Category Archives: Windows

‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4′ beta tests begin August 3rd

You don't have too long to wait to see how Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 fares as a multiplayer-only game. Activision and Treyarch have outlined the schedule for beta tests, and it's clear that some gamers will have better access than others. The first…

Surreal adventure game ‘The Gardens Between’ is coming to Switch

Independent developer The Voxel Agents has announced it plans to release abstract puzzle title The Gardens Between for Nintendo Switch in addition to previously disclosed PlayStation 4, PC and Mac platforms. It's expected to arrive sometime in Q3 thi…

Google Chrome prevents sites from launching Spectre-like attacks

If you're using Chrome, you now have fewer reasons to worry about Spectre-style security threats. Google has revealed that Chrome 67 for desktop and the matching Chrome OS release enable a previously experimental Site Isolation feature that reduces…

Windows 10 April 2018 Update now open to all, thanks to machine learning

We already know that the Windows 10 April 2018 Update has been the most rapidly deployed of the major Windows 10 updates. Microsoft today said a little about how this speed was achieved—and made the update fully available to every Windows 10 system, representing the final stage of the rollout process.

The rollout of each major update is performed gradually. Microsoft uses information about successes, failures, and incompatibilities collected from the earliest systems to receive the update to determine whether it should be made more widely available. For this update, there was an extra factor in the mix: machine learning. The company built a machine learning model to identify which system characteristics meant that the update was likely to succeed. With this model, viable candidate systems could be more rapidly identified, in turn enabling the update to be more aggressively pushed to those systems. The result was fewer rolled back installations, fewer crashes, and less negative user feedback.

During the deployment of the update, incompatibilities were detected. As an example, Microsoft says that a version of Avast Behavior Shield caused a reboot issue. The immediate fix was to blacklist systems with the problematic software, meaning that within 24 hours of the problem being detected, at risk machines were no longer being updated. Avast subsequently fixed its software, and with the corrected software in place, the deployment could be resumed.

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It looks like Google is readying the Pixelbook to run Windows 10

Enlarge / The 12.3-inch QHD display has large bezels around it for better grip in tablet mode. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Google’s Pixelbook is some beautiful, well-built hardware, but its use of Chrome OS means that for many people, it will be too limited to be useful. Although Chrome OS is no longer entirely dependent on Web applications—it can also be used to run Android applications, and Linux application support is also in development—the lack of Windows support means that most traditional desktop applications are unusable.

But that may be changing due to indications that Google is adding Windows support to its hardware. Earlier this year, changes made to the Pixelbook’s firmware indicated that Google is working on a mode called AltOS that would allow switching between Chrome OS and an “alternative OS,” in some kind of dual-boot configuration. A couple candidates for that alternative OS are Google’s own Fuchsia and, of course, Windows.

Recent changes suggest that it is indeed Windows that Google is aiming for. The Pixelbook’s firmware is being updated to address issues picked up in Microsoft’s hardware compatibility tests. The modifications make reference to the Windows Hardware Certification Kit (WHCK) and the Windows Hardware Lab Kit (HLK). The HLK is Microsoft’s test framework that validates all manner of driver and firmware behavior to ensure that hardware is compatible with Windows 10. The WHCK is the corresponding set of tests for Windows 8.1.

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BioWare’s ‘Anthem’ arrives February 22nd, 2019

The shared-world shooter Anthem finally has a release date following a delay early in the year. BioWare's Destiny-style game is now slated to arrive February 22nd, 2019 on PS4, PC and Xbox One (February 15th for Origin Access Premier subscribers). Th…

Origin Access Premier service gives you EA’s latest games

Whatever you think of EA's Origin Access, it has an obvious limitation: you're getting the back catalog, not the latest titles. You'll have a better option going forward, though. EA has revealed Origin Access Premier, a new subscription option that w…

Latest Windows preview suggests you’ll be able to turn S Mode on and off

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10′s S Mode, the locked-down mode that permits only applications from the Microsoft Store, started out as a separate edition of Windows 10 that was locked down as soon as it was installed and had a one-time irreversible upgrade to unrestricted Windows 10 Pro.

In Windows 10 version 1803, that changed to an install-time option for both Windows 10 Home and Pro. Again, this offered an irrevocable upgrade to the corresponding unrestricted version after installation.

The latest Windows 10 Insider Preview suggests that S Mode is changing again, and this time it looks like it’s going to be a regular option that can be set at any time. Build 17686 includes a “Switch to S Mode” search item in the Settings app. The actual switch to enable S Mode isn’t present in this build, so we can’t be entirely certain of how it will work, but this is a strong suggestion that it will now be possible to put a machine into S Mode after the initial installation.

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‘Rocket League’s’ next add-on is a ‘Jurassic World’ crossover

The Rocket League team is keeping up its recent habit of releasing add-ons themed around pop culture icons. It's launching a Jurassic World car pack on June 18th that — surprise — includes Jeep Wranglers like the sort you'd see roaming around Isla…

First ‘State of Decay 2′ patch is as large as the game itself

If you have State of Decay 2 but haven't fired it up in a while, you'll have to be… patient. Undead Labs has released its first patch for the zombie-slaying title, and it's a whopping 20GB — that's about as large as the install on the Xbox One….