Microsoft Edge’s InPrivate browsing may not be very private

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When Microsoft’s Edge browser arrived last summer alongside Windows 10, it was hailed as a massive improvement over the much-derided Internet Explorer that it was replacing. But the lack of cross-platform and extension support has meant that most people who try Edge don’t stick with it. Now, it looks as if another reason to avoid the browser has been discovered: its private browsing feature may not be very private at all.

According to an investigation by security researcher Ashish Singh, instead of wiping browsing data as soon as the InPrivate-enabled window is closed, the information is stored in the browser’s WebCache file. Any sites that the user visited while in private mode can be found in the same “Container_n” table that stores tab history from conventional browsing, the investigation found.

“Plenty of artifacts are maintained by the browser, which makes examination quite easy. However, there are stages where evidence is not so easy to find. The not-so-private browsing featured by Edge makes its very purpose seem to fail,” Singh wrote inForensic Focus.

Singh’s discovery dates back to October 2015, but Microsoft has only just confirmed that it’s aware of the issue. “We recently became aware of a report that claims InPrivate tabs are not working as designed,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge, “and we are committed to resolving this as quickly as possible.”

This isn’t the first instance where a browser’s private mode hasn’t kept a user’s web searches very secret. Earlier this month, it was reported that Chrome’s Incognito mode can stop working properly if used with a Nvidia GPU on a Mac. The graphics card maker responded by saying that the issue is related to memory management in the Apple OS, not Nvidia graphics drivers.

Quantum Break on PC requires Windows 10, DirectX 12

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Previously an Xbox One exclusive, the hotly anticipated Quantum Break will also be coming to PC, with both versions set to be released on April 5th. As a nice bonus for people with both systems, Microsoft revealed that anyone who pre-orders the Xbox One version will get the Windows 10 version for free.

Quantum Break, which was announced alongside the Xbox One nearly three years ago, is a third-person action-adventure shooter from Remedy Entertainment and Microsoft Studios, who previously worked on Alan Wake. In the game, players take control of Jack Joyce, who has time manipulation powers that can be used (along with guns) to defeat enemies.

The game has been developed using a new engine called Northlight, which uses DirectX 12’s new capabilities. As such, DirectX 12 is a requirement to play the game on PC, which makes it only compatible with Windows 10; gamers still using Windows 7 will not be able to run the title.

Remedy has revealed the system requirements for Quantum Break, and it’s going to take a fairly beefy system to run the game at its maximum settings.

Recommended Minimum
CPU Intel Core i7 4790 4.0 GHz
AMD “equivalent”
Intel Core i5-4460 2.7 GHz
AMD FX-6300
AMD Radeon R9 Fury X
6 GB of VRAM
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
AMD Radeon R7 260X
2 GB of VRAM
RAM 16 GB 8 GB
OS Windows 10 64-bit. Requires DirectX 12 support.
Storage 55 GB

Quantum Break is a single-player game, so you’ll be able to share saves between the Xbox One and Windows 10 versions, but there is no cross-play support.

Windows 10 overtakes XP and 8.1 to become second most-used OS in the world, but still way behind 7

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When Windows 10 was released on July 29 last year, it was hailed as the best operating system to come from Microsoft in a long time. Now, six months after its release, the latest iteration of Windows has finally passed 10 percent market share, moving it ahead of both Windows XP and Windows 8.1 to become the second most-used operating system in the world.

The figures, from NetMarketShare, show that Windows 10 now has a global market share of 11.85 percent, up from 9.96 percent in December. This put it ahead of fourth place Windows 8.1, which stayed at 10.4 percent, and third-position Windows XP, which actually saw its share increase by half a point in the last month to 11.4 percent.

Microsoft revealed last month that Windows 10 is the fastest growing version of its operating system ever. It was installed on 75 million PCs in its first four weeks, reaching 110 million after just 10 weeks. In December, Windows 10 was found on over 200 million active devices, moving ever closer to Microsoft’s grand plan of having the OS installed on 1 billion devices “in two or three years.”

Those who are continuing to use Windows 7 and 8.1 still have six months left to upgrade to Windows 10. And with Microsoft’s recent announcement that all new processors will only be compatible with its latest OS, it looks as if the operating system’s popularity will continue to increase.

