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

How to fix Mozilla Firefox when its not loading websites

Some people can't load web pages on Mozilla Firefox, but there's a workaround for the issue.

What you need to know

  • Mozilla Firefox isn't loading websites for some users.
  • The problem causes an infinite loading loop and Firefox to not load any web pages.
  • There isn't a permanent fix for the issue yet, but there is a workaround that will work in some cases.

Mozilla Firefox has an issue that prevents websites from loading at the moment. Those affected by the bug will see an infinite loading loop on tabs and the browser failing to load any pages. The browser's implementation of HTTP3 appears to be the root of the problem. While there isn't a permanent fix from Mozilla for the bug, there is a workaround that will help in some cases.

Since HTTP3 is related to the issue, you can simply disable it. This shouldn't affect the browsing experience much as there aren't many websites that require HTTP3 right now.

You can disable HTTP3 by following these steps:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Type about:config in the address bar.
  3. Select Accept the Risk and Continue.
  4. Type network.http.http3.enabled in the configuration's text bar
  5. Change the setting for network.http.http3.enabled to "false" by clicking the icon on the right.
  6. Restart Firefox.

Twitter user @iamPrateeshRK shared a video of these steps as well.

Firefox not working?

Try this and restart your browser. pic.twitter.com/MhLW43Itmf

— PRΛTΞΞSH RK (@iamPrateeshRK) January 13, 2022

This workaround should mitigate the issue on Firefox on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Alternatively, you could use a different browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Chrome, or Vivaldi. Note that the iOS version of Firefox is not affected by this bug as it uses WebKit.

This is a developing story, and we will add more details as they become available.

Making WSL even better thanks to this awesome Windows Hello integration

A simple tool that shows off the power of running Linux inside Windows.

For developers, in particular, one of the biggest advantages of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is that it runs on Windows. Cross-platform development has never been easier than running an actual Linux machine inside Windows 10 or Windows 11 with all the tools it opens up.

For those people, and the more casual users like myself, or perhaps those who could use something easy to understand that demonstrates the power of this relationship, we have this.

Windows Hello integration for WSL. It's brilliant, takes about two minutes to install and set up, and will make daily life using WSL that bit more relaxed. But it also shows off why the Windows/WSL relationship is so powerful. You're using a Windows-native security feature to authenticate Linux. It's crazy.

The WSL community comes through again

Wsl Hello Sudo demo

I'm sure facial or fingerprint recognition like this is possible in Linux, so much can be done with it after all. But it's rare at best and I've not come across it (mostly it seems to hinge on drivers for the hardware), and certainly not with this level of polish.

It also feels like it's a Microsoft-built feature, but it isn't. A member of the WSL community has built this tool, hosted it on GitHub, and shared it with the world.

You can check out the GitHub repo for more details, but essentially you install the tool on your WSL distro inside Linux, and it creates the necessary bridge to Windows to integrate with Windows Hello.

Anyone who's used Linux will know how many times you have to authenticate sudo, so to be able to do it with your face or your finger instead of a potentially complicated password will soon add some real quality of life.

How to use Windows Hello with WSL

The tool you need is called WSL Hello Sudo, which captures exactly what you're going to be doing with it. It's hosted on GitHub and installing it is a breeze. All the information you need and more is on the GitHub repo, but I'll break down the installation process.

First up, you'll need to open up a terminal and be inside a WSL distro or the Linux file system. It doesn't matter which, if you have multiple, but you will have to install it separately on each that you plan to use with Windows Hello. Fortunately, it doesn't take long. You can download the package from the GitHub page, unpack it manually in the right file system and then install it, or you can roll with these commands in the terminal. This is definitely the quickest way.

wget http://github.com/nullpo-head/WSL-Hello-sudo/releases/latest/download/release.tar.gz
tar xvf release.tar.gz
cd release
./install.sh

To clarify each line for you:

  1. Downloading the package from GitHub with wget.
  2. Unpacking the downloaded file.
  3. Entering the release directory.
  4. Running the installation script.

From here the tool will run through the installation process and prompt you as required to interact with it. Running with all the default options is fine, though, unless you really have a preferential directory to install the tools in. But honestly, just hit the defaults and let it do its thing.

Does it work?

Once the installation has run, a reboot of WSL is all that's needed to see it in action. Once you enter your first sudo command and hit Enter, instead of WSL asking you for your password, the Windows Hello dialog box will pop up to verify your identity. And so far, for me at least, it hasn't faltered once.

I don't understand exactly what it's doing to link the two together, beyond that it makes use of a Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) and copies a Windows command line application over to launch Windows Hello. Literally something that could only be done on WSL, so it really shows off the magic of these two operating systems working in harmony.

The automatic configuration should be good enough for most, but as with most things on Linux, you can get in the weeds and do some manual work if you want. The GitHub repo has all the pointers you'll need. As well as the code to have a look through if, unlike me, you understand such things.

Not only does this shine a light on how great WSL can be when both Linux and Windows are pulled together, but it's also a genuine quality of life improvement. Security is great, but boy, typing in the same password over and over, hour after hour, day after day sure does get tiresome. It'd be swell if Microsoft reached out to the developer of this tool and worked to build it in to WSL natively.

Microsoft Modern Headsets review: Wired or wireless conferencing

Simple, modern, and get the job done.

Microsoft is now shipping a handful of "Teams Certified" PC accessories, designed primarily for those who often find themselves in conference calls using Microsoft Teams in their day-to-day work lives. Whether you're at an office or working from home, these accessories are designed to enhance your productivity when communicating with colleagues or clients with Teams.

Today, we're reviewing two of those new accessories in the form of the Modern USB-C Headset and Modern Bluetooth Headset. Both of these headsets are pretty much the same bar a few minor differences that we'll get in to. So without further ado, here's our review of Microsoft's Teams Certified Modern Headsets.

Microsoft Modern Bluetooth and USB-C Headsets

Bottom line: The Microsoft Modern Bluetooth and USB-C headsets are great, affordable ways into enhancing your conferencing gear, with dedicated Teams buttons and easy to use controls.

Pros

  • Comfortable design
  • Easy set up
  • Dedicated call and Teams buttons

Cons

  • Accessories app needs more options
  • Teams button not configurable

$99: Modern Wireless Headset from Microsoft $55: Modern USB-C Headset from Microsoft

Category Modern Wireless Headset Modern USB-C Headset
Dimensions Length: 6.77" (172 mm)
Width: 6.46" (164 mm)
Depth: 2.36" (60 mm)
Length: 6.81" (173 mm)
Width: 6.57" (167mm)
Depth: 2.36" (60 mm)
Weight 0.30 lbs (136 g) 0.31 lbs (142 g)
Frequency Response Microphone: 100Hz-10KHz
Speaker: 100Hz-20KHz
Microphone: 100Hz-10KHz
Speaker: 100Hz-20KHz
Noise reduction Beamforming with 2 mems microphone Noise reduction mic boom
Speaker 28 mm moving-coil speaker driver 28 mm moving-coil speaker driver
Sound pressure level Up to 91 dB Up to 91 dB
Battery 50 hours music
30 hours calling
N/A
Range 10 meters (office)
30 meters (air)
N/A
Cord length N/A 39.4 inches
Cable length N/A 29.5 inches
Compatibility Windows 11
Windows 10
Windows 8.x
Windows 7
macOS
Android
iOS
Windows 11
Windows 10
Windows 8.x
macOS 10.15+
Price $99.99 $54.99

What you'll like

Both headsets feature the same lightweight design. They feature two 28mm speaker drivers which sound plenty fine for Teams calls and voice-related activity. I wouldn't use these for extensive music or movie listening however, as these speakers just aren't designed for that and are noticeably lacking in bass for that reason.

The speakers themselves have a little bit of padding around them which keeps your ears nice and comfortable for prolonged use. The speakers huge which means the padding sits on your ears rather than over them. This has the advantage of still letting in some external noise, which could be useful if you need to listen out for colleagues in an open office environment.

Both headsets feature "noise reduction" built into the microphone which attempts to reduce standard office background noise when in a conference call. In my brief testing, it works well enough for minimizing light background chatter or the sound of a fan or air conditioner, but it won't work miracles.

Microphone quality between the two does differ quite a bit. The wired headset has much clearer and slightly richer sound compared to the wireless headset, which sounds quite tinny, like the mic you'd find on a regular pair of Bluetooth headphones. So, if you're looking for the best microphone quality between the two, I'd go for the wired headset. That dedicated wired connection just allows for a higher quality microphone sound.

Another difference between the two headsets is with how you mute the mic. On the wireless headset, you can mute the mic just by raising it up from the mouth position. On the wired headset, you must press the mute button on the control pad attached to the wire. I really like the wireless headsets way of muting, as it's one motion that takes a second and doesn't require hunting around for the control pad first.

Both headsets feature an easily adjustable design and are comfortable to wear. The Wireless model can connect to your PC either via the included 2.4Ghz USB-A dongle, or via Bluetooth. I love that Microsoft gives you the option, as sometimes you aren't able to plug in a dedicated receiver. That said, I recommend using the receiver whenever you can, as it provides a much stronger and more stable connection between your headset and PC.

