Windows Archive

Windows 11’s redesigned File Explorer leaks online, here’s our closer look

At Build 2023 developer conference, Microsoft finally teased the all-new modern File Explorer refresh. It’s unclear when the update is coming out, but we have accessed an early and unreleased version of the new File Explorer that mirrors what was teased at the conference. This definitely looks like a marked improvement over the aging current File Explorer, which isn’t very hard to do. It should ship somewhere later this year.

Windows 11’s Get Help support app is showing ads as well now

Windows 11 users who open the official Get Help support application of the operating system may be greeted with an advertisement for Microsoft’s Teams application now. The ad is not the first for Microsoft Teams in Windows 11. Back in late 2021, a Microsoft Teams advertisement was causing freezes on Windows 11 systems it was displayed on. Another day, another ad. Fun times to be a Windows user.

Windows 11 to get more archive format support

There’s more coming to Windows 11 at some point during this year, and three of them are of particular interest to the type of people who read OSNews. First, Windows is finally getting support for more archive file formats. Microsoft has finally added native support for more archive formats, allowing you to open tar, 7-zip, rar, gz, and other files. In addition, Windows 11 users will benefit from improved compression performance when zipping files. You’ll soon also be able to force quit applications straight from the taskbar, instead of having to open Task Manager, and as we noted not too long ago, ungrouped taskbar buttons are also making a comeback – among other things.

Built-in ChatGPT-driven Copilot comes to Windows 11 starting in June

Ars Technica: A couple of months ago, Microsoft added generative AI features to Windows 11 in the form of a taskbar-mounted version of the Bing chatbot. Starting this summer, the company will be going even further, adding a new ChatGPT-driven Copilot feature that can be used alongside your other Windows apps. The company announced the change at its Build developer conference alongside another new batch of Windows 11 updates due later this year. Windows Copilot will be available to Windows Insiders starting in June. Like the Microsoft 365 Copilot, Windows Copilot is a separate window that opens up along the right side of your screen and assists with various tasks based on what you ask it to do. A Microsoft demo video shows Copilot changing Windows settings, rearranging windows with Snap Layouts, summarizing and rewriting documents that were dragged into it, and opening apps like Spotify, Adobe Express, and Teams. Copilot is launched with a dedicated button on the taskbar. Windows is getting an upgraded Clippy, one that shares its name with the biggest copyright infringement and open source license violation in history. In fact, some of the Windows Copilot features are built atop the Github Copilot, such as the new “AI” features coming to Windows Terminal. Now you can get other people’s code straight into your terminal, without their permission, and without respecting their licenses. Neat!

Microsoft announces Windows 11 “Moment 3” update

The time has arrived for Windows 11 users to prepare to download the latest feature drop for the operating system. After months of testing in the Windows Insider program, Windows 11 “Moment 3” update is ready for its public release on May 24, 2023. The latest feature update for Windows 11 has no official name (so much for hating silly names, such as “Fall Creators Update“), so enthusiasts call it “Moment 3,” according to the leaked story about Microsoft changing its approach to servicing its operating system. The release is not the biggest one we have seen, but it still packs a few excellent changes and new features. There’s not a whole lot going on with this update, but it’s out now, and you can get it from Windows Update. It’s optional for now, so it won’t be pushed automatically.

Windows XP activation: game over

It’s finally over. In a post last year on the Windows XP subreddit (Windows XP web activation is finally dead…), retroreviewyt shared xp_activate32.exe4, which calculates the Installation ID then generates and optionally applies the corresponding Confirmation ID to activate Windows XP, all offline. Wiping the system and reinstalling Windows XP results in the same Installation ID being assigned by Windows (assuming no change in hardware or product key), thus the same Confirmation ID obtains even in msoobe’s standard telephone activation window. Long considered out of reach, this development bodes well for salvaging old systems even after Microsoft has shut down the activation servers. Incredible team effort spanning several decades. That being said, it’s quite sad that we do not live in a world where Microsoft just releases a simple tool to allow anyone to install XP anywhere without the need for activation.

Windows 2000 64-bit for Alpha AXP

Recently, hinted by people on Discord, Neozeed found a Win64 compiler for AXP64 / ALPHA64, that came in as part of Platform SDK from 1999. This was to let Windows developers test compile their programs to make sure they are “64bit ready”, before the hardware was even available. However, as this was a cross-compiler from IA32 to IA64 and AXP32 to AXP64, there was no actual way of running any of the binaries. Until Itanium finally came out, after long delays. Sadly, 64-bit Alpha AXP Windows was never released outside of Redmond. And that would be the end of the story… if not for one reader, who contacted Neozeed after his previous post, and shared a disk image… containing a 64bit version of Windows 2000 for Alpha AXP! The reader got it from a lot of random lot of hard disks bought from an e-waste, years ago, and completely forgot about it until they saw the blog post! And you bet they got it up and running. This find is extraordinary.

