microsoft-logoBy Brett Howse @ AnandTech

Sometimes things happen that are unexpected – just ask Ned Stark. In a far less fictional event, Microsoft has posted an update on their DirectX Blog announcing that they’ve brought a form of DirectX 12 to Windows 7, via official support for the latest DX12 version of World of Warcraft on Windows 7. Where do we even begin?

For some background, Microsoft’s latest DirectX API was created to remove some of the CPU bottlenecks for gaming by allowing for developers to use low-level programming conventions to shift some of the pressure points away from the CPU. This was a response to single-threaded CPU performance plateauing, making complex graphical workloads increasingly CPU-bounded. There’s many advantages to using this API over traditional DX11, especially for threading and draw calls. But, Microsoft made the decision long ago to only support DirectX 12 on Windows 10, with its WDDM 2.0 driver stack.

Today’s announcement is a pretty big surprise on a number of levels. If Microsoft had wanted to back-port DX12 to Windows 7, you would have thought they’d have done it before Windows 7 entered its long-term servicing state. As it is, even free security patches for Windows 7 are set to end on January 14, 2020, which is well under a year away, and the company is actively trying to migrate users to Windows 10 to avoid having a huge swath of machines sitting in an unpatched state. In fact, they are about to add a pop-up notification to Windows 7 to let users know that they are running out of support very soon. So adding a big feature like DX12 now not only risks undermining their own efforts to migrate people away from Windows 7, but also adding a new feature well after Windows 7 entered long-term support. It’s just bizarre.

Read on…

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microsoft-windows10-logoSource: TechPowerUp!

Originally Microsoft shelved the Windows 10 October 2018 feature update after a data-destroying bug among other problems was detected just days after its initial rollout. Now with more than a month has passed they are finally re-releasing the update after having “thoroughly investigated and resolved” the issues, according to Microsoft’s John Cable, director of Program Management for Windows Servicing and Delivery.

The decision to re-release the update was reached after the careful study of diagnostic data from millions of Windows Insiders showed no further evidence of data loss. Currently, the update is only available via media and manual updates, automatic updates will be coming later. This is because Microsoft is taking a slower more methodical approach to their updates. Taking more time for careful study of device health data in order to improve the overall user experience. This new approach will take problems like application incompatibility among other things into account in order to make sure future updates do not automatically install unless known issues have been resolved. This should help reduce the frequency of problems end users encounter.

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microsoft-windows10-logoBy Chris Hoffman @ How-To Geek

Microsoft is ready to release Windows 10’s “April 2018 Update.” It was originally going to be called the “Spring Creators Update” and was codenamed “Redstone 4.” This is Windows 10 version “1803”, and it launches today, April 30, 2018.

You can download the April 2018 Update today, even if Microsoft isn’t providing it to you via Windows Update yet.

Find out what’s new in the Windows 10 “April 2018 Update” at How-To Geek.

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firefox-quantumSource: TechPowerUp!

Mozilla has released the Firefox Quantum web-browser for PCs. Technically version 57.0 of Firefox, Quantum comes with an overhauled user-interface, a more evolved multi-process sandbox than Google Chrome, and is geared for both performance and lower memory footprint. Mozilla claims that web-rendering performance has been doubled over the previous version (Firefox 56.0), making it play in a league above Google Chrome. It’s also designed to have up to 30% smaller memory footprint than Chrome.

Firefox Quantum takes advantage of the very latest CPU instruction sets, and GPU features, to accelerate web-rendering, with a focus on keeping the interface as smooth as possible, without losing out on the quality of rendering. It also adds WebVR and and WASM support in-built, broadening its feature-set for browser-based gaming. Grab Firefox Quantum from the Mozilla Firefox Quantum website.

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firefox-quantumSource: TechPowerUp!

Mozilla is announcing that the latest version of its Firefox browser, Firefox 57, is just too good for just another numbered release. The improvements under the hood are so great, they say, and the performance improvements over previous Firefox releases are so grand, that only one name would have been enough to convey this message. That’s why the latest Firefox release has been christened “Firefox Quantum“.