Despite the positive figures, the latest version of Windows still has some way to go before it knocks Windows 7 off the number one position. The seven-year-old OS is still used on 52.47 percent of the world’s computers, but it’s market share is declining fast – down from 55.65 percent in December. Just before Windows 10 was released, Windows 7 held a massive 60 percent market share.

Microsoft has now made Windows 10 a ‘recommended update’ rather than an optional one

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Microsoft is continuing its quest to get Windows 10 installed on every PC on the planet. After it revealed last month that all new processors will only be compatible with the company’s latest operating system, it’s now been announced that Windows 10 has become a ‘Recommended update’ in the Windows Update application, rather than an optional one.

Microsoft did say back in October that it would change the Windows 10 listing so it would become a recommended update in “early 2016.”

“As we shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. We updated the upgrade experience today to help our customers, who previously reserved their upgrade, schedule a time for their upgrade to take place,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.

The change means that anyone using Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 that has automatic updates activated with recommended updates automatically selected will have Windows 10 downloaded without requesting it.

Microsoft has stressed that users will have a say on whether or not they want Windows 10 installed; it isn’t a mandatory update and users will be able to stop the install process. There will also be a 30 day period where users can roll back to the previous version of Windows.

Microsoft aims to have Windows 10 installed on 1 billion devices over the next two or three years, and the company is doing everything it can to increase uptake. The OSrecently passed Windows 8.1 and Windows XP to become the second most-used operating system in the world.

While the newest iteration of Windows has been generally well-received by most users (barring some privacy issues), there are those who say Microsoft’s tactics at getting people to install Windows 10 sometimes verge on the excessive.

Microsoft introduces more Windows 10 lock screen ads, but removing them is easy

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Microsoft may have allowed users of its popular operating systems to upgrade to Windows 10 for free last year, but the company hasn’t hidden the fact that it will use various methods to monetize the platform. In April 2015, the Redmond firm revealedthat one way it would do this is by placing ads on the Windows lock screen, and now it has made good on this promise, as several users have reported seeing Rise of the Tomb Raider ads appearing on their devices.

The full-screen advertisements ask users to “Discover the legend within,” by purchasing the second game in the rebooted Lara Croft series from Microsoft’s Windows Store. The ads were initially reported by How-To Geek’s Chris Stobing, as well as several Reddit users.

Luckily, disabling the ads is very simple. Simply go to Settings > Personalization > Lock Screen and uncheck the box that reads:“Get fun facts, tips, tricks and more on your lock screen.” Note that this is the way to avoid ads if you have ‘Picture’ or ‘Slideshow’ selected for the ‘Background’ setting. Anyone using the Windows Spotlight feature, which shows images from Bing and certain running Windows apps, will see the advertisements.

This isn’t the first instance of Windows offering up these ads; last month, several userscomplained that they found a promotion for the Minions movie had appeared on their lock screens, which also included a link to the Windows Store for anyone wishing to buy the animated box-office hit.

While lock screen ads may be an annoyance to many people, at least Microsoft has made receiving them optional. Hopefully, the company won’t ramp up this method of monetizing Windows 10 by pushing out more invasive ads and make opting out more difficult – or even impossible.

Huawei takes on Surface, iPad Pro with 2-in-1 MateBook running Windows 10

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Huawei at Mobile World Congress pulled back the sheet on its first-ever 2-in-1 running Windows 10. The Huawei MateBook is an incredibly thin 2-in-1 that aims to take on devices like the Surface and the iPad Pro in the productivity category.

The MateBook features a 12-inch IPS LCD display operating at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,400 that’s powered by an Intel Core M processor of your choosing. It measures just 6.9mm thick – rivaling the thinness of today’s flagship smartphones – and tips the scales at only 640 grams.

The keyboard folio is backlit with 1.5mm of key travel. Rather than Bluetooth, the keyboard interfaces with the tablet via a proprietary connector on the side of the tablet. Speaking of, that’s where you’ll also find the device’s fingerprint reader, tucked neatly between the volume rocker buttons. Ars Technica found the trackpad to be surprisingly large and responsive while the two angles of tilt (54 and 67 degrees) were described as sensible choices.