Windows 11 is about to start showing more ads, this time in Settings

It’s no secret that Microsoft has been looking to increase advertising for its products within Windows 11, and investigation by Twitter user Albacore into recent Insider builds has found that the Settings Home page will soon start to present adverts for Microsoft 365 products in the near future. A banner asking users who aren’t subscribed to the platform to “Try Microsoft 365” shows at the top of the Home tab in Settings in the screenshot below. How much more can Microsoft abuse its users before they break?

Microsoft leak hints show labels on taskbar and more features coming to Windows 11

Speaking of Windows, here’s something I’m pretty sure many of you will be very happy about: In March, we exclusively confirmed the tech giant’s plan to restore classic taskbar features in the fall as part of the Windows 11 version 23H2 update. One of the features set to return is “never combine” for the taskbar. As the name suggests, this new toggle would let you ungroup icons/apps on the taskbar. Microsoft has finally added the early bits of the functionality to the taskbar with Windows 11 Build 23440, which is available in the Dev Channel. In the update, Microsoft has reintroduced the taskbar show labels feature and the ability to ungroup app icons on the taskbar in Windows 11, addressing user demands for these popular legacy features. I prefer the more dock-style approach to managing and opening applications, but I know a considerable number of you prefer the more traditional taskbar-based approach.

Windows 10 22H2 is the final version of Windows 10

As documented on the Windows 10 Enterprise and Education and Windows 10 Home and Pro lifecycle pages, Windows 10 will reach end of support on October 14, 2025. The current version, 22H2, will be the final version of Windows 10, and all editions will remain in support with monthly security update releases through that date. Existing LTSC releases will continue to receive updates beyond that date based on their specific lifecycles. It’s important for organizations to have adequate time to plan for adopting Windows 11. Today we’re announcing that the next Windows LTSC releases will be available in the second half of 2024. You will move to Windows 11, whether you like it or not.

Deleting system32\curl.exe

I just want to emphasize that if you install and run Windows, your friendly provider is Microsoft. You need to contact Microsoft for support and help with Windows related issues. The curl.exe you have in System32 is only provided indirectly by the curl project and we cannot fix this problem for you. We in fact fixed the problem in the source code already back in December 2022. If you have removed curl.exe or otherwise tampered with your Windows installation, the curl project cannot help you. Both Windows and macOS have along history of shipping horribly outdated, insecure, and unsupported versions of open source software, and it seems that hasn’t changed.

Windows on btrfs

Using Quibble, an open source reimplementation of the Windows boot loader, a btrfs driver for Windows, and guest starring ntfs2btrfs, an in-place conversion tool, you can make Windows boot and run on btrfs, as Lily discovered and detailed. She took it a step further though, and decided to see if you could really redefine “cursed”. I decided to make a new btrfs partition and just copy over all the files and see if that would boot. I was shocked to see that it did and now that I had a clean and uncorrupted filesystem it was time for the incredibly dumb idea I had. There are no directories in the Windows and Linux roots that share the same name so you should be able to boot them both from the same partition without any file conflicts. After a reboot into Linux, installing Arch with pacstrap, and fucking with grub. This kinda just works. The btrfs driver for Windows is incredibly solid so once you get past the bootloader there really isn’t anything weird. It just does its thing. Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should. Good lord.

The weird world of Windows file paths

File system paths on Windows are stranger than you might think. On any Unix-derived system, a path is an admirably simple thing: if it starts with a /, it’s a path. Not so on Windows, which serves up a bewildering variety of schemes for composing a path. When I implemented the path autocompletion feature in Fileside 1.7, I needed to take a closer look at this to make sure I had all bases covered. This blog post shares my findings. You think you know everything about file system paths on Windows? Trust me – you don’t. What on earth.

Microsoft is experimenting with a Steam Deck-friendly “handheld mode” for Windows

But Windows isn’t an ideal operating system for the Steam Deck, at least not out of the box. Its mouse-and-keyboard-oriented user interface isn’t comfortable or convenient to use on a small handheld system like the Steam Deck. Windows 11 makes some allowances for touchscreens, but its buttons and menus can still be hard to tap on such a small screen. The controller doesn’t work outside of Steam, including on Windows’ touchscreen keyboard, and installing drivers and launching games for the first time can be a pain. Microsoft is aware of the problems running Windows on the Steam Deck and other similar handheld Windows PCs, and at least some developers inside the company have spent time thinking of ways to address them. That’s the thrust of a leaked presentation (posted in two parts by Twitter user _h0x0d_) about a new “Handheld Mode” for Windows, developed as part of an internal Microsoft hackathon in September 2022. Windows just isn’t a great operating system choice for these handheld PC gaming devices, and slapping a skin on it is not going to change that. Valve can integrate Linux and Proton with the hardware of the Steam Deck, and fine tune both down to the very source code – and considering Valve’s many contributions to open source, that’s exactly what it’s doing. Meanwhile, if you’re one of those companies making Steam Deck competitors running Windows – you’re shit out of luck. All you can do is add crapware left and right to hide the Windows of it all, but in the end, you just can’t optimise the software for the hardware in the same way Valve can.

