsoft is now focusing on porting Microsoft Edge towards the Chromium engine, exactly the same one which powers Google Chrome browser.

In terms of Cortana, Microsoft says this Microsoft Store version comes with the same features as the one that’s bundled in Windows 10.

“As an intelligent assistant, Cortana will find all sorts of info, provide you with weather and traffic updates, and help you search the web. But Cortana go for to know you better all the time. Cortana will help track and discover the things you’re passionate about, like your favorite artists or teams, to provide you with better recommendations and updates,” the organization says on the Cortana product page in the Microsoft Store.

It’ll be interesting to see how frequently Microsoft wants to update Cortana now that digital assistant is published within the Microsoft Store, but remember that this first release continues to be a beta, so there’s a lot of work that needs to be done here before it’s ready for all users.

Microsoft ports DirectX 12 to Windows 7, giving some older PC games a performance boost

Before Windows 7 to die, Microsoft is porting DirectX 12 into it — on the game-by-game basis. The very first game to deliver is going to be Wow, with others to follow.

Microsoft’s latest graphics API has been around since 2015. But Microsoft typically reserved its extra features for Windows 10, the most recent OS that already demands the most recent hardware. DirectX 12’s support for multithreading, for instance, already generates “substantial framerate impriovement,” Microsoft says.

Enter Activision Blizzard, which added DirectX12 support for its venerable Wow MMORPG in 2018. With an estimated 5 million gamers still playing it this season, Blizzard asked DirectX 12 to be ported to Windows 7, which presumably a lot of its players remained as running. Microsoft agreed, and ported the D3D12 runtime to Windows 7. It is available as a patch to the game.

I am not saying DX12 is going to be released for Windows 7 on a wholesale basis, though. Microsoft said it will patch existing games with Windows 7 support, which it’s using a hardly any other game developers to port their DirectX 12 games to Windows 7.

Microsoft continues to be encouraging you to buy Windows 10 if you haven’t already, though. “The best DirectX 12 performance will be on Windows 10, since Windows 10 contains a quantity of OS optimizations made to make DirectX 12 run even faster,” the organization says.

What this means to you: The timing of the is a little peculiar, since one part of Microsoft is desperate to migrate the Windows 7 users list to Windows 10. There is however still nine months or so prior to the final deadline crashes down next January, and Microsoft can build some goodwill for now.

Among the best options that come with Microsoft’s October update to Windows might be doubtful

Though features within upcoming Windows updates come and go throughout the beta Insider builds, one that many were anticipating to-a Smart Updater feature that will hopefully cut back on awkwardly timed Windows 10 updates-is now in doubt.

Microsoft representatives said Wednesday that they “nothing to share” regarding the feature, which Microsoft first introduced in Build 17723, in late July. Then, Microsoft promised the feature would cut back the trauma caused by spontaneous reboots during Windows Update process-especially during times when a user was actively working on laptop computer.

“We heard you, and to alleviate this pain, for those who have an update pending we’ve updated our reboot logic to utilize a new system that is more adaptive and proactive,” Microsoft said within heading titled “Improving your update experience.” “We trained a predictive model that can accurately predict once the right time to restart the device is.”

Search YouTube for something similar to “Windows Update rage,” and you can obtain a sense for that frustration that unexpected Windows updates can cause: interrupting Twitch gaming streams, TV weather forecasts, and more. Area of the reason behind the unhappy surprises might be that users haven’t properly configured their Active Hours or told Windows how to send them notifications when an update is pending. Nevertheless, the pain sensation surrounding Windows updates is real, and videos documenting it certainly don’t contribute any goodwill toward Windows. It’s natural, then, that Microsoft works on smoothing the upgrade process.

PCWorld is incorporated in the process of dealing with, identifying, and testing the major features of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update now. The majority are what we’d call “conveniences,” general improvements to Windows that you should encounter every day, instead of new features you’ll need to choose to enable or launch.

Because everyone encounters Windows updates, i was wanting to confirm the existence of the Smart Updater, which-if it worked as advertised-we would consider a small but key update to Windows 10. Finding no reference to a good Updater feature or Update AI or anything like that in the Settings menu, however, we reached out to Microsoft. That’s when Microsoft provided its “nothing to share” statement.

At this point, it’s unclear whether Smart Updater is, actually, gone. Another key feature, Sets, has been delayed for at least two versions of Windows-but Microsoft has been clear that it’s spending time to improve the feature. We haven’t heard any similar messaging out of Redmond about getting this Smart Updater feature right. Unfortunately, though, “we do not have anything to share” often means that a clients are attempting to sweep the issue under the rug.