There’s also the optional MatePen, a stylus that offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity with an elastomer tip should you have the need for it.

Its all-metal unibody design certainly looks the part of a premium device with smooth, rounded edges and chamfered buttons. Huawei says its 33.7Wh battery is good for around 10 hours of standard use.

The Huawei MateBook starts at $699 which includes an Intel Core M3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of local storage. On the upper end, you can expect to pay $1,599 for a Core M7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Note that accessories like the keyboard folio and stylus are extra ($129 and $59, respectively). Look for it to go on sale in the US “in the coming months.”

How to fix Windows 10-related WiFi problems

Windows 10 is still a relatively new operating system, and you are likely to encounter a few issues after you install it, even if you use themain version and not the Insider Preview build. For instance, I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about WiFi-related problems. Since I have also been placed in a situation like this, I thought I would lend a hand and show you a few tricks that might fix your connectivity issues. In most cases, the WiFi problems are caused by outdated drivers or old devices. I’m not sure if your remember, but I’ve already talked about the old devices problem in the previous article called “Is upgrading to Windows 10 worthwhile from your perspective?” and showed you how to solve it in “How to solve Windows 10 compatibility issues”.

So, here is a list of possible WiFi problems I will teach how to deal with. Most of these should occur immediately after upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7, 8 or 8.1, while others might simply happen after the Windows 10 update or caused by a random incident:

  1. WiFi card not present altogether.
  2. Unable to find a wireless network that your other devices (phones, tablets other laptops) can detect.
  3. Unable to connect to a hotspot even though the password is correct or encounter the limited connectivity.
  4. Frequent WiFi disconnects.

Simple solutions – try these first

Whenever there’s a serious problem with your WiFi, the first thing that you should check is haven’t you somehow shut off the adapter by mistake. Check whether your laptop has a button that does that, or if you haven’t accidentally pressed a key combination that triggers the action. This key combination isn’t the same for all devices (in my case it’s Fn + F11), but you should check your laptop’s manual and if that’s not an option try the CenturyLink website or simply google your laptop’s name along with the “wireless key combination” query (or something like that).

Now, verify if the network adapter is functioning properly. To do this, go to the Control Panel (right-click yourStart Menu button to find it), click on Hardware and Sound and then press the Device Manager button. In the new window that opens up go to the Network Adapters section and make sure that there are no yellow signs with an exclamation mark on them and that the names written there actually correspond to the hardware you have. If one of these two conditions isn’t met, go to the manufacturer’s website and download the most recent driver for the wireless adapter. Even if things appear normal, there have been cases when uninstalling the current driver, then restarting your PC and installing the latest driver from the manufacturer’s websites has solved the problem.

Another fairly common trigger for Windows 10 connectivity issues are quite old VPN clients. Microsoft’s staff actually stated this on the company’s help pages, so if you’re using the Cisco VPN client, Sonic Global client or another similarly old one, try uninstalling the software and see if the problem is fixed. From what I’ve heard, there are also a number of USB Ethernet adapters that don’t work well with the latest Windows version, but I don’t have a full list with the ones that cause issues. However, you can easily google the name of your USB wireless adapter and check whether it’s a general problem or only some people have it.

Advanced solutions

If you’re absolutely certain that the previous fixes don’t work and that your drivers are correctly installed, here are a few more advanced tricks that can get the job done. However, I would ask you to carefully read and follow my instructions, as we are going to modify some registries and some general Windows settings and, if you change the wrong thing, it can cause enough problems to force you to reinstall the operating system.

Since we’re talking about WiFi-related issues, I’m assuming that most of you use laptops, so this solution is just for you (do not try for a desktop PC). Go to Control Panel –> Hardware and Sound –> Device Manager, open the Network Adapters section, then right-click the wireless adapter and select Properties. In the new window that opens up go to the Power Management tab and uncheck the box marked “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power“. If you’re still having issues, continue reading.

All the next fixes require the Command Prompt console with Administrator privileges, so right-click the Start Menu and press the Command Prompt (Admin) button.