Mozilla are saying their new Firefox Quantum browser delivers 2x the score in Speedometer as their previous Firefox 56. The new, refined browser didn’t appear overnight, though; it’s seen numerous improvements under the hood through the application of the Goldilocks principle to browser design, straddling an approach between increased performance and acceptable memory usage. Multi-process and optimized memory footprint are part of the secret sauce, but a new, super-charged CSS engine written in Rust goes a long way. Prioritization of the open tab also helps this increased speed, while (Mozilla says) reducing memory utilization by 30% when compared to Chrome.

Read on…

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ccleanerSource: Piriform

We recently determined that older versions of our Piriform CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 had been compromised. We estimate that 2.27 million people used the affected software. We resolved this quickly and believe no harm was done to any of our users. This compromise only affected customers with the 32-bit version of the v5.33.6162 of CCleaner and the v1.07.3191 of CCleaner Cloud. No other Piriform or CCleaner products were affected. We encourage all users of the 32-bit version of CCleaner v5.33.6162 to download v5.34 here: download. We apologize and are taking extra measures to ensure this does not happen again.

Read the full press release HERE.

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microsoft-logoSource: TechPowerUp!

It would seem Microsoft is ever looking for more creative ways of pushing its Windows 10 operating system towards the masses. Some Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have apparently encountered one of these: a lock on system updates. The error message, which reads “Your PC uses a processor that isn’t supported on this version of Windows”, points towards a hardware lock-in in exchange for added security and updates.

A Microsoft Support page sheds some light on this issue: that Windows 10 is the only Microsoft operating system to support particular hardware configurations. Namely, systems based on Intel’s “seventh (7th)-generation processors or a later generation” (Kaby Lake); “AMD seventh (7th)-generation (“Bristol Ridge”) processor or a later generation”; and “Qualcomm “8996″ processor or a later generation”. This move on Windows 7 might make some sense; however, Windows 8.1 is still in its lease of life (and Microsoft support) until at least 2018.

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microsoft-windows10-logoStarting today the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will begin rolling out for our customers around the world*. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is full of new features and innovations that bring Windows Ink and Cortana to life; a faster, more accessible and more power-efficient Microsoft Edge browser; advanced security features; new gaming experiences and more. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will start rolling out to Windows 10 Mobile phones in the coming weeks.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is being rolled out to Windows 10 PCs across the world in phases starting with the newer machines first. You don’t have to do anything to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it will roll out automatically to you through Windows Update if you’ve chosen to have updates installed automatically on your device. However, if you don’t want to wait for the update to roll out to you, you can manually get the update yourself on your personal PC.

How to get Windows 10 Anniversary Update manually:

Go to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update

1. In Windows Update simply click Check for Updates.

2. The Anniversary Update will appear as, Feature update to Windows 10, version 1607. Click update and the update will begin downloading and installing.

Another way to get the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be by clicking “Learn more” just below the “Looking for info on the latest updates? In Windows Update.

I recommend that you disable any third party Anti-Virus and/or Anti-Malware programs before starting the Windows 10 Anniversary Update!

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amazon-lumberyardA Free, Cross-Platform, 3D Game Engine Integrated with Amazon Web Services and Twitch

Amazon Web Services Inc., an company, today announced Amazon Lumberyard, a free, cross-platform, 3D game engine for developers to create the highest-quality games, connect their games to the vast compute and storage of the AWS Cloud, and engage fans on Twitch. Amazon Lumberyard helps developers build beautiful worlds, make realistic characters, and create stunning real-time effects. With Amazon Lumberyard’s visual scripting tool, even non-technical game developers can add cloud-connected features to a game in minutes (such as a community news feed, daily gifts, or server-side combat resolution) through a drag-and-drop graphical user interface.

AWS is also announcing Amazon GameLift, a new service for deploying, operating, and scaling session-based multiplayer games. With Amazon GameLift, Amazon Lumberyard developers can quickly scale high-performance game servers up and down to meet player demand, without any additional engineering effort or upfront costs.

Amazon Lumberyard is free, and available today in beta for developers building PC and console games, with mobile and virtual reality (VR) platforms coming soon. Amazon GameLift has a small per-player fee, plus for both Amazon GameLift and Amazon Lumberyard, developers pay standard AWS fees for AWS services used. To learn more about Amazon Lumberyard, click here. To learn more about Amazon GameLift, click here.