What this means: In case it isn’t clear, we’re highly in support of obtaining a Smart Updater feature to enhance the overall update experience. The only downside, as Microsoft may see it, is it might ship-but not work as advertised. From our perspective, there are several possible solutions: completely eliminate business hours as potential upgrade times; look at the user’s historical usage patterns, and eliminate those times; or splash a big message on the lock screen that the upgrade is imminent. We’re still looking to see an improved Update feature, though. Fingers crossed on this one.

Using Windows 10’s File History backup feature

Windows 10‘s File History is a straightforward way to get began with backing up your personal files since it comes built-in for your system.

File History takes snapshots of the files along the way and stores them on an hard drive either connected over USB or perhaps your home network. With time, File History accumulates a library of past versions of your documents that you can recover if need be. Say, for instance, you actually liked a paragraph in the first draft of an essay, but you deleted it long ago and therefore are now battling regret. You are able to use File History, retrieve the best version of your document, and copy the paragraph.

Windows 10’s File History is a valuable part of any PC backup strategy, but it’s just one part. Ideally, you’d have your files in three places: the working copy on your internal hard disk, a local backup that you could access immediately, along with a remote backup that keeps your files safe offsite. This way, if anything ever happens to your house like a fire, flood, or tornado, the 3rd copy is still safely hidden in the remote location.

The simplest way to deal with the remote backup is to use a web-based backup service. We’ve had a separate article focused on reviews and purchasing advice for online backup. While you’re at it, take a look at our consider the best external drives for backup, storage, and portability to get a quality drive for your local File History backups.

To get going with File History within the latest version of Windows 10, open the Settings app and visit Update & Security > Backup.

Once you’re there, hook up your hard drive to Windows after which within the Settings app click the “+” alongside Give a drive. You’ll see a prompt to select another drive, pick the one you want, and that’s it. File History has become archiving your data. An on/off slider will appear under a new heading called “Automatically back up my files.”

Automatically, Windows 10’s File History will back up all of the folders inside your User folder, back up your files every hour (as long as the backup drive can be obtained), and past copies of your files forever. To alter those settings click on More options underneath the on/off slider.

The following screen you’re come to is known as Backup options. Right at the very top is definitely an option to begin a manual backup, and below that are drop-down menus to adjust how frequently you’d prefer to run your backup with choices which range from every Ten minutes to daily. In case your backup drive is have less space, you are able to avoid having File History bug you by clicking on the drop-down menu under Keep my backups and choose Until space is needed.

To add a folder to your backup, click the “+” under Support these folders. To get rid of a folder, scroll right down to think it is, click on it to focus on, after which click Remove.

Towards the bottom of the screen (not pictured) you can also create a list of folders to specifically exclude, or stop backing up to the currently selected drive and choose another one-you are only able to get one designated backup drive at any given time.

Once File History is enabled, there’s an opportune trick to access older versions of a file: Right-click on the file in File Explorer, after which select Restore previous versions. This is the just like right-clicking the file and going towards the Properties > Previous Versions window.

Windows 10 is filled with nifty little features such as this. For more tips, take a look at our list of the very best tricks, tips and tweaks for Windows 10.

Windows Sandbox: How to use Microsoft’s simple virtual Windows PC to secure your digital life

Microsoft may be positioning its upcoming, easy-peasy Windows Sandbox inside the Windows 10 May 2019 Update like a safe zone for testing untrusted applications, but it’s a lot more than that. Windows Sandbox, and sandboxing PC apps generally, provide you with a solution for trying a “utility” that may be malware, or perhaps a website that you’re not sure about. You could leave those very damaging elements alone, however with Sandbox, you may be a little more adventurous.

Windows Sandbox results in a secure “Windows within Windows” virtual machine environment entirely from scratch, and walls them back from your “real” PC. You are able to open a browser and surf securely, download apps, even visit websites that you probably shouldn’t. Sandbox includes a distinctive convenience: you are able to copy files in and out of the virtual PC, bringing them from quarantine if you’re absolutely sure they’re safe.

Anytime, you are able to close Windows Sandbox, and when you do, anything left there’s totally obliterated. If that dodgy website rains malware recorded on your Sandbox, all it takes is a single click to seal it down, without injury to your actual Windows installation. Next time you launch a brand new version of Sandbox, it will launch a pristine form of Windows 10 to begin anew.

