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À partir d’avant-hierWindows Central - News, Forums, Reviews, Help for Windows 10 and all things Microsoft.

Which Techtober gadget are you most looking forward to?

Another year, another tech-themed October.

October is typically a big month for tech enthusiasts, as both events and fresh gadgets make a lot of noise around this time of the year. October 2021 is a particularly busy one. On the Microsoft side of upcoming goodies, we have everything from Surface madness and the impending arrival of the Surface Duo 2 to more niche items such as the Xbox Series X fridge, also known as the meme that became a real boy.

But there's more to tech than just Microsoft, contrary to what some may tell you! Techtober 2021 is also putting a spotlight on items like the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6. Are these the devices you're most amped for?

Which Techtober gadget are you most excited about?

Let us know what you're feeling most jazzed about, even if it's an item not on the list. Perhaps there's a tiny little Techtober treat not on the general public's radar that has you stoked. If so, vote that way and drop a comment detailing what everyone should be paying attention to. After all, there's no wrong answer when it comes to what gets you excited, contrary to what some might say when confronted with the notion of voting for the iPhone 13 over the Xbox Series Fridge on a site called Windows Central.

And if you want to focus on Techtober events instead of individual gadgets, go vote in Android Central's poll that asks which Techtober event readers are most excited about. AC gives an overview of what events are coming up in October from Apple, Google, Sony, and Samsung, and details when said events are going down.

Two polls, one jam-packed Techtober full of gadgets and events. Truly, an exciting time for mainstream tech enthusiasts and a scary time for wallets.

Microsoft breaks down how it shrunk Windows 11 updates by 40%

You may need a few textbooks to understand the answer.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has revealed the secret behind its ability to shrink Windows 11 update sizes by 40% as compared to the size norms of previous operating system updates.
  • The methods employed by Microsoft are very technical.

Microsoft says its Windows 11 update sizes are 40% smaller than what the company's operating system updates used to be. Curious how the tech giant has managed such a feat? Well, after reading the explanation, you may have more questions than answers, as well as a desire to get an advanced computer sciences degree.

In the blog post where Microsoft reveals its methodology, we find out the secret sauce is "reverse update data generation." As to what that is? Well, you'll have to read the post yourself to find out, possibly in addition to some textbooks on data transmission. Here's a sample of Microsoft's explanation as to what would've constituted a non-viable approach in the pursuit of 40% size reduction:

Binary deltas utilize transforms and patching instructions to transform a file from its base version to a target version. While some patching and transforms that add data to a file are non-destructive, transforms and patches may delete data needed for a reverse delta. For this reason, a bidirectional delta would need to store the content added in the forward delta and the content deleted during the forward apply. Because the data in forward and reverse deltas are largely disjoint, little efficiency is gained from a bidirectional delta over paired forward and reverse deltas.

If none of those words make a lick of sense to you and you're not familiar with topics such as the hydration of target revisions, you may be out of luck. But for those who do get this stuff, perhaps Microsoft's post makes for an interesting read.

Windows is a ransomware magnet, according to a new VirusTotal report

Ransomware likes Windows — a lot.

What you need to know

  • VirusTotal released a report on ransomware activity.
  • It's loaded with statistics on ransomware, including freshness of attack samples, attack volume figures, and which operating systems are getting hit the most.
  • Windows was the target for 95% of the ransomware files VirusTotal evaluated in its October 2021 report.

Ransomware is becoming a bigger and bigger deal by the day. The U.S. government is focusing energies on cryptocurrency sanctions in large part to combat ransomware. The attack type has been at the core of national incidents. And now, there's a report on how the ever-expanding problem links back to Windows.

Based on the ransomware files VirusTotal analyzed for its October 2021 report, 95% of all of them are for Windows PCs. A hair over 2% go after Android, and every target of ransomware beyond those two makes up a micro percentage of the overall pie.

The report goes over loads of other ransomware statistics if you want to find out which countries are the most targeted by the threat (spoiler: Israel saw a big increase in attacks in 2021), how often new families of the software type are cropping up, and more.

This news may or may not come as a surprise to Windows users who constantly see reports of ransomware. Recently, there was LockFile, which targeted Microsoft Exchange servers. There was even the threat of ransomware when it came to basic Windows-based printing activities.

The threat isn't going away anytime soon, hence why it's even now being addressed by Microsoft in an insurance capacity. As the years stretch on, we may see more and more measures being taken by companies and governments to combat the form of cybercrime. Until then, take precautions to not get swept up in the growing ransomware storm.