The wired headphones connect to your PC using USB-C, which is unusual for a conferencing headset. Most conferencing headsets on the market still use USB-A, so it's nice to see Microsoft ahead of the curve here. That said, a lot of office-based PCs don't have USB-C ports yet, so you might find yourself digging for a dongle.

Microphone quality test

Here are two brief audio tests using the default settings on both headsets. These audio clips are unaltered.

What you won't like

There's really not much to dislike about these headsets if you're buying them for their intended purpose. While great for voice and conference calls, they're less good for movie or music listening. The speakers are lacking in the bass department, so things aren't as punchy compared to a higher-end set of headphones for entertainment listening. The mics also lack punch, so audio recordings will be noticeably lacking in bass too. This is perfectly fine for voice calls and conferencing, but I wouldn't narrate an audiobook with these mics.

Both headsets have dedicated Teams buttons, which is great if you find yourself quickly needing to quickly launch into the Microsoft Teams app during the day to answer a call or message. However, if you use a different chatting service (like Slack,) the button isn't configurable in any way. It opens Teams, and that's it. I do wish Microsoft would give us the option to remap the button.

Both Headsets can be configured with Microsoft's new "Accessory Center" software, which automatically downloads when you plug in one of these peripherals for the first time. It's a nice looking app, and works as intended, but there aren't very many options to configure for the headsets themselves. You can change language, enable or disable push to talk, and set a maximum volume limit. That's about it. I would've liked to see more controls for things like adjusting gain, tweaking EQ settings, and other audio-related features.

As mentioned above, mic quality differs quite a bit between the two headsets. The wired headset has a much richer sounding microphone, but there's also a slight amount of buzzing that you can hear when you're not talking. It's only really noticable when you boost the audio, so you shouldn't notice it in conference calls, but it's something to keep an eye on. I also found the wireless headsets mic to sometimes sound a bit sharp. Moving the mic a bit further from your mouth remedies this.

Lastly, though you really shouldn't be expecting it on a device like this, there's no active noise cancellation built into these headphones. So, if you're in an environment where noises like that can distract you, these headsets aren't going to be for you. Microsoft sells the Surface Headphones 2+ with active noise cancellation, but those are quite a bit more expensive.

Final thoughts

I think these Modern Headsets from Microsoft are a great addition to Microsoft's accessory line-up, and serve a specific purpose (that being Teams conferencing.) You can use them in other apps, but the dedicated Teams button obviously won't do anything at that point.

Set up is surprisingly easy, just plug them in and you're basically good to go. I think for the price, these do the job just fine. Audio quality and listening quality are just fine for conferencing calls, nobody had complains about my audio, even with the Bluetooth headset, and people on the other end sounded perfectly fine.

Xbox Series X ultimate guide: Everything you need to know

Here's everything you need to know about the next-generation Xbox console from Microsoft: Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series X was unveiled as a more powerful alternative to the cheaper Xbox Series S.

The beastly, monolithic device represents "Project Scarlett," as a flagship console family set to power the next generation of Xbox games. With our Xbox Series X in-hand, we now know everything there is to know about the console. Here's everything you must know about the Xbox Series X.

Leading 4K

Xbox Series X

See at Microsoft See at Amazon See at Best Buy

The full next-generation experience.

Xbox Series X is Microsoft's new flagship, as its most powerful console with over 12TF GPU performance and a custom SSD. It boasts up to 4K resolution and 120 FPS, full backward compatibility across four generations, and ray-tracing support.

Next-gen in HD

Xbox Series S

See at Microsoft See at Amazon See at Best Buy

Experience next-gen gaming for less.

Microsoft serves the next-generation for less with its budget-friendly Xbox Series S. The console packs the same high-performance CPU and SSD technology as Xbox Series X, while scaling back the GPU and removing the disc drive.

Jump to:

Xbox Series X: Quick facts

If you're in a hurry, here are some rapid-fire things you should know about the Xbox Series X.

  • The Xbox Series X is available to buy now (stocks pending) for $499.
  • Microsoft has warned of supply issues into 2022, due to global chip shortages.
  • The Xbox Series X is the most powerful video game console ever made, and should generally result in better visuals and performance than the PlayStation 5, owing to more powerful internals.
  • The Xbox Series X is one of two consoles Microsoft launched in 2020, joined by the less-powerful, but more-affordable Xbox Series S.
  • The NVMe SSD produces vastly reduced loading speeds, with games like Grand Theft Auto and Destiny 2 going from minutes down to seconds.
  • The vast majority of Xbox One, One S, and One X accessories will work with the Xbox Series X and Series S. This includes your best Xbox One headset, all of your Xbox One controllers, fight and flight sticks, and more.
  • TV-oriented Xbox accessories like the PDP Talon Remote will still be able to control your TV, as long as your TV has HDMI-CEC enabled.
  • Xbox One's Kinect accessory, however, will not work.
  • Many of the Xbox One TV features have been removed. There's no HDMI passthrough, no IR blaster, and TV set-top box integration (OneGuide) has been removed.
  • All 4,000-plus Xbox One-compatible games will work on the Xbox Series X and Series S, except for games that require Kinect.
  • Many games enjoy 120 FPS support, including Overwatch, Fortnite, Call of Duty, and many more.
  • You can use the Xbox One X and Xbox One S figure 8-style power cable with the Xbox Series X and Series S consoles.
  • The Xbox Series X and Series S have support for animated backgrounds, although details on how this works are scant.
  • To get the most of your Xbox Series X, you'll need a TV with HDR10, 120Hz display support, and 4K UHD.
  • Sony remains top dog for raw game quality, but the future of Xbox console exclusives is potentially bright. Microsoft has acquired ZeniMax, which brings Elder Scrolls, DOOM, Wolfenstein, Prey, Dishonored, The Evil Within, Fallout, and many other legendary franchises exclusively to Xbox, including Starfield. For more titles, head to our roundup of upcoming Xbox Series X and Series S games.

Xbox Series X: Power and specs

The Xbox Series X full specs are as follows, confirming the majority of our own previous exclusives that suggested this is a genuinely beastly system. Ultimately, Microsoft is generalizing the power increase as "four times" higher than the Xbox One X, given that direct comparisons are difficult due to the sheer volume of custom tech going into this system.

Here are the Xbox Series X's official specs, stacked up against its Xbox Series S baby brother.

Category Xbox Series X Xbox Series S
Processor 8x cores @ 3.8GHz (3.6GHz w/ SMT) custom Zen 2 CPU 8x cores @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz w/ SMT) custom Zen 2 CPU
Graphics 12.15 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825GHz custom RDNA 2 GPU 4 TFLOPS, 20 CUs @ 1.565GHz custom RDNA 2 GPU
Memory 16GB GDDR6 10GB GDDR6
Memory bandwidth 10GB @ 560GB/s, 6GB @ 336GB/s 8GB @ 224GB/s, 2GB @ 56GB/s
Internal storage 1TB custom NVME SSD 512GB custom NVME SSD
I/O throughput 2.4GB/s uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed 2.4GB/s uncompressed, 4.8GB/s compressed
Expandable storage 1TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly) 1TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External storage USB 3.2 external HDD support USB 3.2 external HDD support
Optical drive 4K UHD Blu-ray drive None, digital only
Performance target 4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS 1440p @ 60 FPS, up to 120 FPS
Color Matte Black Robot White, black
Size 301mm x 151mm x 151mm 65mm x 151mm x 275mm
Price $499, £449, €499 $299, £249, €299
Release date Nov. 10, 2020 Nov. 10, 2020

There are some differences from the previous Xbox One generation in terms of ports. Microsoft is dropping the additional HDMI passthrough port, generally used to inject TV and other devices through the system. Microsoft has also removed the IR Blaster and the SPDIF optical audio port. TV controls will function over HDMI-CEC connections instead, but those of us with SPDIF audio systems or headsets may be out of luck, unless they get updates, like the Astro A50 and Astro MixAmp.

In terms of power, as of 2022, we've started to gradually see more games take full advantage of the system, although many titles are still being developed for past-gen consoles and may not be fully utilizing the next-gen capabilities to their fullest as a result. Microsoft's promise of "four times" more powerful than the Xbox One X makes it seem incredibly compelling, however, and we should start to see more serious next-gen only titles appear in 2022 and beyond.

Xbox Series X: Size and dimensions

Just how big is this thing? We now know the official dimensions, putting it at 301mm x 151mm x 151mm.

Compared to an Xbox One X at 300mm x 240mm x 60mm, the Xbox Series X has a far larger volume, most likely to accommodate airflow and the technology inside it. Microsoft has stated that it built it this way to ensure that it is virtually silent while powering next-gen cutting-edge visuals. You can compare the size of the Series X against the Series S and PlayStation 5 in the link below.