You won’t have to buy a second copy of Windows to use the feature either-though you’ll need Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise. The Home version doesn’t support it. And at this time, Windows Sandbox is a preview feature that’s restricted to Windows Insiders only. It was introduced in build 18305, however it should be area of the Windows 10 “19H1” release due at the end of May.

Here’s all you need to know to start using Windows Sandbox.

Get started with Windows Sandbox

Technically, Windows Sandbox is really a lightweight virtual machine, a tool often used by developers and researchers to check new software within a controlled environment. Virtualization creates an entire virtual computer, complete with operating system, storage, and memory, within your existing Windows PC.

Granted, Windows already offers Hyper-V to attain similar tasks. What makes Sandbox so appealing is that Sandbox is to Hyper-V as Windows 10’s Mail app is to Outlook: a simplified, user-friendly version of a much more complex application.

Past the Windows 10 Pro requirement, Windows Sandbox’s performance impact demands a contemporary, fairly powerful machine with virtualization capabilities. Here are the minimum specifications for that feature:

A 64-bit processor capable of virtualization, with at least two CPU cores; Microsoft recommends a quad-core chip. (Almost all Intel processors sold since 2016 support virtualization, though this Intel guide explains how you can check. Otherwise, the Performance tab within the Task Manager will explain whether virtualization is enabled-credit to Shailesh Jha for that reminder.)
Virtualization enabled inside your motherboard BIOS, if it’s not already
Windows Pro, Enterprise, or Server
At least 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
At least 1GB of free disk space (SSD recommended)

Windows Sandbox is an alternate feature of Windows, also it won’t be installed by default even when it’s available to you. To allow it, you’ll will need to go to the Windows Features user interface, which you’ll find by trying to find Turn Windows features off and on. To enable Sandbox, you’ll have to scroll down and check the proper box. Windows will install the required files and could need to reboot your PC.

Once the installation process is completed, there won’t be any bells or whistles. To allow Sandbox, you can just type Windows Sandbox in to the Windows search box. It might take a minute or two to load, if perhaps because Windows must establish the virtual machine. Microsoft has said previously that it will “freeze” the state of the virtual machine, archive it, and produce it up when you launch Windows Sandbox again-basically, everything should launch faster next time around.

How to use Windows Sandbox

Sandbox looks like a little window on your hard drive. There, there’s another Windows desktop, like what you might see if you installed Windows 10 and decided to make use of a local account.

The Sandbox virtual PC isn’t that can compare with your own. For one thing, none of the personalization options you’ve installed will continue, for example favorites and themes. And that’s good! One of the ideas behind Sandbox isn’t to put your personal information out in to the wild, so don’t be tempted to log in with your personal account. None of the third-party software will appear either. You’ve still got access to File Explorer, but it’s restricted to the Sandbox, with a subset of your PC’s resources available. Note, too, that just one demonstration of Windows Sandbox is allowed at any given time.

You’ll apt to be immediately tempted to keep the windows open Sandbox as a full-screen app. That’s fine, especially as Microsoft has helpfully placed a large, Windows XP-style header towards the top of your window, reminding you that you’re working within Sandbox. Pay attention to it-the thing you don’t want to do is carelessly switch to your “real” PC and open that dodgy website that you meant to launch in Sandbox. Edge browser and File Explorer windows opened within Sandbox won’t identify themselves as the Sandbox versions. You can alter the Windows Settings within Sandbox, if you’d like, and see how it differs from your primary Windows installation.

Because Windows Sandbox isn’t run as a virtual machine, but because an app, there’s much less of a performance hit on your PC as a true virtual machine. (If you’d like to know more concerning the technical underpinnings of Sandbox, check out Microsoft’s support page.) But remember that Sandbox normally takes a slice of your PC’s helpful information on its very own use, together with a portion of the CPU, memory, and disk space. If your PC is already pokey, both it and the Sandbox virtual PC will run much more slowly.

Sandbox’s app status also benefits you if you ever want to communicate with any files you may have downloaded. A Hyper-V virtual machine isolates the file system so that malware can’t escape. Any files you want to copy from a Hyper-V VM requires a Remote Desktop connection or Enhanced Session Mode. Normal people don’t want to cope with any of that! Sandbox simply enables you to cut and paste (or copy) any file on it to your “real” desktop. That’s very handy if the utility you were testing turns out to be useful after all.