Windows 11 KB5025310 changes how the Print Screen key works

If your laptop has a dedicated Print Screen key, you can press it to instantly take a screenshot of the screen and save it to the clipboard. You can paste the screenshot into any app like Paint and do whatever you want to. This has always been the default behaviour of the Print Screen key (PrtSc). KB5025310 is changing the default behaviour for everyone. After installing this or a newer update, your Print Screen key will open the new Snipping Tool. For those unaware, Windows 11’s new Snipping Tool replaces the legacy Snipping Tool and Snip & Sketch app and combines the best features. It’s always strange how even the smallest of changes to Windows can make people upset, so considering the Print Screen key has worked the same way since Windows 95, changing its behaviour is going to make a lot of people unhappy. I honestly think it’s the right move – but if this really upsets you, you can change the behaviour back to the old way. Fun side note: the name of the key comes from the fact that under e.g. MS-DOS, the Print Screen key would literally print the contents of the screen by sending it the default printer port.

Microsoft is slowly rolling out ads in the Windows 11 Start menu

Microsoft’s latest Windows 11 update, released Tuesday, offers a few small bug and compatibility fixes as well as a lighter taskbar. Oh, and there’s one small, tiny extra detail. A “small” number of Windows 11 users will now see “notifications” encouraging them to use other Microsoft products when clicking on the Windows Start Menu. Many Windows users are already decrying the change as just another way Microsoft is trying to shove more native ads into its operating system. Asinine.

The day Windows died

So, there is basically little you can do with Windows out of the box but buy subscriptions and log into pre-installed social media apps. One thing I knew right on the spot: That’s not an environment I want my kid to make his first steps “on a real computer.” Not in a hundred years. Never. Some people recommended tools to me which can be used to switch most of those things off. But honestly: How do you trust a system (or its manufacturer) if you can’t even know if those settings, which you deliberately chose, persist? What if I remove app x for a reason, and it suddenly pops up again after the next Windows update? Or the news section in the search menu? No way. I can no longer see a good use case for it, at least not in my home. Windows 11 is a dystopian experience.

Microsoft plans major platform upgrades for “Windows 12” that will modernize the OS with AI, faster updates, and better security

The project is codenamed CorePC and is designed to be a modular and customizable variant of Windows for Microsoft to leverage different form factors with. Not all Windows PCs need the full breadth of legacy Win32 app support, and CorePC will allow Microsoft to configure “editions” of Windows with varying levels of feature and app compatibility. The big change with CorePC versus the current shipping version of Windows is that CorePC is state separated, just like Windows Core OS. State separation enables faster updates and a more secure platform via read-only partitions that are inaccessible to the user and third-party apps, just like on iPadOS or Android. That’s definitely pretty cool and if they can pull it off, it will greatly improve the Windows update experience. That being said, Microsoft’s track record at modernising Windows hasn’t been exactly littered with success, and it often comes with major hiccups, problems, and upset users (Vista, Windows 8, Windows on ARM). I would love for them to succeed with this one, because in the end, it would benefit a lot of users.

Windows needs to stop showing tabloid news

Did you know that pigs eat humans “far more often than people expect?” If not, surely you must have heard the important, breaking news that a priest “died” in 2016, went to Hell briefly and returned to inform the rest of us that demons like to play Rhianna’s Umbrella song over and over again. If you aren’t aware of these important news stories then maybe you haven’t been spending enough time using Windows’ search box and widgets section, which at least for me, are filled to the brim with tabloid trash headlines. The stories come courtesy of Microsoft’s MSN content network, which syndicates content from hundreds of web publishers: some reputable, some less so. Full disclosure: Our parent company, Future Plc, has a syndication agreement with MSN and many of its sites, including Tom’s Hardware, occasionally have articles appear on the network. What’s problematic here, though, is not that MSN syndicates content but that it often pushes the equivalent of the Weekly World News table of contents right into the Windows operating system where it can be hard to avoid. Actions have consequences. If you choose to use Windows, you choose to get fed garbage all over your operating system in the form of ads and tabloid news.