Xbox Series X 3D interactive size comparison

Xbox Series X: Features and improvements

Microsoft has made comments about improving load speeds and access to your games through the Xbox Series X, and Microsoft's proprietary Xbox Velocity Architecture allows the SSD to offload computational scenarios that would typically be handled by other components, freeing them up for extra juice due to its speed and decompression tech.

The NVMe SSD, coupled with some of Microsoft's own tweaks near-eliminates loading. Games with loading times of anywhere up to a minute are reduced to mere seconds, with the SSD having anywhere up to 2GB/s read speeds. Microsoft confirmed this with a side-by-side comparison of the State of Decay 2's loading times recently.

The Xbox Series X NVMe SSD will also provide developers with more power to use, potentially offloading asset streaming tasks typically handled by the CPU thanks to new features in DirectX, called DirectStorage (which is also coming to Windows PC).

Microsoft has already brought cloud gaming to the new Xbox consoles too. This will help circumvent installation times for some games. Ultimately, next-gen is all about saving you time. Microsoft also engineered this thing to be as quiet as possible, and we've heard that even under heavy load, it's virtually silent.

Another benefit of the SSD is that games will be able to save in suspended states, as per a February 2020 podcast with Major Nelson.

Right now, Xbox One consoles can fast resume only a single game, but the Xbox Series X will be able to instantly resume multiple games that you've minimized, even after the games have been updated. We heard previously that save states persist even if the console is unplugged, and Microsoft has now confirmed a lot of this information in its recent deep dives.

Microsoft also introduced a new and improved controller with the Series X, with a revised, more tactile D-pad inspired by the Xbox Elite controllers, and a video and screenshot sharing button, following Sony's lead on PlayStation 4. The new controller is also a little smaller than the previous and probably lighter, too, as a result. It also has revised triggers, with grippy textures as standard.

Features like rumble triggers will return, and it'll even work on the previous-gen Xbox One consoles and Windows PCs too. All of the best Xbox One headsets, controllers, and other Xbox One-compatible accessories will work on the Series X, too. The Xbox Series X will also be able to suspend and resume multiple games at once, as opposed to the single resume available on Xbox One consoles. Microsoft has confirmed that the new controllers will continue to utilize AA batteries.

On the graphics side of things, the Xbox Series X will feature a range of enhancements that elevate it above the current-gen systems. The console is capable of 120 frames per second, complete with variable refresh rates for compatible displays, with support for up to 8K resolutions. 4K resolution with 60 frames per second should become a baseline standard. The Xbox Series X will also feature hardware-accelerated ray tracing, which produces real-time dynamic reflections and shadows, elevating the depth of your games.

Beyond that, Microsoft is also baking in some advanced features developers can leverage to squeeze even more juice out of the system. They come in the form of proprietary variable-rate shading (VRS), auto-HDR, and more. Auto low latency mode (ALLM) and dynamic latency input (DLI) also comes along to make it the "most responsive" console ever built.

Microsoft's new GameCore OS developer environment will unlock further developmental capabilities down the line too, allowing developers to seamlessly build games for different Xbox consoles, cloud, and PC. These games will be able to scale across systems, including PC and the Project Scarlett next-gen consoles. However, to leverage some of the advanced visual features, developers will have to target GameCore OS (also known as Game OS) specifically. We're unsure if GameCore OS will be exclusive to Scarlett consoles, PC, and the cloud, but it seems likely, as Microsoft winds down production on the Xbox One systems. Microsoft's working hard to bring synchronicity to APIs for both Xbox Series X|S development and the recently released Windows 11, including DirectStorage, DX12 Ultimate Agility, and much more.

As noted earlier, the proof is in the pudding, though. Microsoft has already shown off at least one game that is built from the ground up for these next-gen features, and that is Hellblade II.

Xbox Series X: Games and backward compatibility

At The Game Awards, Microsoft showed off a new trailer for Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, which it claims is comprised entirely of in-engine footage. Considering the insane work Ninja Theory did for the original Hellblade in terms of digitizing its performance artists, it's entirely believable that what we see here is genuinely representative of next-gen technology.

Microsoft has invested more than ever in first-party content moving into next-gen, not just because of the Project Scarlett consoles, but also for Xbox Cloud Streaming, its nascent streaming service, available now on Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Both platforms use the same developer environments, ensuring this Xbox iteration could have the largest install base ever, leading to more developer support than ever.

Microsoft revealed a range of impressive-looking games coming to Xbox Series X, including Perfect Dark, Avowed, which looks like Obsidian's answer to Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and State of Decay 3.

Microsoft also revealed the long-rumored Fable from Playground Games. Microsoft also confirmed that 50 games existing and future will launch with Xbox Series X enhancements, from increased resolution, frame rates, and beyond. Games optimized for the Xbox Series X will also be optimized for the Xbox Series S, producing higher frame rates in games like Destiny 2 and Assassin's Creed Valhalla.

Sensationally, Microsoft purchased the legendary Bethesda Softworks and all of its sister studios in September 2020, including the IP to franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, and many, many, more. Microsoft effectively confirmed the vast majority of future Bethesda games will be Xbox console exclusive, with Starfield revealed as Xbox and Windows exclusive.

Microsoft has also confirmed that every single game that runs on Xbox One will work on the Xbox Series X, including OG Xbox games and Xbox 360 games that are backward compatible. As for launch titles and beyond, Xbox Game Studios are hard at work on piles of games, and we've rounded them all up over here for your perusal. We also have a list of games confirmed to be Xbox Series X "optimized," although exact optimizations will vary.

Xbox Series X: Platform and OS

Microsoft will deploy the same OS to Xbox Series X that is available now on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X, albeit with some design refinements you can see a glimpse of in the above video, showcasing the new Fluent Design Xbox dashboard. New fluent elements, new fonts, and a dashboard designed to support 4K TVs are among things being considered for dashboard improvements in the future. Additionally, the Xbox Series X will support animated Dynamic Themes, taking cues from PlayStation. The first theme is a wavy pattern, although we expect more to be added for launch.

For developers, Microsoft is working on a new developer environment dubbed GameCore, which will reportedly bring Xbox development more closely in line with that of Win32 on PC. Additionally, GameCore comes with other benefits for developers, allowing games to scale more seamlessly across different Xbox SKUs without additional work, scaling resolution, and other details to meet various power levels. This sort of system is ideal for the Xbox Series S console, which will output games at up to 1440p with a vastly more powerful CPU and SSD than on the Xbox One consoles. We've heard that GameCore as a development environment is currently in a beta state, which a couple of smaller games are planning to launch using early versions of the tools around the Xbox Series X launch.

Xbox Series X: Price and costs

We revealed exclusively via our sources that the current intended retail price of the Xbox Series X is going to be $499, matching the launch price of the Xbox One X of yesteryear. Microsoft later confirmed it to be official. The Xbox Series S is expected to cost $299, similar to the Xbox One S. Microsoft has now confirmed these reports.

Microsoft has been expanding its Xbox financing program, Xbox All Access, and we expect Microsoft will leverage these financing options more broadly to try to help people manage costs, making next-gen more accessible than ever.

Xbox Series X: Launch date and stock checker

Our sources confirmed that the Xbox Series X would launch alongside the Xbox Series S on Nov. 10, 2020, and indeed, Microsoft delivered.

The vast majority of stocks are now sold out as of writing in 2022, owing to the ongoing semi-conductor shortage hitting the world's tech. If you're lucky, you may still be able to nab one from various retailers including Walmart, the Microsoft official store, Best Buy, Amazon, and more.

Xbox Series X: Is it worth buying?

In our Xbox Series X review, we had only positive things to say about the console. At least, for the most part. The console runs cool and quiet, it provides impressive visuals, and the collection of small improvements across the board really elevate the experience.

As of writing, the main issue with the Xbox Series X pertains to its exclusive lineup, which is a bit thin. Games like Watch Dogs: Legion and Assassin's Creed Valhalla are a good glimpse at what next-gen gaming will be like, but it won't be until this year where we start to see games built natively for the new architecture, utilizing all of the console's features. Most games available for Xbox Series X are effectively Xbox One X versions with extra options and features. We were supposed to see The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 get native versions on Xbox Series X, but things like the pandemic and the chip shortage have delayed much of the work in this space.

Some games have received impressive enhancements, like Metro Exodus. We also saw more from Microsoft's first-party studios, including Halo Infinite, Hellblade II, and many more. One of the first "big-name" franchises to go next-gen only was Battlefield 2042, which launced in late 2021.

Is it worth buying right now though? Well, as of writing, you'll be lucky if you can actually find one. The stocks are sold out everywhere, and Microsoft has warned that supply issues will remain in place through to 2023. By the time stocks are replenished, we should have way more games that fully utilize the new hardware. Even now, it enhances tons of existing games, and provides a speedier dashboard experience, with vastly improved loading times across the board. After moving to an Xbox Series X, I can't imagine going back to any Xbox One-era console.