I didn’t notice any bugs or crashes related to Sandbox, with one exception. If you’re having problems accessing the Internet from within Windows Sandbox, as I did, you might want to tweak your firewall settings to permit access towards the Sandbox apps, or just adjust your global protection settings.

Windows Sandbox won’t tell you if a dodgy program is secretly sending information to a third-party server, or whether some other pernicious activity takes place without you knowing. (Advanced users could monitor network traffic when they desired, however.) But when that file a “friend” sent you turns out to be ransomware, it won’t inflict harm in Sandbox.

Remember, you are able to close down Windows Sandbox anytime. When you do, you’ll get a message that whatever is stored there is gone for good. The protections Sandbox offers go away should you copy a hazardous file from inside the virtual machine out to your main Windows installation, obviously.

Adapting Windows Sandbox for everyday use

What you may quickly realize, however, is the fact that Sandbox is much more than just a testbed for apps you’re not sure about. It’s additionally a bonus layer of security when you’re poking about the web. We liked Windows 10’s hidden secure browser, Windows Device Application Guard, but it permitted you to download files only to its own secure environment. With Sandbox, you can copy files between Sandbox to your PC.

Both Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome include their very own sandboxing elements to safeguard your PC. But if you really don’t trust a particular site, you could open Edge within your Sandbox (creating a kind of “sandbox inside a Sandbox”) and open that untrusted site. Are you currently a little skeptical that Chrome’s Incognito mode doesn’t track your browsing? Download Chrome within Sandbox, surf away without logging to your Google account, then destroy your whole session by closing Sandbox.

Windows Sandbox doesn’t anonymize your viewing-your Internet provider will still theoretically have a record of what sites you’ve visited, unless you also employ a VPN-but when you destroy the Sandbox, that browsing record totally disappears. And if you download something you’re not sure about, you can always test drive it within Sandbox to assist determine whether it’s actually malicious.

Oddly, Windows Defender doesn’t seem to work within Sandbox, however i downloaded a free third-party antivirus from BitDefender and was able to check individual files for malware.

Once we noted above, Sandbox demands a price when it comes to performance. Running on a first-gen Surface Laptop (having a Core i5-7200U Kaby Lake chip powering it), just three media-rich Edge tabs within Sandbox gobbled up ample resources to keep the entire CPU utilization well above 90 percent. I occasionally saw a little bit of stuttering when moving down a website. With a better quality Surface Pro (2017) and a few code revisions later, Windows Sandbox ran a lot more smoothly.

Don’t believe that you’ll be playing games within Sandbox. But opening an email via Outlook.com? Sure. Downloading things i thought was a Linux distribution over uTorrent? That worked just fine. (Attempting to mount the ISO file within Sandbox, though, did not.)

What lengths you incorporate Sandbox into your everyday routine is up to you. We’ve already seen Sandbox videos demonstrating the results laptop or computer viruses-because when they’ve finished wreaking havoc on the Sandbox virtual machine, the Sandbox can be turn off. (We still wouldn’t recommend this with known dangers, once we can’t say for certain that malware won’t have the ability to get out of the Sandbox virtual machine.) Nevertheless, Sandbox provides the possibility of a lot more than app trials.

Observe that there are more third-party sandbox applications that you can still try: Sandboxie (both free and paid versions); BitBox, designed specifically for browsing; ShadeSandbox, and much more. These have their own pros and cons. What Windows Sandbox offers, though, may be the convenience of a free, secure sandboxing solution built directly into Windows. And soon, everyone with Windows 10 Pro will have it.

Intel Releases Driver for Steel Division 2 Title – Get Version 26.20.100.6912

Intel has released a new DCH graphics package suitable for Microsoft’s Windows 10 64-bit platforms, namely version 26.20.100.6912, which promises to add playability improvements and gratifaction optimizations for Steel Division 2 and The Sinking City titles.

In addition to that, the present release also increases the gaming experience while playing F1 2019, improves Unreal Engine 4 performance, resolves minor graphical anomalies seen in Devil May Cry 5 (DX12), and enhances HDR support.

Besides these changes, Intel adds stability and security improvements, fixes visual artifacts in Microsoft Edge browser when CMAA is enabled, improves support for Universal Windows Platform media apps, and ensure Miracast doesn’t have any compatibility difficulties with 8th Generation Intel Core processors.

However, take into account that build 6912 might still encounter crashes or hangs in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, Rage 2 (Vulkan), World War Z (Vulkan) (1080p Medium and settings), Madden NFL19, and Stormworks: Build and Rescue.

