Windows Archive

Atlas: third party Windows ISO for gaming

Atlas is a Windows version designed for gamers. Atlas users can enjoy higher framerate, lowered input delay & latency. Great for people on a low-end system, or high-end gaming machine. I had no idea people still did this – create custom versions of Windows ISOs and try to pawn them off as something special. The legality of this is more than dubious, of course, and you can probably achieve the same results with some of the countless scripts that are out there that also remove services, telemetry and pointless applications.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux in the Microsoft Store is now generally available on Windows 10 and 11

Today the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in the Microsoft Store is dropping its “Preview” label and becomes generally available with our latest release! We are also making the Store version of WSL the default for new users who run wsl --install and easily upgradeable by running wsl --update for existing users. Using the Store version of WSL allows you to get updates to WSL much faster compared to when it was a Windows component. In response to the WSL community’s requests, WSL in the Store will now also be available on Windows 10 in addition to Windows 11. So, Windows 10 users will also be able to enjoy all of the latest features for WSL including systemd and Linux GUI app support! I obviously have no hard data on this, but I feel like WSL is actually quite popular among developers, as it gives Windows users easy access to a very popular tool chain and development platform. I don’t know just how transferable knowledge and experience gained through WSL is to “real” Linux, but it seems close enough.

Ads in Windows 11 might make sense to Microsoft, but it’s really bad for consumers

Earlier in the week, some Windows 11 Dev Channel users spotted Start menu ads/promos encouraging them to back up their data to OneDrive, sign up for a Microsoft account, and complete their profile. This obviously opened the door to lots of conversations over on social media platforms such as Twitter as well as the comments section on our own coverage as the majority of readers proceeded to bash Microsoft for pushing what they believe to be advertisements in their OS. To be fair, this backlash isn’t surprising. Microsoft has previously been caught red-handed testing advertisements for Microsoft Editor in the File Explorer. At that time, the company quickly removed them, claiming that they were not meant to be published externally. Even then, I expressed concern that while the banner ads were published accidentally this time, the real problem here is that Microsoft is definitely playing around with this idea and there’s no knowing when the tech giant decides that it’s the right time to green light this initiative for the public. It’s not going to matter. People who (think they) need Windows will keep using Windows, keep taking the user-hostile nonsense, because they don’t know any better. Windows users are a goldmine waiting to be split open and rushed, and Microsoft knows it.

“Project Volterra” review: Microsoft’s $600 Arm PC that almost doesn’t suck

It’s undeniably good for the Arm Windows app ecosystem to have a viable, decently specced PC that is usable as an everyday computer. The Dev Kit 2023 is priced to move, so there may be some developers who buy one just for the hell of it, which might have some positive trickle-down effects for the rest of the ecosystem. Because eventually, the Windows-on-Arm project will need to develop some tangible benefit for the people who choose to use it. What you’re getting with an Arm Windows device right now is essentially the worst of both x86 and Arm—compatibility problems without lower power use and heat to offset them and so-so performance to boot. Apple has cracked all three of these things; Windows and Qualcomm are struggling to do any of them. I’m just not entirely sure who Windows on ARM is supposed to be for. I want it to succeed – the more choice the better, and x86 needs an ass-kicking – but I don’t think the current crop of Windows on ARM devices are even remotely worth it. Either Qualcomm finally gets its act together and comes up with an SoC to rival Apple’s M series, or Microsoft takes matters into its own hands. Either way, they’re going to need to do something about the performance of x86 code on Windows on ARM.

Windows 11 gets Task Manager search

We are bringing process filtering to Task Manager. This is the top feature request from our users to filter/search for processes. You can filter either using the binary name, PID or publisher name. The filter algorithm matches the context keyword with all possible matches and displays them on the current page. The filter is also applied as you switch between pages. You can also use the keyboard shortcut ALT + F to focus on the filter box. This is a helpful feature if you want to single out a process or a group of processes and want to take action or just monitor the performance of the filtered processes. I am baffled by how slowly new, actually useful features seem to be added to Windows these days. Weren’t all the changes in development and release cycles supposed to speed up the development of Windows? It feels like it’s a small trickle of minor features here and there, that then get massive press attention because… Well, at least something is happening. But nice, I guess. A feature present on virtually every other platform for decades.

Microsoft is showing ads in the Windows 11 sign-out menu

Microsoft is now promoting some of its products in the sign-out flyout menu that shows up when clicking the user icon in the Windows 11 start menu. This new Windows 11 “feature” was discovered by Windows enthusiast Albacore, who shared several screenshots of advertisement notifications in the Accounts flyout. The screenshots show that Microsoft promotes the OneDrive file hosting service and prods users to create or complete their Microsoft accounts. Apple and Microsoft are actively ruining their operating systems just to squeeze a few more lousy coin out of their trapped users. What dreadful places to work they must be, with bean counters looking over every programmer’s shoulder to find ever more places to stuff in ads.