Xbox Series X: It eats monsters for breakfast

The Xbox Series X represents a bold vision and a huge step forward for Redmond, which is keen to put the mistakes of the early Xbox One generation behind it. New name, new vision, new leadership, and more investment than ever before as Microsoft seeks to stave off potential cloud threats from Google, Amazon, and Tencent.

Far more than a simple box, the Xbox Series X should grant visual quality that has, up until now, been available only on the most extreme Windows gaming PCs, while incorporating the entirety of your existing library. It will also allow us to roam with our games via the internet, thanks to Project XCloud and Xbox Game Pass, streamed to our mobile devices.

Microsoft has never put this much investment into its gaming operation before. I don't doubt Xbox fans will be delighted with what Redmond puts out with the Xbox Series X and the Series S. Whether the broader market responds remains to be seen. Still, Microsoft is undoubtedly giving Xbox its best chance possible.

Microsoft rolls out fixes for accessibility bugs in OneDrive update

Microsoft just rolled out an update for OneDrive that fixes some accessibility issues.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft fixed several accessibility-related bugs in OneDrive for iOS.
  • Many of the fixes address problems related to the VoiceOver feature within the app.
  • The accessibility fixes are available with version 12.61.1 of OneDrive.

Microsoft recently released an update for the OneDrive app on iOS that includes several accessibility fixes. Following the update, the app's VoiceOver feature should work better when reading certain types of content, including dates for folders in the Libraries view. The update brings the app to version 12.61.1 and is available for both iPhones and iPads.

Here's what's new in the latest version of OneDrive for iOS:

  • VoiceOver now comprehensively reads out dates for folders in the Libraries view.
  • The role assignment for filter buttons that appear when searching for a folder/file has been updated so that VoiceOver correctly announces the control.
  • VoiceOver now announces the appropriate roles for buttons on a users' Plan page and on the Libraries page.
  • Adjustments to the luminosity ratio of the icons on the 'Sign in' and 'Enter password' pages have been made to allow for clear visibility of the icons.
  • Content present on the 'Sign in' page now appropriately adapts to large text settings.

The update is available now through the App Store. As pointed out by OnMSFT, this is the second OneDrive app of 2022. The first update of the year shipped on January 5, but it only included unspecified bug fixes and improvements.

OneDrive

Free at App Store

OneDrive is a convenient way to store files, photos, and videos in the cloud. You can access it from a wide range of devices, including those running Windows, iOS, and Android. The app's latest update fixes several accessibility-related issues.

Here's what you need to know about Elden Ring's lore before you play

A dive into the story of the Lands Between.

FromSoftware has built a reputation for delivering stellar action RPGs with cryptic and unconventional means of storytelling. Instead of providing more traditional narratives with prominent over-arching stories, this team leans heavily into their infamous non-linear approach. Titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne often require some additional digging for players interested in unpacking the subtleties of their lore, and Elden Ring appears to be no different in that regard.

With the release of FromSoftware's highly anticipated epic just over a month away, it felt like a great time to detail and break down the biggest confirmed story beats for the game so far. If you're excited or honestly even a little confused about this upcoming RPG, here's a quick Elden Ring lore overview that should tell you everything you need to know about the game's story before playing.

The world of Elden Ring

The mystical world of the Lands Between is ruled by Queen Marika the Eternal. In this place of grace and gold, conflict and division, the Elden Ring, which serves as the source of the Erdtree, has been shattered. Following these critical events and the end of the Age of the Erdtree, Marika's offspring, who reign dominantly as demigods, claimed the shards of the Elden Ring. Also known as the Great Runes, these shards offered immense strength to the children of Marika. Unfortunately, this newfound power came at a devastating price.

Each of these demigods inherited a different power or element from the Great Runes, but this tainted strength twisted and warped every single one of them in detrimental ways. Madness and ruin corrupted their once-noble identities. This mad taint ultimately led these kin to squabble amongst one another, triggering a fierce war called The Shattering. Seemingly dismayed by the actions of these individuals and the events of this war, the demigods were soon abandoned by the Greater Will. However, the favor of the Greater Will now shines upon an entirely new group: The Tarnished.

Your role in Elden Ring

Players in Elden Ring take the role of a Tarnished. These tarnished individuals and their ancestors lost their grace and, for a long time, were banished from the Lands Between. Understanding the dire predicament in which this world finds itself, a lost grace is summoned from The Shattering, guiding these once-unworthy inhabitants back to the very lands from which they were banished. Your adventure begins after crossing the foggy sea and entering the Lands Between.

In hopes of restoring order and peace to this fractured realm, your chosen Tarnished is tasked with confronting the tainted demigods and collecting each of the Great Runes. These symbolic artifacts spell out the Golden Law of the Lands Between, and gathering them would allow our Tarnished heroes to be returned to the golden graces of the Erdtree. Ultimately, your quest is to brandish the incredible power of the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord, but navigating the ruins of this once-perfect world won't be easy.

The Rune of Death

In our most recent story trailer for Elden Ring, a mysterious four-armed witness describes how the theft of the Rune of Death introduced further chaos to the Lands Between. With the Rune of Death separated from the Elden Ring, inhabitants of this world can no longer truly die. We see skeletons rising from the ground after defeat, and even our own chosen Tarnished is a being unable to perish. Normally the Golden Order established by the Greater Will and Elden Ring would prohibit one from trespassing beyond life's bounds, but in this time of turmoil, spirits and the dead freely roam the Lands Between.

This disruption of the sacred laws of life and death quickly bred a group called the Golden Order Fundamentalists. These dedicated individuals work desperately to enforce the old laws of the Elden Ring and bring the Lands Between back to its former sense of order. The Golden Order of Fundamentalists can apply the Golden Order in some capacity by using magical spells that keep undead enemies from coming back to life. The Rune of Death and Golden Order of Fundamentalists will likely play a critical role in the inevitable fall of Queen Marika and her once-eternal demigod children.

Malenia the Severed and General Radahn

One of the most prominent figures featured in several of Elden Ring's trailers and promotional materials has been the red-haired Valkryie Malenia the Severed, also known as The Blade of Miquella. We don't understand her current motivations or why she's seemingly hostile towards our Tarnished, but she once was entangled in a fierce battle with General Radahn during The Shattering. While no victor was crowned during their encounter, it would appear that General Radahn was eventually defeated during this war.

The fate and role General Radahn plays in Elden Ring are shrouded further in mystery. The reveal trailer implies that the Elden Ring "commands the stars," and General Radahn's title of Conqueror of the Stars heavily suggests he is a crucial figure in the complex power struggle in the Lands Between following the shattering of the Elden Ring. However, whether he still exists as a threat in this kingdom is unclear.

More to come

FromSoftware has done a remarkable job presenting the world of Elden Ring so far, but like many of their previous titles, these small segments of gameplay and lore are intentionally designed to leave us with more questions than answers. Historically, Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team lean heavily into non-linear storytelling through objects, context clues, and environmental details. Even after launch, it will likely take some serious time for community members to unpack the lore of Elden Ring fully, but hopefully, these more general themes help paint a clearer picture of what to expect from the narrative of this experience.

With Elden Ring launching on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and PS4/PS5 on Feb. 25, 2022, we won't have to wait too much longer for answers. Right now, it remains to be seen whether Elden Ring will deliver a compelling story for players or stand firmly as one of the best RPGs on Xbox. However, based on the precedent set by previous FromSoftware Soulslikes, there will likely be plenty to love for fans of the genre.

One ring to rule them all

Elden Ring

$60 at Amazon (Xbox) $60 at Best Buy (Xbox) $60 at Walmart (Xbox)

Brave the Lands Between!

Elden Ring is a dream fantasy collaboration between FromSoftware president Hidetaka Miyazaki and A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. For fans of Soulslike RPGs, this is certainly one to watch.

The Corsair HS60 Pro gaming headset has dropped to $40 for one day

If you're looking for a gaming headset and you want one we said embodies the idea of "punching above your weight" then grab the Corsair HS60 Pro while it's on sale for just $39.99 at Best Buy. This is one of Best Buy's deals of the day, and it's a huge discount. The same headset is $65 at Amazon and can sell as high as $70. Today's deal matches the lowest price we've ever seen, and it's a price we've only seen it hit once in the last year.

Corsair HS60 Pro headset | $25 off

One of the best prices we've ever seen but only a Deal of the Day so it won't last. Comes with 50mm audio drivers, a built-in microphone, and 7.1-channel surround sound.

$39.99 at Best Buy

Our review of this headset gave it 4.5 stars out of 5 and called it one of The Best. In this case, the great review is all about how the features stack up to the price. Jez Corden said "Given the headset's feature set and $64 price, it's truly difficult to argue against the value proposition here. The audio quality is great overall, and the wearability and durability feel like they should be on a far more costly product." And given that today's price is much, much less... that's just even more value for you!

The HS60 Pro includes powerful 50mm drivers that can deliver great audio, a built-in microphone that lets you easily handle hands-free calls, and controls right on the headset for controlling volume or muting your mic. The mic can actually be detached in case you're not using it, and it can also filter out ambient noises so you can talk to your team without the game's explosions getting in the way. The headset also has memory foam ear cups for long-term comfort even if you're using these for long gaming sessions.