  • In the CMD Admin window type the following command: reg delete HKCR\CLSID\{988248f3-a1ad-49bf-9170-676cbbc36ba3} /va /f and press Enter. Now, (in the same window) type this line: netcfg -v -u dni_dne and press Enter. (You don’t actually have to type, you can copy paste the commands from here). Restart your PC and check if your problems have been solved.
  • In the CMD Admin window type: netsh int ip reset and restart your PC. Recheck.
  • In the command console enter the following lines: netsh int tcp set heuristics disabled and press Enter. Now type: netsh int tcp set global autotuninglevel=disabled and press Enter. Write: netsh int tcp set global rss=enabled and press Enter. Now examine your settings by typing netsh int tcp show global – everything except one entry should be marked as disabled in the list that will be displayed. Restart your PC and see if the WiFi is now functioning correctly.

If you’ve tried all these solutions, but none of them worked, then you might have a physical problem with your WiFi adapter. Either take your device to a service and have it checked out or buy a USB wireless adapter. If you choose the second variant, you need to find information about the device’s range (most of the cheap ones need to be very close to the router to function in decent conditions) and its capacity (the maximum Mbps possible should be at least 150, but I recommend 300). Just as a warning, unless you go for a high-end solution, the USB wireless adapter will not work as well as the default (inbuilt) counterpart.

How to a create a USB recovery drive for Windows 10

A Windows 10 USB recovery drive is a bootable USB device that gives you access to a number of troubleshooting and recovery tools. If your operating system doesn’t want to boot anymore, or if when it does you see a bunch of errors, having a recovery drive can be very handy, as it will allow you to easily deal with those problems yourself, without having to pay someone else. Unfortunately, realizing that you don’t have a recovery solution after your Windows is no longer functioning properly won’t do you any good. You should make it beforehand, to be prepared in if (or rather, when) Windows 10 starts acting up.

Storage space analysisStorage space analysis

If you’re wondering what you need in order to make a USB recovery drive, the obvious answer is a USB memory stick. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the exact storage capacity that the device should have. According to Microsoft, it’s supposed to be around 3 or 4 GB, but when I did this on my work PC it required 8 GB, and my home computer needed even more than that. At the beginning of the process, the recovery tool will analyze your system and tell you the amount of space required to create recovery drive. You should also know that going through with this will purge any files you have on the USB stick, so make sure that you’ve backed up the data or no longer need it. Lastly, you will need the password to your Windows 10 administrator account, because this tool will need admin privileges.

The first step is to click on the Start Menu button, then simply type “Create a recovery drive” (without quotes). By the time you get to “Create a rec”, you should see a button at the top of the menu (in the Best matchcategory) named Create a recovery drive. Click on it. If you want the longer version, you need to right-click the Start Menu, then go to Control Panel –> System and Security, click on the blue Recovery button from the bottom-right and select the Create a recovery drive option.

Recovery Drive windowRecovery Drive window

Now, a new window will pop-up, telling you about the usefulness of creating a recovery drive. You should notice that there’s small check box in the middle of the window with the text “Backup system files to the recovery drive”. If checked, this option will allow you to use some advanced recovery features and even completely reinstall Windows 10, so I suggest that you enable it. Click the Next button and, as mentioned previously, the recovery tool will analyze your PC, displaying the amount of storage space required for the recovery files. (The system analysis could take a while, so you may need to wait for several minutes)

Once the scan is completed, plug in the USB stick that you want to turn into a recovery drive (make sure that its storage capacity is equal or higher than the one required), then select the drive in question and click Next. There’s one more confirmation screen telling you (once again) that everything on your USB stick will be deleted, and if you’re sure that you want to go through with this, click the Create button. The process will begin, and, depending on your PC’s performance, it can take between 10 and 30 minutes (even more in some cases). After it’s done, click the Finish button, remove the USB stick from your PC and keep it somewhere safe so that you can use it when your Windows 10 stops working properly or no longer boots.

As one last piece of advice: if possible, I recommend using a USB 3.0 port and device both for creating the recovery drive and for the actual recovery process. It’s going to make everything a lot faster, and nobody likes to wait. If you’re interested in more Windows 10 troubleshooting solutions, you might want to take a look at our previous articles: “How to enable Cortana, no matter which country you’re in” or “How to fix Windows 10-related WiFi problems“. Additionally, you could check out these “7 solutions to speed up Windows 10” or find out what are the “Best tweaks and tricks to improve Windows 10’s performance“.