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microsoft-windows10-logoBy Don Miller @

Windows 7 and 8/8.1 users this week will soon notice that the Windows 10 Update will be downloaded through Windows Update and attempt to install on your system. Especially if you have Windows Update set at “Install Updates Automatically”, which is the default setting. If so, after a reboot of you system Windows 10 Update will begin to install.

In Windows Update, under “Optional”, you have to check the box to download an item and install. “Recommended” items, will be downloaded and installed unless you change the default setting of Windows Update.

Now I am not to get into the whys and wherefores here, or if Microsoft is a corporate bully forcing an operating system on you. I just want to point out a couple things you can do to prevent this install from happening on your PC or laptop if you are not yet ready to make the change, or simply do not want to.

First, change the Windows Update setting from “Install Updates Automatically” to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them.” Here is how you get to Windows Update and make the changes manually:

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

  • Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you’re using a mouse, by pointing to the lower-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), then tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, and then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.
  • Tap or click Choose how updates get installed.
  • Under Important updates, select the option that you want.
  • Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box, and then click Apply.

Windows 7

  • To turn on or off Automatic Updates yourself, follow these steps:
  • Click Start, type Windows update in the search box, and then click Windows Update in the Programs list.
  • In the left pane, click Change settings.
  • Select the option that you want.
  • Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates or Include recommended updates when downloading, installing, or notifying me about updates check box, and then click OK.

Here is how the Windows Update Panel looks like in Windows 7:

Now that you have completed that task, I recommend you download and install GWX Control Panel by Josh Mayfield. Not only does GWX Control Panel have settings to remove the annoying “Get Windows 10″ icon from your taskbar, but its also “protects you from unwanted Windows 10 upgrades and notifications without disabling important or popular operating system features, and without requiring you to change the way you work with Windows.”

GWX Control Panel is highly recommended by many windows news and help sites. You can visit Josh Mayfield’s website to view his user guide for GWX Control Panel. I recommend watching the following tutorial videos that Josh has created on how to set up GWX Control Panel. Click on the links below to view…



If you have already downloaded and installed GWX Control Panel, or are going to after watching the above videos, you will notice that Josh has made considerable upgrades to GWX Control Panel since the videos were made. Josh has added many actions within GWX Control Panel, including a button to directly access Windows Update so you can make the setting changes there. Very nice addition to GWX Control Panel!

I have installed GWX Control Panel on my wife’s laptop, which had the “Get Windows 10″ icon in the taskbar. Using GWX Control Panel, I was able to get rid of it. I also performed the recommend setting changes. Since then I have nor has my wife had any issues with the laptops performance. I have also installed GWX Control Panel on my desktop PC. I had no “Get Windows 10″ icon showing in the taskbar. I am assuming that since I have built my own PC, using OEM Windows 7, that may be the reason why. My wife’s desktop that I built is the same way. GWX Control Panel showed that the icon app was not running. On the laptop it showed it was running. Shows me this program is working nicely.

And once you decide to upgrade to Windows 10, you can make the changes in the GWX Control Panel to allow you to upgrade. Remember you have 30 days to try out Windows 10, and if you do not like it, you can revert back to your original system. I have played with Windows 10 on my PC by creating a dual boot setup with a clean install of Windows 10. So far, I have not had a single program that I have installed that hasn’t worked. And I must say, so far I am warming up to Windows 10. It is a vast improvement from Windows 8/8.1. Its functions and interface is more like Windows 7 with a bit of Windows 8/8.1 mixed in. I have not performed the Windows 10 upgrade on my Windows 7 system as of yet, as I wanted to really see if I would like Win 10 or not. So I cannot tell you how it well the update works. Most people I have talked to have said it worked just fine for them. If you do decide to update to Windows 10, make sure you back up all your important documents, photos, video, etc. Also I would recommend that you do not have any other storage drives to your motherboard, or any external drives connected when you perform the upgrade. Also, make sure you turn off any antivirus and anti-malware software too.

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