'Hitman Trilogy' launches on January 20, directly into Xbox Game Pass

Another big win for Xbox Game Pass.

IO Interactive revealed a range of updates for Hitman 3 as part of its Year 2 season, including ray tracing on PC, new targets, a new map, a new Freelancer mode, and more, as part of its anniversary stream. However, the developer also had a major update for Xbox fans, revealing an all-new Hitman collection heading straight into Xbox Game Pass.

On January 20, IO will unleash Hitman Trilogy, directly into Xbox Game Pass, while bringing Hitman 3 to Steam for PCs for the first time. Hitman 3 will also grab VR support on PC, alongside various other enhancements.

Hitman Trilogy on Xbox includes Hitman 1, 2, and 3, alongside all existing content. Hitman already sports a unique UI that allows players to roam seamlessly between games, but bringing all of the titles into one package creates something of a monstrously large stealth puzzler, offering potentially hundreds of hours of gameplay.

HITMAN 3 arrives on Steam to coincide with the start of Year 2 and will have full support for PC VR and all of the technical improvements that we mentioned earlier, such as Ray Tracing, XeSS and Variable Rate Shading. We're working on support for Steam Achievements and Trading Cards too – plus we'll be including the Trinity Pack (the HITMAN 3 pre-order bonus) for free with all editions of HITMAN 3 for the first 30 days.

The HITMAN Trilogy will be available with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate on January 20, giving you everything you need to jump straight into the World of Assassination. We're excited to welcome a wave of new players to enjoy the full trilogy through new platforms and services.

IO Interactive is also expected to be working on secret Xbox exclusive with Microsoft, codenamed Dragon, although we've yet to see an official announcement about this as of yet.

The inclusion of Hitman Trilogy in Xbox Game Pass will no doubt bring the game to a whole new audience. Hitman is one of those rare modern games that enjoy large ongoing updates without gouging players with annoying freemium elements, too. It's well-worth checking out.

Lots of games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Xbox $45 at Amazon (3-month subscription) $15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

Play Hitman Trilogy, and more

Hitman Trilogy will only add to the vast library of Xbox Game Pass titles, which comprises hundreds of games across PC, Xbox consoles, and mobile devices via xbox.com/play. Xbox Game Pass is well and truly the best deal in gaming, and well worth considering.

Microsoft confirms Xbox Ones are discontinued, not being manufactured

Xbox One production lasted from 2013 to 2020, but its models are no longer being manufactured.

What you need to know

  • Xbox One consoles are officially no longer being manufactured by Microsoft.
  • According to the company, it stopped making any more of them back in 2020.
  • The remaining Xbox One consoles you see on store shelves are leftover stock.

It's official: The Xbox One era is over, at least as far as manufacturing is concerned. No more models of the Xbox One are being manufactured by Microsoft, and apparently, that's been the case since the end of 2020.

In a statement to The Verge, Cindy Walker, senior director of Xbox console product marketing, said the following: "To focus on production of Xbox Series X / S, we stopped production for all Xbox One consoles by the end of 2020."

That means all Xbox One, Xbox One X, and Xbox One S models are all officially in the rearview mirror for Microsoft. The Xbox One consoles you see lining store shelves are simply what remains of the stock produced long ago.

This statement from Microsoft comes not long after the news that Sony will keep up PS4 production given the ongoing shortage of PS5s available for purchase.

If you're interested in grabbing one of the (now legacy) Xbox One consoles, what stock is out there is all the stock that's out there and you shouldn't expect more to appear in circulation unless otherwise noted by Microsoft. Alternatively, you can choose to go with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, which remain the company's focus for the foreseeable future.

And if you're not interested in any Xbox consoles but still want access to the best Xbox Game Pass games, just stick with a PC. After all, 2021 was the best year for PCs since 2012, so the platform's doing as well as ever.

Microsoft will invest $50 million to turn alcohol into renewable jet fuel

Microsoft's investment in LanzaJet will help create millions of gallons of jet fuel and renewable diesel.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will invest $50 million in LanzaJet, which makes sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel.
  • The funding will help build LanzaJet's Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia.
  • Lanzajet produces fuel from municipal solid waste, agricultural residues, biomass, and other sustainable sources.

Microsoft will invest $50 million in LanzaJet to help create millions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The funding will be used to build LanzaJet's Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia. LanzaJet claims that this plant is the world's first alcohol-to-jet SAF production plant.

LanzaJet uses sustainable ethanol sources, including solid waste, agricultural residues, and biomass, to create SAF and renewable diesel. Notably, the source material is waste-based and is not made from human food or animal feed.

Construction of the plant remains on schedule, despite global supply constraints and labor shortages, according to LanzaJet. The company expects its Freedom Pines Fuels plan to start producing 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year by 2023.

"With Microsoft's support, this first plant significantly expands the production of sustainable fuels in the US, establishes Georgia as a leader in clean tech, and is the foundation for us as the first alcohol-to-jet sustainable fuels producer, and as a blueprint for the commercial plants we're developing globally," said LanzaJet CEP Jimmy Samartzis.

Microsoft also weighed in on the announcement. "With this investment, we support LanzaJet in creating new pathways to help companies across industries achieve net-zero carbon through the use of sustainable fuels," said Brandon Middaugh from Microsoft's Climate Innovation Fund.

Microsoft's investment will allow the company to advance toward the goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030. The move will also provide Microsoft with sustainable diesel fuel for its data centers.

Renewable fuel is relatively scarce in the aviation industry. Less than 0.1% of jet fuel used is renewable, as of 2019, according to the investment bank Jefferies (via Reuters). The Biden administration has a goal to reach net-zero aviation emissions by 2050. The EU aims to raise the amount of SAF blended fuel to 63% by 2050.

In September 2021, the Biden administration announced a target of producing 3 billion gallons of SAF per year by 2030. To help reach that figure, LanzaJet set a goal of producing 1 billion gallons of SAF by 2030.

LanzaTech, Suncor Energy, Mitsui & Co., British Airways, Shell, and All Nippon Airways have also helped fund LanzaJet.

Microsoft secures former Apple engineer for its server chip initiatives

Draw your own Azure conclusions.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has confirmed its hiring of semiconductor designer Mike Filippo.
  • According to Bloomberg, Filippo will be involved in the company's server-side chip efforts.
  • Filippo has worked at Apple, Intel, and Arm, among others.

Another industry heavyweight has joined Microsoft: Mike Filippo. He has history at Apple, Intel, and Arm.

Though Microsoft confirmed having hired him, his specific role has yet to be formally announced. Bloomberg's report on the matter indicates he'll be helping with Microsoft's server chip initiatives. Though Microsoft currently partners with AMD and Intel for said chips, the company could be looking to craft its own and, by extension, cut its reliance on external partners.

This all hearkens back to the question of whether Microsoft will go all-in on its own silicon. It remains to be seen, but hiring a chip veteran such as Filippo hints at some degree of a focus on homegrown semiconductor developments from the Windows 11 maker.

Filippo's departure is yet another loss for Apple, which has been seeing its manpower defect to Microsoft as well as other competitors including Meta. In fact, Meta has hurt Microsoft in this area as well, having scored some of Redmond's augmented reality experts.

Still, none of this should be a big surprise. Shakeups such as these happen often in the tech industry, and reports constantly swirl of various industry veterans and high-level suits joining former rivals. For example, Intel recently appointed the former CFO of Micron to be its CFO, though that news was dwarfed by the neighboring story that Intel had angered a U.S. senator and potentially destabilized a government funding opportunity as a result of its apologies to China. The apologies were in response to an innocuous disclaimer wherein Intel stated it doesn't operate within the Xinjiang region, a stance necessitated by U.S. sanctions pertaining to the abuse of Uyghurs in the province.

The best Razer keyboards for your gaming PC

Razer is one of the top brands for PC gamers worldwide, and among all the various products the company makes, there remains a staple at the heart of its lineup. Razer makes some of the best gaming keyboards on the planet, and a Razer keyboard is always a sound investment for your gaming setup. Whatever your specific requirements or budget, there's a keyboard for you, and these are the best Razer keyboards.

Top choice

Razer Huntsman V2 Analog gaming keyboard

Staff pick

The Huntsman Analog is the most impressive keyboard yet, and the standout feature is the adjustable actuation made possible by the latest generation optical switches. It's a game-changer that truly helps you to get the perfect feeling for yourself. Add in a redesigned wrist rest that's more comfortable than ever, integrated USB passthrough, and lashings of RGB, this is the one to get if you have the budget for it.

$200 at Amazon $200 at Best Buy

Runner-up

Razer Huntsman V2 TKL gaming keyboard

The regular Huntsman V2 comes in two sizes, but the TKL is smaller and cheaper without sacrificing any of the features. It, too, uses Razer's latest optical switches but adds in sound-dampening foam that retains the feel of the keys but reduces the noise. That means it's a perfect companion for work as well as play, and with the same frameless wrist rest and a detachable cable on top of PBT keycaps, there's a lot to love.