Windows 11 Build 22000.282 arrives for Release Preview and Beta Channels

Prepare for a laundry list of issue fixes.

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 Build 22000.282 is here for everybody in the Beta and Release Preview Channel.
  • It packs many, many fixes and improvements for various Windows 11 issues.

Insiders in the Beta Channel as well as those on the Release Preview track can now get Windows 11 Build 22000.282, which is jam-packed with new fixes for a plethora of problems that have been beleaguering users.

There are so many improvements, in fact, that they won't all be copy-pasted here, but rest assured: If you want the scoop on every last fix, you can check them all out at Windows Blog post dedicated to discussing build 22000.282. A sampling of the build's items are listed below.

  • We fixed an L3 caching issue that might affect performance in some applications on devices that have AMD Ryzen processors after upgrading to Windows 11 (original release).
  • We fixed an issue for a small number of users that prevents the Start menu from working and prevents you from seeing the updated taskbar design after upgrading to Windows 11 (original release).
  • We fixed a race condition that occurs during the early part of startup that might cause a stop error.
  • We fixed a regression that might cause stop error 0x38 on some machine configurations that use non-ASCII text in the registry.
  • We fixed an issue with the interrupt handling of certain processors that might cause devices to stop responding.
  • We fixed an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding.
  • We fixed an issue that causes the Server Manager application to disappear after you use it to remove Hyper-V features. This issue occurs when you install Server Manager on Windows 11 (original release) clients using Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT).

We also have a post overviewing what's going on with the latest build of Windows 11 in the Dev Channel.

Surface Duo's October 2021 Android security update has arrived

It's as light as updates get.

What you need to know

  • The October 2021 Surface Duo security update is here.
  • It's 51MB in size.
  • It brings the version number up to 2021.913.25 for those in North America, 2021.913.26 for Europeans, and 2021.913.27 for locked AT&T device users.

Another month, another Surface Duo update. This time around, it's an extremely lightweight 51MB update that "addresses scenarios outlined in the Android Security Bulletin - October 2021." That's the entirety of Microsoft's update log for the month.

Here are the new version numbers:

  • 2021.913.25 (North America)
  • 2021.913.26 (Europe)
  • 2021.913.27 (AT&T Locked Device)

In short, it's not a grand update. What is a grand update is the Surface Duo 2, which will be getting the lion's share of Microsoft's attention from now on. It has a new camera setup and other improvements custom-built to improve upon the original Duo, which is still doing its thing and giving us a reason to post these monthly update logs.

Stay tuned for any major Android updates that may befall the original Surface Duo in the near future, be that in November or December. Or, if not by the end of 2021, then January or February. Basically, expect a big update at some point soon.

Thanks, Andrew R., for the tip!

Foldable fun

Microsoft Surface Duo

From $649 at Microsoft From $699 at Best Buy From $19/mo at AT&T

Duo dabbling

Even with the Surface Duo 2 set to replace the original, there are still many people enjoying the classic Duo experience. If you're interested in getting the original on the cheap (relative to the $1,499 sticker price of the Duo 2), now's not a bad time to buy. Especially since the OG Duo often goes on sale for under $400.

Splay, a portable display for every purpose, is now on Kickstarter

It's a Kickstarter project that's worth checking out.

What you need to know

  • Splay is both a portable display as well as a pocket projector device.
  • You can hook it up to just about any device that'll output via HDMI.
  • It's on Kickstarter right now, with estimated delivery dates of July 2022.
  • Pricing starts at $674 per unit.

Meet Splay. It's a small device that weighs 2.5 pounds and can unfold to provide a large screen anywhere, anytime, with minimal fuss or hassle. It has a four-hour battery life (that's the equivalent of 1.3 Christopher Nolan movies, for those of you crunching the numbers at home), outputs in 1080p, and can connect to just about anything, be it a phone, PC, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox Series X.

If the concept of a pocket projector that can unfold into a 24.5-inch screen on the fly is hard for you to visualize, don't worry: There's a video showing off what the device is and what it can do.

Before you get too excited, remember that this is a Kickstarter project. An exceptionally well-put-together Kickstarter project (in terms of presentation), but a Kickstarter project nonetheless, and those don't always have the best turnouts. In short, do your due diligence and know the worst-case risks before backing anything.