When it comes to compatibility, Intel’s motorist does apply on Microsoft’s Fall Creators (1709), April 2018 (1803), October 2018 (1809), and could 2019 (1903) variants of Windows 10 64-bit, and just around the configurations highlighted within the Release Notes below.

Therefore, save and run the downloadable executable, follow all instructions displayed on the screen, and ensure to restart the pc once the installation is complete. If this task isn’t requested automatically, it might be smart to reboot the unit manually to prevent any issues.

With this in mind, download Intel Graphics Driver 26.20.100.6912 for Windows 10 DCH 64-bit, put it on and relish the changes this new update brings. Also, don’t forget to check on our website as often as possible to stay up to speed using the latest releases.

How to make your own fonts within Windows 10 with Microsoft Font Maker

Microsoft’s Font Maker app seems like something your folks should know about: an enjoyable, quirky, but nonetheless useful method of turning their handwriting into an actual font for invitations and other personalized notes.

Microsoft quietly launched Font Maker in conjunction with the beta releases of Windows 10 it distributes to people in its Windows Insider program. But it’s really just an application that are obtainable in the Windows Store, and you may download and use it even if you have an ordinary form of Windows 10. Creating a font from your handwriting must take about five to ten minutes, tops.

Really the only requirement is a touchscreen PC, preferably a tablet that you could lay flat to ink upon. And yes, you’ll want a stylus, preferably an active one. You can create your own fonts utilizing a mouse, but the letters probably won’t seem like your handwriting, which is truly the point.

A fast bit of setup

Before beginning, take the time and ensure your pen is to establish correctly. Connect it via Bluetooth, whether it isn’t already. Use a passive stylus if you’d like, though an energetic one enables you to easily erase mistakes. (Don’t sweat it, though?asimply creating a new font isn’t grounds to operate out and spend $99 on a Microsoft Surface Pen.)

You may either click on the pen icon around the taskbar or manually enter the Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink menu to tweak your pen’s settings further. Here, I’d recommend telling Windows which hand you write with and ignoring touch input while using the your pen. Windows didn’t perform a congrats of ignoring my palm while creating my font, causing me to bounce from the app on a few occasions.

Otherwise, you’re almost ready. Download the Microsoft Font Maker app in the Windows Store, which weighs about a bit more than 50MB.

Create your first Font Maker font within a few minutes

After first launching Font Maker, you may visit a permissions screen suggesting that you allow Microsoft to anonymously collect your inkstrokes to improve Windows. Whether you choose to do so is up to you; it won’t affect your ability to make use of Font Maker.

Otherwise, you’ll be confronted with a webpage of person character templates, which may hearken back to your kindergarten days. For every character, there’s a “guide” that quickly disappears when you start inking within the box. Other lines will show you in what size to create each character, as well as how you can align each whorl and loop. Note it is really an English-language font guide; I haven’t seen any options for umlauts or even the French cedille, for example.

Don’t take Microsoft’s guidelines as gospel; for instance, if you wish to ink an easy “g” with an “eye and fishhook,” feel free. And when a full-fledged ampersand isn’t your style, don’t feel compelled to use one. It’s probably better if you simply ink each character quickly, to preserve “your” style. Note, however, that light, quick penstrokes may also result in a font that’s too “spindly,” so inking slower and pressing harder may make a little bit of difference. (You may also make your font bold, which adds to the thickness from the ink.)

Unfortunately, neither the Backspace key nor Ctrl-Z appear to try to undo errors or messy inkstrokes, at least within the iteration from the software I attempted. You ought to be able to erase them with a Surface Pen or any other active stylus, however. Make sure you ink all the characters, or Font Maker only will leave them out of your font.

You can save your projects in-progress using the “Save” command, which stores it as a .jfproj project file. And you can’t edit a current TrueType font stored within Windows, you can’t edit your custom font once you’ve finalized it.

How to fine-tune your Font Maker font

On the next page, you’ll see three phrases, that really help Windows ascertain the way your words will be spaced and just how phrases will appear. It doesn’t appear that Microsoft Font Maker is capturing the shapes of the letters you ink, only the spacing, which means you don’t have to be too careful.

Finally, Windows will present a webpage showing your font in action, with a page from Hamlet. This is actually the final opportunity to adjust the size of your font, the space between characters, and the space between words. If you notice a letter that appears from whack, you are able to retreat towards the previous two screens through the tiny backspace or left-pointing arrow in the top-left corner from the screen, though you’ll probably want to re-ink those three test phrases again. Don’t be concerned an excessive amount of about the size of the font, as possible always adjust it in an app like Word.