Windows 11 PowerToy now lets you find out which processes are using the file

Microsoft’s PowerToys for Windows 11 and Windows 10 has been updated with a new feature called ‘File LockSmith’. So what exactly is File Locksmith? In technical terms, it is a Windows shell extension that lets you check which files are in use and by which processes. Up until today, it was not possible to find out which particular process is using the file on Windows. While Task Manager lets you eliminate processes, it cannot tell you what’s using your files or preventing file transfer. In fact, File Explorer will block your attempts to delete a file or folder in use by a process or app. I lost count of how many times Windows would just stubbornly refuse to delete a file or directory because it was in use by some process, while not telling me which damn process we’re dealing with. Isn’t it absolutely bananas that it’s 2022 and you have to download some shell extension to get this basic functionality?

Windows Terminal is now the Default in Windows 11

The day has finally come! Windows Terminal is now the default command line experience on Windows 11 22H2! This means that all command line applications will now automatically open in Windows Terminal. This blog post will go into how this setting is enabled, the journey of Windows Terminal along with its fan-favorite features, as well as give a huge thank you to our contributors who have helped throughout Terminal’s journey. It’s still kind of surreal that after several decades, cmd.exe will now be relegated to the sidelines.

Microsoft accidentally revealed a UI design prototype for the next version of Windows at Ignite 2022

I didn’t expect to be writing about the next version of Windows again so soon, but a handful of viewers watching the Ignite Keynote yesterday noticed an updated version of the Windows UI that was shown in a brief cutaway, which had a floating taskbar along the bottom, system icons in the top right, a floating search box in the top middle, and the weather in the top left. Back when I first began hearing about the Next Valley release, I was also shown preliminary design ideas that were being explored internally. Microsoft is still in the prototyping stages for Next Valley, but my sources tell me that the UI briefly shown off at Ignite yesterday is representative of the design goals that Microsoft is hoping to achieve with the next version of Windows. Microsoft is clearly drawing a lot of inspiration from GNOME and macOS here, and it sure does look nice. However, as with everything Windows, it will most likely just end up as yet another thin veneer atop the countless UI designs from Windows 3.x all the way up to now Windows 11 that you can encounter in Windows to this day. Another layer for this cursed cake.

Microsoft’s early Windows 8 concepts shown in new video

It’s been nearly 10 years since Windows 8 launched to the world as part of Microsoft’s big tablet push. While we’ve seen two heads of Windows since then, former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has shared some early concept images for Windows 8 in a new video. The images show concepts for the Start menu, multiple monitor support, File Explorer, Internet Explorer, and lots more. Windows 8 development began in the spring of 2010, and Microsoft held an all-team event for the Windows org (around 5,000 people) at the Seattle Convention Center. “This video was played as the meeting ended and the team departed the Seattle Convention Center,” explains Sinofsky. “It is a highlight or sizzle reel of the many months we spent planning the release and all of the inputs into the Windows 8 project.” Windows 8 would’ve been a fascinating, innovative, fresh, and incredibly interesting operating system and graphical user interface if it hadn’t been Windows 8. Microsoft should’ve split Windows into something like “Windows” and “Windows Classic” over a decade ago. Let the two sides of the coin shine where they should, instead of trying to cram every single Windows interface from 3.1 onward into a single mess.

Microsoft releases Windows 11 22H2, formally dubbed the “2022 Update”

As predicted, Microsoft is formally releasing Windows 11 version 22H2 to the general public today. Also called the “Windows 11 2022 Update,” version 22H2 is a major update that brings a plethora of fixes and refinements to the operating system, improving the Start menu, jettisoning some more Windows 8-era user interface designs, adding new touchscreen and window management features, and more. We covered many of the new features earlier this year, when the update was still undergoing beta testing. The rollout to Windows Update will be phased, but if you want to get your hands on the update now, you can use the Windows 11 Installation Assistant, because that makes sense.

Windows 11 22H2 “Sun Valley 2” apparently going public on September 20

As it turns out, our guesstimation was probably pretty spot on, as there are now multiple reports alleging that Microsoft is going to be making Windows 11 22H2 (codenamed Sun Valley 2 or SV2) public on the 20th of September. It will be apparently be served via the Windows Update option in the Settings. For those on Windows 11 21H2, which is the original release, it should be a seamless upgrade process as the system requirements haven’t changed. I guess this Windows version gobbledygook means something to someone, but I lost track a long time ago.

The Windows 11 taskbar is getting better for people who open tons of apps

The most interesting addition we’ve seen in a while is rolling out to users on the experimental Dev Channel now: a modified version of the taskbar with much-improved handling of app icon overflow when users have too many apps open at once. Click an ellipsis button on your taskbar, and a new icon overflow menu opens up, allowing you to interact with any of those extra icons the same way you would if they were sitting on the taskbar. This would be a big improvement over the current overflow behavior, which devotes one icon’s worth of space to show the icon for the app you last interacted with, leaving the rest inaccessible. That icon will continue to appear on the taskbar alongside the new ellipsis icon. Microsoft says that app icons in the overflow area will be able to show jump lists and other customizable shortcuts the same as any other app icon in the taskbar. Nice little change, but it seems rather telling that they only got to this now.