Splay is set to be delivered to backers in July 2022 if you put money forth during the current campaign, which has a minimum buy-in price of $674 per unit. That $674 buy-in is advertised as a 48% discount off a $1299 MSRP, so those who don't go the early bird route will seemingly have to pay a lot more.

It's a different take on the portable display category of devices, so check it out if you're interested. Whether you want a projector to host Smash Bros. tournaments with, or you just need a super-portable second screen for the best Windows laptops, Splay says it'll fit the bill.

You can check out Splay at its Kickstarter page.

Grab a Surface Pro Keyboard for $103 to go with your new Surface Pro 8

You don't have to shell out $180 to get the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard. In fact, you don't even need to fork over $140 to get the Surface Pro Keyboard. That's because the latter product is now down to $103, meaning you'll lose far less money than usual if you get in on the Surface goodness right now.

The Surface Pro Keyboard works with the Surface Pro 8, making it a slightly less insanely priced option for those who want the complete 2021 Surface experience for a few bucks off.

Surface Pro Keyboard

From $103 at Microsoft

From $103 at Best Buy

From $103 at Amazon

The Surface Pro Keyboard will play nice with the Surface Pro 8 as well as Pro X, so no matter which you have, it's worth considering this keyboard while it's discounted from its usual $140 tag.

If you've yet to dive into the Surface ecosystem, are still considering whether to get the Pro 8 itself, and aren't yet ready for talk of accessories such as the above keyboard, check out our Surface Pro 8 review. We gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars, which puts it somewhere close to being within spitting distance of perfection (read the full review for the pros and cons, as star ratings alone will never tell you all you need to know).

In the event you want more than just our opinion, check out the Pro 8 review roundup. Many critics, experts, and professionals are happy with the device.

Finally: You don't have to consider the above keyboard. There are other options in life, such as the best Microsoft Surface keyboards. That's right, there's a whole lineup of alternatives if you're not feeling compelled to spend three figures on a keyboard. The only question is which of the less expensive options will be right for you.

Microsoft's $22 billion AR headset deal with U.S. Army gets delayed

The deal's still on, but it's going to need a bit more time.

What you need to know

  • In March 2021, Microsoft won a U.S. Army contract to produce up to $21.88 billion of soldier-attuned augmented reality headsets.
  • The deal still stands, though delivery times have been pushed back, with field units now expected by September 2022.

Microsoft's sizeable augmented reality headset deal with the U.S. Army, which was awarded in March 2021 to the tune of up to $21.88 billion, has had its dates adjusted. Deployment of the first Microsoft headsets (sometimes referred to as glasses, as those are a prominent component of the tech) is now expected to occur by September 2022.

As reported by Reuters, the previous date the U.S. Army was aiming for has already passed: September 30, 2021. The new date effectively gives the Army and Microsoft an extra year to get their affairs in order.

These headsets are based on Microsoft's HoloLens technology and will give soldiers numerous tactical benefits. These include enhanced night vision and thermal vision, in addition to other unspecified "situational awareness capabilities." And that's not all. The headsets, which have been dubbed IVAS (Integrated Audio Visual System), will also have sensors that enable soldiers to scope out threats before actually putting any lives in harm's way.

Not everyone at Microsoft is happy about the IVAS deal. Some employees have frowned at the idea of their company utilizing its resources to develop tools of war.

This isn't the only government-entangled deal Microsoft's faced opposition over. Its surveillance technology deals even managed to ruffle shareholder feathers not too long ago, hence why the company voluntarily agreed to cue up a third-party investigation to determine if its tech, stated corporate values, and general human rights were in opposition with one another.

Mark Cuban comments on Ethereum and Dogecoin, talks crypto benefits

Here's what Mark Cuban thinks about the current crypto landscape.

What you need to know

  • Cryptocurrency has been gaining high-profile allies in recent years.
  • One member of that aforementioned club is Mark Cuban.
  • He shared his thoughts on Ethereum's standing as well as Dogecoin's meme status.

Much like how Elon Musk recently weighed in on cryptocurrency and shared how he felt about it, Mark Cuban has done the same. Among other things, Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks as well as a popular member of the show Shark Tank and has, from his entrepreneurial perspective, given fresh insights into how he deals with cryptocurrency.

While talking to CNBC, he touched on Dogecoin, referring to it as something of an educational tool on crypto and something worth checking out for "fun." However, the cryptocurrency he gave a stronger endorsement to was Ethereum, saying it had the "most upside." He also commented that Bitcoin was "better gold than gold."