If you have everything the way you like, click on the Create button to export your font. (Clicking Save creates another project file, that is optional.)

Using your new font within Windows

Ideally, Font Maker would save your valuable new font within the Fonts folder, to ensure that you’d instantly able to utilize it within Word. Unfortunately, Windows doesn’t do this yet. Actually, if you try to save it within the Fonts folder (go to the File Explorer folder icon on your taskbar, then go for this PC > Local Disk > Windows > Fonts) it won’t even appear as an available destination.

There’s an easy fix, however. Save the font in a known location (the Documents folder is the default) then simply open File Explorer, right-click your font, and duplicate it. Find the Fonts folder again, right-click, and paste it. You’ll visit a brief progress bar explaining that your font is being installed. (If you later choose that you’d prefer to delete your font entirely and begin over, you may also right-click your font and select Delete.)

After that, whenever you open Word, WordPad, or any other app that pulls fonts out of your font folder, you should call at your font within the list of fonts, that is alphabetized by name. (One exception, oddly, is the Fonts submenu within Windows Settings, which doesn’t list it.) Like any other font, you’ll be able to adjust the size and color and other attributes, including boldface italics.

Font Maker’s no essential part of Windows; it’s among those odd fusions of creativity and productivity that Microsoft seems enamored with. But the the next time your parents are papering the area with invitations towards the local summer block party, encourage them to try Font Maker. It’s a great way of creating documents uniquely theirs.

Microsoft’s tabbed interface for Windows, known as Sets, appears dead for the time being

Microsoft have put Microsoft Sets, the tabbed redesign of Windows, on hold, though it’s uncertain whether it’s been killed outright.

Rich Turner, a senior product manager at Microsoft responsible for the Windows Console, tweeted on Saturday that “the Shell-provided tab experience isn’t any more, but adding tabs is at the top of our to do list.” Following this story was published, Turner later clarified he was talking about Windows Console, not the Windows Shell team in general.

Turner’s tweet was at reaction to a user’s query why Sets hasn’t been included in the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (also known as Windows 10 version 1903), and whether or not this would seem within the fall update (Windows 10 version 1909) or later. Turner didn’t react to subsequent requests for additional clarification, though Microsoft issued an argument that confirmed Sets is indeed on hold: “We’ve taken Sets offline from [work in progress] to continue to evaluate long term while also having to prioritize other work associated with Microsoft Edge,” the company said, using a company representative.

Microsoft first launched Takes hold 2017 like a simple, though profound reimagining of Windows: less resizable windows, but because browser-like tabs. Initially, the tabbed experienced applied simply to a few basic Windows Shell apps, such as Mail, Calendar, File Explorer, and some others. You could open a new form of Mail in the own separate window, but by dragging it to some Sets window, you can attach it similar to an advantage browser tab.

Sets was seen then as a response to various browsers, including Microsoft Edge, that allowed users to open new instances of the browser either like a tab or perhaps a separate window. The upshot? A pleasant, compact grouping of common tasks, especially useful for single-display laptops.

Microsoft tested Sets across several iterations of Windows, later adding tabbed support for that Office apps. But Sets never made it past the testing stage. The only users who actually experienced it were Windows Insider beta testers, after which only in the early stages of the development cycle. At some stage in each Windows release cycle, Microsoft would announce that it had finished testing Sets, and withdraw it for more testing in a subsequent version.

While it may appear that cycle is completed for good, Turner’s comment implies that Microsoft continues to have tabbed Windows on its to-do list. It’s just not clear exactly what the next steps are. Will a tabbed interface appear within Windows 10? Will it be an optional interface within another operating system, for example Windows Server? Or will Microsoft hold it back as a feature of a new OS experience, like the way forward for Microsoft’s Surface Hub? Time will tell, apparently.

What this signifies to you: Nothing, for now. Windows continues because it is, having a tabbed experience remaining confined to browsers and a windowed experience everywhere else. Personally, I had mixed feelings on Sets. Grouping numerous windows into a tabbed experience made for a cleaner desktop environment, but I couldn’t actually see that which was on those windows. Anyway, you could reason that we already have a tabbed interface within Windows-look down, it’s called the Taskbar. I favor snapping Windows towards the corners of my screen, and taking advantage of those to obtain a broad perspective on which I’m working on. The exception, ironically enough, is File Manager-I usually have to copy files from folder to folder, and it’d be handy to possess a couple of tabbed versions from the app available.