$160 at Amazon $160 at Best Buy

Space saver

Razer Huntsman Mini 60% gaming keyboard

60% keyboards aren't for everyone, but Razer managed to slim down its superb Huntsman into this teeny tiny form factor. You get everything you need, nothing you don't. Key functions like cursor keys are still available as secondary functions, but with either clicky or linear optical switches, the Huntsman Mini is built for performance that you can pack in a bag and take on the road.

$100 at Amazon

Green or yellow

Razer BlackWidow V3 gaming keyboard

Razer's newest BlackWidow is everything fans, and newcomers, could want in a gaming keyboard. It's well priced and has a choice of either Razer's much loved clicky green switches or the linear and silent yellow switches. It also comes with an included wrist rest, media controls, Chroma as bright as you've ever seen, and even a TKL version if you want something smaller.

$138 at Amazon $140 at Best Buy

For Xbox

Razer Turret gaming keyboard

Razer's first licensed wireless keyboard and mouse setup for the Xbox One, the Turret, is designed to not only provide first-class gaming performance but also to do it from the comfort of your sofa. You get a fully mechanical keyboard with green switches, a mouse and retractable mouse pad, a large wrist rest area, and, importantly, no wires. It's Xbox certified, but it'll also work just fine with a Windows 10 PC if you want to double up.

$250 at Amazon

Wireless gaming

Razer BlackWidow V3 Pro gaming keyboard

The BlackWidow V3 Pro is Razer's first attempt at a full-size wireless mechanical keyboard, and it's a pretty stunning thing all around. With the lights off, you can stretch nearly a month of battery life, too. You've got dedicated media keys, a volume dial, an included wrist rest, and best of all, Razer's legendary green switches for a satisfying click and fantastic feedback.

$180 at Amazon

If we had to choose ...

It's impossible to ignore the brilliance of the Razer Huntsman Analog. It's close to perfect and its innovative switch design boasts responsiveness and customization you simply don't get from most other mechanical keyboards right now.

Razer is also one of the first to offer a dedicated solution for Xbox gamers as well as PC gaming fans. The Turret is designed to be the best wireless mouse and keyboard experience on your sofa, but it's just as capable of gaming on your PC if you're looking for a single solution to both.

And then there's the BlackWidow family, with the V3 and V3 Pro offering slightly different takes, but both retaining those iconic clicky switches and great performance fans have become accustomed to.

NVIDIA to be in 'great position' to meet demand by end of 2022, says CFO

It could be easier to get your hands on a graphics card from NVIDIA by the end of this year.

What you need to know

  • NVIDIA's CFO believes the company will be able to meet demands for components in the second half of 2022.
  • It's difficult to purchase a GPU from NVIDIA or any other company at the moment due to the ongoing global chip shortage.
  • NVIDIA has secured long-term commitments to help meet the demand for components going forward.

It's been difficult to purchase the best graphics cards from NVIDIA due to the ongoing global chip shortage, but the company's CFO says that the scene could change by the second half of 2022. NVIDIA's chief financial officer, Colette Kress, discussed the company's ability to meet the demand for graphics cards and other components at the 24th Annual Needham Growth Conference (via The Register).

"We continue to try and get more supply for the latest quarter. But at the same time we are procuring supply commitments for longer term. In many cases they can be for a year out, some of the times they may be for multiple years out," Kress stated.

The CFO's comments don't just refer to the company's ability to ship graphics cards. "It's not just about what we can provide in terms of a GPU. We have to think through the entire system, the system of building a laptop, or workstation, or for example, the DGX," Kress explained. "Will all of those components and pieces be available? How do we help fuel the full ecosystem? So yes, I think we are turning into a new wave that I believe will be helpful in terms of the overall working together."

Kress explains that efforts from NVIDIA may help meet the demand, which currently exceeds the supply of available components.

"We are working, as we've mentioned, in terms of longer-term, getting that supply. In the second half of calendar '22, we believe we'll be in a great position with our overall supply in terms of our estimations of what we will need going forward," said Kress. These remarks align with NVIDIA's previous supply chain stabilization estimates.

NVIDIA has attempted to mitigate the chip shortage's effect on graphics cards by lowering the hash rate of the RTX 3080, 3070, and 3060 Ti when used for crypto mining. The company also launched CMP cards that are designed specifically for crypto mining. These moves were done in an attempt to get graphics cards built for gaming into the hands of gamers.

Review: ASUSTOR's latest ADM 4.0 is a colossal NAS OS update

ASUSTOR's NAS OS has been updated and it's more serious than ever.

A NAS operating system update isn't usually a major release, but one that changes a few things behind the scenes. Most of the popular enclosure makers, including Synology and ASUSTOR, have been working hard on refreshing their OS offerings to bring them up to date for 2022. ASUSTOR is here with ADM 4.0.

We've been playing around with the 4.0 update on the ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 AS1104T throughout the beta and the live release for many weeks now and have experienced what has been implemented. Should you update to ADM 4.0 on the best ASUSTOR NAS? Read on to find out our thoughts.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0

Bottom line: ASUSTOR did a fine job with ADM 4.0, working in a dark mode, new Web Center for hosting online properties, and refining the UI to make managing your ASUSTOR NAS enclosure easier than ever.

The Good

  • More responsive
  • Dark mode is excellent
  • Custom themes and login screen
  • Brilliant reliability
  • Amazing selection of apps

The Bad

  • Update could interfere with heavily customized systems
  • Lacks more advanced cloud-based services offered by Synology

Free at ASUSTOR

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0: Refreshed UI design

ADM 3 (left) | ADM 4 (right).

So what exactly is new in ADM 4.0, and why should you care about this NAS OS upgrade when you likely spend less than an hour each month using the web admin? There are four major improvements in version 4.0: the new dark mode, customizable themes and login page, revamped search system, and the new Web Center.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0's new dark mode looks gorgeous.

Like what Synology did with DSM 7.0, the visual switch isn't massive. You should consider the new design as an evolution rather than a revolution, but that's not a bad thing since the existing UI in ADM version 3 wasn't exactly ugly. In version 4, you're getting modern colors, sharper images, and an all-around cleaner look.

Everything is exactly where you left it before updating too, so there isn't a requirement to spend a good hour or so learning the OS for a second time. But don't worry if you're not a fan of the new look and feel since it's highly customizable. This is something Synology didn't include with DSM 7.0, but with ADM 4.0 you can switch colors and much more.

Firing up your personal settings inside the web admin will allow you to switch window styles and change between light and dark modes. The best part is the ability to create, export, or import custom themes. It's a nice touch to help personalize your NAS experience, especially if you frequently visit the web UI.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0: New features

With the new visuals out of the way, it's time to cover some of the new features that are packaged in ADM 4.0. First up is the new search system. It's really nice and one of my favorite parts of this update. Typing text into the pop-up field will now showcase live results in real-time and even allow you to preview files.

It's what you'd expect from a desktop or laptop OS and now such a system is available on ASUSTOR NAS. Should you use the NAS enclosure for storing plenty of files, this is a great way of locating specific content. The search result will pull metadata from the highlighted file too, showing dates, resolution, and more.

The Web Center is another large new feature. This lets you set up and host your own website right on the NAS enclosure. No longer will you need to fork out $5 per month for shared hosting (or more for a virtual private server). ASUSTOR makes it really easy to get started too with but a few buttons to install PHP and Apache.

The new Web Center lets you set up and run websites from your home.

After that, you just need to configure a virtual host and make sure EZ Connect is up and running. Even on the more affordable ASUSTOR DRIVESTOR 4 AS1104T, it's possible to host a WordPress website and run a blog (quite literally) from the comfort of your own home.

Other improvements include an OpenSSL update for enhanced efficiency and security, upgraded Samba with Time Machine support, better btrfs support in Linux kernel 5.4, and more.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0: How to install

Installing ASUSTOR ADM 4.0 on a new NAS is a simple process as it's the OS version that will be used on the first initiation. Should you already be up and running with a previous version of ADM, the OS is able to download and install the update from within the settings area.

How to install automatically

  1. Log into your ASUSTOR NAS.
  2. Go to Settings > ADM Update.
  3. Click on Update and head through the process.

How to install manually

  1. Go to the ASUSTOR website.
  2. Choose your NAS model from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on Download for the ADM 4.0.x OS.
  4. Log into your ASUSTOR NAS.
  5. Go to Settings > ADM Update.
  6. Click on Manual Update.
  7. Choose the downloaded ADM 4.0 file.

The NAS will then run through the installation process and will reboot. Sit back, relax, and read through the rest of this review in the meantime.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0: Competition

The main competitor for ASUSTOR and its ADM 4.0 update is Synology DSM 7.0. It's regarded by many (ourselves included) as the best NAS OS around and the latest release only cemented that praise with a refreshed UI and some handy new features.