Ethereum has been a popular topic in the tech world for numerous reasons, one being that it has helped strain supplies of the best graphics cards to their limits. In the first quarter of 2021, it was estimated that 25% of all GPUs went to scalpers and crypto miners.

With that said, crypto mining is not the sole cause of worldwide GPU shortages right now. Numerous factors are at play in producing that end result, including the worldwide chip crisis that has caused entire industries to battle each other for chip supplies.

However, it's hard to argue that gamers wouldn't have a slightly easier time competing for the tech they wanted if crypto enthusiasts weren't in the picture. And on the other hand, it's hard to blame said enthusiasts for wanting mining hardware for themselves. After all, cryptocurrency is becoming a more normalized form of tender every day. Just look at AMC, which is set to open its wallets to crypto in exchange for movie tickets.

Microsoft kills LinkedIn in China after censorship complications

Friendship with LinkedIn is over. InJobs is the new best friend.

What you need to know

  • LinkedIn has operated in China for years.
  • In March 2021, LinkedIn got in trouble with the Chinese government for not properly censoring itself.
  • Now, Microsoft is killing off LinkedIn in China, having decided it's not worth the hassle anymore.
  • InJobs, an app devoid of social feeds or potentially troublesome article sharing, will replace LinkedIn.

LinkedIn's time in China is over. While it had managed to persist there for over half a decade (having launched there in 2014), March 2021's censorship debacle seems to have helped pave the way for Microsoft to finally pull the plug. In LinkedIn's stead, new app InJobs will be released by the end of 2021.

LinkedIn has known since day one that it would have to operate within specific parameters to fit the Chinese government's rules and regulations. However, in March 2021, it got slapped by Chinese internet regulators for not properly censoring certain political content being facilitated on the site. Sign-ups for LinkedIn were suspended for a month and LinkedIn had to undergo review.

A few months later, some journalists found themselves walled off from China's LinkedIn (via The Guardian). It was a contentious moment for the platform, given growing concerns about censorship.

Now, Microsoft has officially thrown in the towel. LinkedIn's China operations are shutting down, to be replaced with InJobs, which LinkedIn told Axios is all about "helping China-based professionals find jobs in China and Chinese companies find quality candidates." Here's the twist: InJobs won't have social feeds or allow for article sharing or posting.

LinkedIn said the changes have come about because of "a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China." InJobs is designed to limit liability and risk while still accomplishing core job board functions.

Though not an identical situation by any measure, recall that Microsoft's Windows 11 has also had a hard time integrating with the Chinese market due to the country's rules.

The official Windows 11 media creation tool, ISOs, and more are here

Get the files and get going.

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 is now generally available.
  • Microsoft has provided three distinct ways to grab Windows 11 media and apply an upgrade yourself.
  • These options are the media creation tool, ISOs, and the Windows 11 Installation Assistant.

The big day is finally upon us: Windows 11 is generally available, meaning interested parties can hop online and get downloading the latest operating system from Microsoft so long as their system meets all OS requirements.

However, let's say you don't fall into the above camp and need another way to get Windows 11. Microsoft has readied options for your situation. Here are the three ways the company has provided for the creation and installation of Windows 11 media. Check out Microsoft's page on media installation and creation for download links to everything referenced in this post.

1. Windows 11 Installation Assistant

The Installation Assistant is a straightforward way to go, since — as its name would imply — it does all the heavy lifting for you. However, you'll need to meet Windows 11's system requirements for this option to be viable. There are also other situations where the assistant won't be of use. "If you need installation media to install Windows 11 on a different PC or an ARM64 device, see Create Windows 11 Installation Media," Microsoft says.

2. Media creation tool

Here's where you can take Windows 11 matters into your own hands. Download the media creation tool and you'll be able to stuff the OS onto a USB, external drive, or DVD with at least 8GB of space to take with you wherever. The only major requirement is that the PC you install the media on has a 64-bit CPU. So long as that's good, you're set.

3. Windows 11 disk image (ISO)

"This option is for users that want to create a bootable installation media (USB flash drive, DVD) or create a virtual machine (.ISO file) to install Windows 11," Microsoft says. "This download is a multi-edition ISO which uses your product key to unlock the correct edition." The ISO route is the same as the media creation tool method above in terms of system requirements; if your PC has a 64-bit CPU, you're clear to proceed.

You can find the download options, as well as detailed installation and creation how-to's, at the Microsoft link toward the top of this post.