Windows 10 preview build 18282 finally supports smarter Windows Updates, new light theme

The headline feature of Windows 10 Insider build 18282 is probably the “light theme” for the Windows desktop. But the best addition may be the new, Intelligent Active Hours designed to present unwanted interruptions from Windows updates.

The preview build, prior to the next big update to Windows 10 due early next year (code-named 19H1), doesn’t boast any truly new features. Rather, these enhancements to existing features are conveniences you may try if you choose. These are:

The “light theme”

You’re probably aware of the present Windows “dark theme,” which utilizes darker colors and accents to soften the vast expanses of white within Explorer, Edge, and so on. And also you probably thought that the present light theme was an alternative choice to that. Well, less, apparently.

The new optional “light theme” ensures that even accent colors along with other UI elements are shaded light, so there’s a greater among the 2 themes, like so:

If you do curently have a light theme enabled, Microsoft won’t shift your computer over to the new light (lighter?) theme. (Remember, shifting between any themes might be done within Settings > Personalization > Colors.) Instead, your PC will exist in a “Custom” state. After that you can manually decide which mode you want. There’s additionally a new “Windows Light” wallpaper under Settings > Personalization > Themes.

Windows Update gets smarter, easier

Microsoft promised that Windows Update would become more intelligent within the April 2018 Update, then mumbled and kicked the ground when asked where it was. Microsoft has debuted what it really calls “Intelligent Active Hours” in build 18282, which is designed to automatically adjust Active Hours according to what you do.

Active Hours, if you don’t know, is the time whenever you don’t want Microsoft to kick off a Windows update, i.e., when you’re actively using your PC. You will need to enable this setting manually, though, via Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Change active hours.

Here’s another bonus: Microsoft is bringing the “Pause updates” option in the forefront, to make it easier to place updates on hold. Microsoft said you will see a default number of days where one can pause updates, but you’ll be able to configure it in the “Advanced Options” page. (Historically, this option continues to be available simply to Windows 10 Pro users, though-check out our tutorial for more. )

Snip & Sketch gains a window snip

Personally, Snip & Sketch appears like Microsoft reinventing the wheel once more, doing away with the perfectly functional Snipping Tool to add another utility that does largely exactly the same thing, albeit with inking capabilities. Microsoft’s been busy bringing Skip & Sketch look out onto par using the Snipping Tool-it recently added a delay feature, and this new build now allows you to pick a window automatically.

The print dialogue continues to be polished up

Printing under the new build hasn’t improved the situation dramatically much, but Microsoft has added some icons and explanatory text to show you featuring does what.

Display brightness will stay more consistent

Among the oddities about Windows is the fact that sometimes the brightness will change when you switch between AC power and your laptop’s battery. With 19H1, that won’t happen-your screen brightness will remain exactly the same whatever mode you’re in. The only real exception will be the battery saver mode, where your screen may dim if you’ve configured it to lessen the brightness to save battery.

Microsoft has added additional improvements: Narrator will end up more verbose, to supply more information to those users who have problems reading the screen; and also the OneDrive flyout has also received a dark mode, too. As we go to the holiday season, this is also time within the Windows development cycle where Microsoft begins adding more features to Windows-stay tuned for more.

How to use Windows 10’s Your Phone experience

Microsoft’s Your Phone app bridges the gap between your Windows 10 PC and a smartphone, allowing quick interactions with images shot with your phone’s camera and the capability to send and receive texts right from your computer. Having tried, and abandoned, while using phone as the PC with Continuum, Microsoft apparently settled upon a helper role through the Your Phone app. Eventually, Microsoft hopes that the Phone will evolve into something a great deal larger, so it’s worth looking at.

The concept behind Your Phone is focus: Taking out your phone is an unnecessary distraction within Windows’ world. Microsoft feels a text should be processed in the same way being an email, like a quick interaction that can be dealt with after which put aside.

It also doubles as a gateway of sorts for other Microsoft apps for the phone. You’ll find a sidebar that encourages you to download apps like the Swiftkey keyboard, Microsoft News, and older apps like Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile and Wordament. None of these are necessary to allow Your Phone to function, though.

How you can setup Your Phone

To use Your Phone, you’ll first require the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, which bundles the Your Phone app along with it. Note that Your Phone is actually two apps: the Your Phone app on Windows, and also the Your Phone Companion app for Android. Ensure that your phone and PC are on the same Wi-Fi network, as well as connected via Bluetooth, too.