ASUSTOR hasn't gone all-out with enhanced cloud support for various tasks, but the company has focused on perfecting the UI and the overall web admin experience. The new dark mode is welcomed and something even Synology didn't add with DSM 7.0. If all you use your NAS for is apps and other storage scenarios, you'll appreciate the changes in ADM 4.0.

Both operating systems are at the top of their game. Compared to some of the other solutions available for pre-built NAS enclosures, such as TerraMaster's TOS, there's a clear difference in quality.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0: Should you update?

You should update if ...

You want the latest OS version

The latest update to ASUSTOR ADM is a solid release for NAS owners. It's not only more responsive, but the new dark mode and other visual changes make it a vastly superior experience.

You want a more responsive UI

Custom themes, the new dark mode, and a personalized login screen make the ADM OS feel more personal. It's a considerable refresh for the UI that makes it more responsive. The new search system is a blessing for locating various things on ADM.

You should not update if ...

You have a heavily customized installation

If you've customized the ADM OS beyond what's available out-the-box within the control panel, you can expect to see ADM 4.0 break a few things. If you rely on features that are now deprecated, updating to 4.0 probably isn't wise until an alternate solution is found.

You have an old NAS

ASUSTOR has a list of supported NAS for ADM 4.0. If your NAS is considerably old, it's probably best to stick with the OS version you're on now. Hold out until the time's right for you to replace the enclosure with a newer model.

ASUSTOR's ADM 4.0 update is a welcomed release for the company's catalog of NAS enclosures. Everything is getting a dark mode these days, and it's about time NAS makers followed suit with their software. ADM 4.0 is the biggest push we've seen from ASUSTOR in some time to bring its own offering up to par with Synology.

4 out of 5

While it's not quite as feature-rich of an OS as DSM 7.0, which has some cool cloud-based apps and services available, ADM 4.0 is a great step forward and makes for a better out-the-box experience for those new to the world of NAS. The new login screen and custom theme support allow you to personalize the OS to your liking.

If you have a best NAS for home that's supported by the 4.0 update and haven't customized the OS heavily, it'll be worth updating to enjoy the latest and greatest from the company. The only reason not to update is if you modded your install, have something that isn't supported by the latest update, or own an old NAS enclosure.

ASUSTOR ADM 4.0

ADM 4.0 is the latest big release from ASUSTOR for its NAS enclosures. If you want the very best from the company for your favorite NAS, we highly recommend you give this update a try for the dark mode alone.

Free at ASUSTOR

ASUSTOR NIMBUSTOR 4 (AS5304T)

Rocking a powerful Intel Celeron processor, four drive bays, speedy 2.5Gb LAN ports, and upgradable DDR4 RAM, this is one amazing NAS enclosure.

$450 at Amazon

Patch Tuesday may have borked your Windows VPN connection capabilities

Someone patch Patch Tuesday, please.

What you need to know

  • January 2022's Windows OS Patch Tuesday brought with it a plethora of security updates for both Windows 11 and Windows 10.
  • The cumulative updates seemingly have the unintended side effect of breaking some users' L2TP VPNs.
  • The only fix right now is to uninstall the recent cumulative updates, though that'll expose you to the security risks said updates were designed to patch.

In case you missed it, January 2022's Patch Tuesday came and went, bringing with it fresh updates for Windows 11 and Windows 10. But while the updates helped alleviate Windows of numerous vulnerabilities, they've also had the unforeseen consequence of borking some PC users' VPN connections.

Windows admins over on Reddit are reporting the issue affects SonicWall and WatchGuard connections, among others (via BleepingComputer). The message users get hit with when attempting connections reads "the L2TP connection attempt failed because the security layer encountered a processing error during initial negotiations with the remote computer."

It's worth noting this unintended side effect of Patch Tuesday isn't affecting all VPN users. Rather, it's seeming to hit those using Windows' built-in VPN client.

The fix, for the time being, is straightforward, though it doesn't come from Microsoft. It's the simple strategy of uninstalling KB5009543 and KB5008876 and living without their security updates until patches come along that don't mess with VPN connections. You can uninstall the updates with an elevated command prompt. There's also a PowerShell method.

Some users are reporting issues with uninstalling the updates, saying Windows won't let them or that the updates are automatically reapplied after they're initially uninstalled.

For those who've yet to download the cumulative updates but fear for their VPN connections' stability, the question boils down to whether you want to live without the cumulative updates' numerous vulnerability fixes until Microsoft takes official action.

What's the deal with Killer Instinct?

Microsoft's painfully underrated fighting game has slipped into the shadows ... for now.

Killer Instinct is an aggressively underrated free-to-play fighting game, and remains one of the best Xbox games on consoles and PC. While it launched in a relatively slim state, developers Double Helix and Iron Galaxy worked hard to inject more content into the game, and the final result was a beefy fighting game with industry-leading net code, impressive accessibility, and a high skill cap. But sadly, it failed to make a serious dent in the small but passionate fighting game scene, faced up against titans like Super Smash Bros. and Street Fighter.

After Iron Galaxy wrapped up Season 2, Killer Instinct, sadly, hasn't seen much development at all, although Microsoft keeps the servers ticking over for those who still play.

It begs the question, though. Each platform has its "exclusive" fighting game, with PlayStation swiping Street Fighter with an exclusivity deal from Capcom, and Nintendo with its Super Smash Bros. platform fighter dominance. There are some great third-party options like Rivals of Aether, Tekken, Soulcalibur, Mortal Kombat, Brawlhalla, and others that give Xbox fighting game fans a decent spread of titles to play. But Killer Instinct could be a platform-defining experience for Xbox, with its cult classic status, originally developed by internal studio Rare.

As Microsoft looks to their classic franchises like Age of Empires and Perfect Dark for modern reboots, you have to wonder, what about Killer Instinct? Could we see it make a comeback? Should it come back? Let's recap where we are, as of January 2022.

The modern Killer Instinct scene

While Killer Instinct isn't even a blip on streaming services most days, sometimes it enjoys a renaissance where Killer Instinct fans come together for special events. The Ultra Arcade runs the semi-official Killer Instinct World Cup with Microsoft's blessing, which brings the game into focus on streaming service for brief windows, against much, much bigger games. It showcases the passion of the small, but dedicated fanbase.

Gaming influencers like Maximillian have also been calling for a revival of the franchise, with a hashtag campaign #BringBackKI that Microsoft certainly noticed, judging from conversations I've had with Xbox staff over the years.

Indeed, as recently as last summer, Xbox lead Phil Spencer commented on a podcast that the team would "like to do something" with Killer Instinct, acknowledging the fan responses and dedication to the IP.

Will that something actually translate into a game, though? Well, there are some vague hints that may be happening.

Rumors of a Killer Instinct reboot abound

During a previous XboxEra Podcast, at the 1:24:24 mark, noted Xbox caster Shpeshal Nick said that he'd heard a Killer Instinct reboot may indeed, be in the works. I haven't been able to ascertain for sure whether it's indeed true at my end, but Nick has a solid track record on his sourcing. There are some other hints that Microsoft may be exploring the fighting game scene, though.

In December, it was revealed that Microsoft had hired Mortal Kombat veteran Erin Piepergerdes to be an executive producer for Xbox Game Studios. Piepergerdes has worked on Mortal Kombat all the way back to the Midway Games days, and later Netherrealm at Warner Bros. It stands to reason that, if you were interested in building a fighting game franchise, that you might hire someone like Piepergerdes to oversee it.

I have also heard the vaguest of unsubstantiated rumors that one of Bandai Namco's fighting game development teams may be involved, although I haven't been able to independently verify that yet myself. Previously speaking at an event, someone at Xbox told me that finding a studio or building a team with the specific expertise to make a fighting game was difficult. Naturally, Bandai Namco is responsible for franchises like Soulcalibur and Tekken, and has even contributed to Smash Bros. Ultimate as well. It would make sense to get them involved if indeed Microsoft is exploring reviving the classic fighter.

Why Killer Instinct absolutely makes sense for Xbox in 2022

Will they actually do it, though? Killer Instinct could make a lot of sense for Microsoft in a cloud-oriented, Xbox Game Pass world.

Killer Instinct is among the games that work surprisingly well on Xbox Cloud Gaming, thanks to its fixed camera perspective and counterplay, in situations where latency is ideal at least. Killer Instinct would potentially be easier to develop as a "cloud-native" title, with gameplay and touch controls that adapt to the screen type and inputs being used.

All things considered, there seems to be a good argument for a modern reboot of Killer Instinct.

Modern fighting games also often take the service-driven approach, which is very much Microsoft's wheelhouse. Free-to-play can be incredibly lucrative and successful if done right. You need only look to games like League of Legends for example. Balancing accessible gameplay for the masses with the complexity fighting game communities expect is undoubtedly difficult, though. Many casual players find fighting games to be exceptionally intimidating due to the demanding skill checks implied by the genre. If Microsoft can figure out a way to reconcile casual play with capacity for high-skill play, as we often see in games like Overwatch and Fortnite, it could make it exceedingly popular. However, pulling this off well isn't easy.