On Windows, the Your Phone app should be immediately apparent. In beta builds leading up to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, a shortcut towards the Your Phone app appeared in your PC’s desktop, and it seems to appear post-release as well.

The Your Phone Companion for Android can either be downloaded via the link, or enter your phone number in to the Your Phone app. Microsoft will be sending a text for your phone using the download link inside of it.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a Your Phone Companion app for iOS. My colleague Brad Chacos asserted Your Phone reported that Apple’s iOS could only send webpage URLs from the phone to Windows.

Note, too, that the Your Phone Companion app is different from the apparently defunct Phone Companion app that originally launched with Windows 10. But there is a Photos Companion app for iOS, authored by Microsoft, that permits you to send photos from your iPhone to Windows. Yes, this is horribly confusing-which is why we’re focusing only on the Android app.

In fact, the mobile Your Phone Connection app really offers nothing as far as the particular Your Phone functionality is concerned, a minimum of for the moment-it merely establishes your phone as well as your PC are linked, while offering suggestions for additional apps. If the two aren’t connected, ensure that both your phone and PC are on the same Wi-Fi network, in addition to connected via Bluetooth. I’ve found that whenever your Phone isn’t syncing properly, Bluetooth’s usually the culprit. The app could be awfully finicky, however.

Using Your Phone

On Windows, the Your Phone app performs two very simple functions: It possesses a repository for the phone’s texts, known as Messages, as well as photos. Messages could be written and taken care of immediately using your PC’s keyboard. Should you recently snapped a photograph, Your Phone is made to allow that photo to become accessible immediately to work with or edit when you return to your computer.

Using Your Phone to send texts is simple: Simply pick a contact and either author or answer a text to that person. There’s a small hitch, though: While Your Phone appeared to pull contacts from my Android phone, it didn’t understand how Google distinguished an SMS-capable mobile phone from a landline. In other words, if you wish to produce a new text message, you’ll need to double-check if you’re actually texting the correct number.

Unfortunately, texting through the Your Phone app is texting: pictures and GIFs aren’t transferred, and you’ll be asked to view the content in your phone if you receive something that the app can’t parse. Rich Communication Services (aka joyn) isn’t supported, either. Maybe that’s why Messages is officially listed within the app to be in preview?

The Photos element of Your Phone is easy, although I ran into several bugs in my time utilizing it. To begin with, syncing can still be problematic, even with the phone connected via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and remaining in an unlocked mode. (Microsoft hasn’t asserted all three conditions should be in position for Photos to operate, though I did so to be able to test it.) Do something wrong, as well as your Phone may think that the two aren’t connected.

Photos places a grid of screenshots and photos taken together with your phone inside the Your Phone app, up to and including total of 25. You can right-click each photo and duplicate and save it (at full resolution) elsewhere for your hard disk. Double-clicking it opens the Photos app, where one can share it, combine it with a creation, edit it, or more.

One quirk here is that because the photo is on your phone, not your hard drive, you’ll need to save a duplicate from the photo locally or on the backup drive if you perform any edits upon it. The fact that photos aren’t stored locally also prevents you from purposefully or accidentally deleting a picture in the Photos facet of Your Phone, as that option is grayed out. (You are able to open the Windows 10 Photos app to delete the photo, if you want.) You also can’t mark a photograph like a favorite within the Your Phone app.

Unfortunately, that means that you are able to end up getting multiple instances of the Photos app open on your PC-some showing read-only files that you simply can’t do anything with, while some are editable. It’s a little awkward.

The future of Your Phone

A good free alternative to Your Phone is the Dell Mobile Connect app. Once restricted to specific Dell PCs, it’s now available for any Windows PC and Android phone. Like Microsoft’s Your Phone app, Dell’s Mobile Connect theoretically enables you to place calls from your PC in addition to send texts; however, it doesn’t permit you to view photos much like your Phone does.

The big bonus feature that Dell Mobile Connect offers is being able to establish a remote link with your phone, to be able to interact with your phone’s mobile apps, from your wallet. Dell Mobile Connect mirrors the screen, so you can try everything you could do this on your phone, albeit after some lag.

Microsoft said onstage in the Surface Pro 6/Surface Laptop 2 launch it hopes to do the same with Your Phone between the future. It would probably be equally nice to for the Phone to include phone call support in addition to remote mirroring, so the app could achieve Microsoft’s dream of allowing to leave your phone in your pocket.