Microsoft has mountains of characters it could leverage as guest characters too, and we've already seen them do it. Killer Instinct (2013) had cameos from Halo's Arbiter, Gears of War's RAAM, and Battletoads' Rash. Cross-IP inserts are a great way to advertise a title to new potential players, since they may jump in for the opportunity to play as their favorite characters. Building out a decent campaign is also a low-stakes way to get new players into the game too, easing them into fighting games mechanics to hopefully on-ramp them to online play.

All things considered, there seems to be a good argument for a modern reboot of Killer Instinct, with cloud-aware aspects for mobile devices, and cross-platform gameplay for PC, consoles, and beyond. Whether or not it'll actually happen well and truly remains to be seen, but a few of the pieces seem to be falling into place. For now, we'll just have to wait and see.

C-c-c-combo breaker

Killer Instinct

$40 at Microsoft Store Free with Xbox Game Pass

While we wait for a new entry in the Killer Instinct pantheon, the original is still live, still populated, and still bloody awesome. Play as one of dozens of characters in a battle for combo supremacy, in one of the most underrated fighting games of recent memory.

Grab the Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Wi-Fi 6 router for a low price of $50 today

The B&H DealZone is a collection of discounted items that rotates every day, and today you can get quite the bargain with the Netgear Nighthawk AX4 WI-Fi 6 router on sale for just $49.99 in the DealZone. That's an awesome low price considering the same router is going for $116 at Amazon and actually sells more regularly at a street price closer to $150. This looks like an inventory-clearing sale, which means the router might have been discontinued and the deal might not come back anytime soon. Grab it while you can.

Netgear Nighthawk AX4 router | $100 off

Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 if you haven't already. Get dual-band Wi-Fi with Gigabit ports, a USB port, and more. Use the Nighthawk app for easy network management, too.

$49.99 at B&H

At this price, considering how good this router is, you should definitely grab it if you haven't upgraded your router in a while. Especially if you haven't upgraded to Wi-Fi 6 yet, one of the best upgrades to wireless connectivity in a while. The Nighthawk AX4 is a dual-band router so you'll get both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with up to 3000 Mb/s throughput. You'll have plenty of bandwidth for all your devices.

If you don't necessarily want wireless connectivity, like with a gaming console or PC, then use one of the four Gigabit LAN ports. There's even a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port for connecting a flash drive, printer, or other device that you'd want to share on your network.

The router is supported by the Nighthawk app. That means you can configure your network, monitor it, and figure stuff out easily from your phone or mobile device. It's also smart enough to work with your smart home whether you use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Easily get a guest Wi-Fi password just by asking Alexa so you can get your visitors on your awesome new wireless network.

While this is a great Wi-Fi 6 router at a great price, we do have several other fantastic recommendations if you just want the best Wi-Fi 6 router out there.

Gartner: PC shipments will decline slightly, but stay strong for 2-3 years

A new report from Gartner reveals a decline in Chromebook demand but a strong future for PCs.

What you need to know

  • Gartner reports that 88.4M PCs shipped last quarter (-5% YoY), with 339.8M for all of 2021 (+9.9% YoY).
  • Demand for Google Chromebooks drove much of the quarterly decline.
  • Annual PC shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels for at least 2-3 years.
  • Post-pandemic, remote work, and "newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice."

Following the report from Canalys, Gartner is now confirming similar data regarding shipments of PCs from last quarter as well as the entire year of 2021, which did better than expected.

Gartner claims 88.4 million PCs were shipped in Q4 2021, a 5% year-on-year (YoY) decline, and Canalys pegged the number slightly higher at 91 million. For all of 2021, Gartner's report states 339.8 million PCs were shipped, which is very close to Canalys's 341 million.

Interestingly, Gartner suggests the reason for last quarter's decline was "modest consumer demand" for the holiday season, but also that the main driver was "the collapse in demand for Chromebooks." That theme of Chromebook demand severely crashing has been circulating since Q3 2021, when a decline of 29.8% YoY was observed, a trend that is apparently continuing.

The rest of Gartner's analysis is quite interesting. While they note this new data "likely signifies the end of the massive and unexpected growth in PC demand triggered by the pandemic," the decline "only slightly tempered the PC market's growth in 2021," which was overall positive with a nearly 10% YoY increase over 2020.

Additionally, besides some slight weakening in demand from consumers and severe drops in Chromebooks, it was supply-chain constraints that again negatively affected the numbers and OEMs:

The U.S. PC market saw its second consecutive quarter of double-digit decline during the fourth quarter of 2021, with shipments declining 24.2% year-over-year. This decrease was largely driven by weak Chromebook shipments as demand from educational institutions continued to slow. While U.S. business PC sales were generally strong due to the recovering economy and the reopening of offices, supply chain delays impacted shipment volumes, especially in the large enterprise market. The holiday season also saw weaker PC sales than in 2020 due to modest consumer demand.

Those supply chain constraints are expected to abate it won't be alleviated entirely until later in the year.

Top three (again): Lenovo, HP, and Dell

Breaking down by PC OEMs, Gartner has a similar ranking to Canalys in global PC shippers, with Lenovo in the top spot, followed by HP, Dell, Apple, and Acer.

Combining Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer, all four companies account for 72.7% of global PC shipments. That's a slight increase from 71.8% in 2020 with the same four.

Apple's PC shipments (not including iPads) accounted for 7.7% in 2021 and slightly increased from 6.9% in 2020.

Lenovo saw the most significant decline with a 12% drop for the fourth quarter of 2021 due to "slowed U.S. market, weak Chromebook demand, and supply chain issues, which impeded Lenovo's ability to supply PCs to enterprise customers."

HP, by comparison, navigated the supply chain better with only a 4% YoY decline tempered by "robust growth in the Asia Pacific market."

Dell, again, is the objective winner reporting record revenue last quarter with $28.4 billion. It did the same for Q2 2022. Gartner's numbers reflect this, noting it gained market share "notching a fifth consecutive quarter of growth." Shipment volume exceeded 17 million units for the first time in the company's history.

Gartner also breaks down the numbers to the US market, which varies from the global picture. Dell is the top shipper in the US, accounting for 28.5% of all PCs shipped last quarter, and HP was number two, Lenovo in third, and Apple in fourth.

Putting Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Acer together accounted for nearly 75% of all PCs shipped in the US for Q4 2021, down almost 5% YoY. Apple came in at 13%, up from 9.2% YoY, reflecting the accurate perception that Macbook prevalence is higher in the States than the rest of the world.

'Fundamentally changed … PC behavior'

HP Omen 45L (2022).

Finally, for forecasting, things are still looking better than anticipated. While many saw the pandemic as a temporary blip, the consensus now seems that it profoundly altered the market, resulting in the PC being more critical than ever.

Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner, notes:

"The pandemic significantly changed business and consumer PC user behavior, as people had to adopt to new ways of working and living. Post-pandemic, some of the newly established ways of using PCs will remain regular practice, such as remote or hybrid workstyles, taking online courses and communicating with friends and family online."

Because of this dramatic shift, Gartner expects the PC market to slow "for at least the next two years," but "annual shipment volumes are not expected to decline to pre-pandemic levels in that period." Just as interestingly, few, if any, believe things will go back to the way they were. Remote work and the creator/gig economy are the new normal.

That makes sense as the PC market is very mature: Most people own at least one, though increasingly at least two PCs. But, like smartphones (also a flat market), innovations around display technology, including folding screens and new form factors, will attempt to drive further adoption and increase those upgrade cycles. Things like always connected 5G PCs are also becoming increasingly important (especially in the education system), all of which should keep the PC market humming for the foreseeable future, just not at the same rate as 2020-2021.

LG's UltraGear 27-inch monitor on sale for $277 has a 240Hz refresh rate

Here's your chance to grab LG's 27GN750-B UltraGear gaming monitor down to a low price of $276.99 at Amazon. While this price is not quite as low as it was on Black Friday, it's only a few bucks more. That's some big savings considering how high it jumped up after the holiday shopping season, including a brief jump as high as $397. The monitor's more regular street price is around $316 or so, so you're realistically saving about $40 today. You can find it going this low at a couple of different retailers, too, like Newegg.

LG 27GN750-B UltraGear gaming monitor | $40 off

A solid gaming monitor with the stats you like to see: 1080p resolution, a 240Hz refresh rate, and a 1ms response time all on an IPS panel. Includes G-Sync compatibility, an adjustable stand, and more.

$276.99 at Amazon

This is a gaming monitor, and it should absolutely appeal to gamers who play shooters like Call of Duty or Halo Infinite and want a really high refresh rate. That 240Hz refresh rate is way above the average (which is usually 60Hz) and even far above the "ideal" spec most gamers look for of 144Hz. Despite that extra feature, the monitor still maintains a wonderful 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and a super fast 1ms response time. It also has an IPS panel, which means you'll get great color accuracy and strong viewing angles.

There are plenty of other features, too. It has AMD FreeSync natively, which works with your AMD graphics card to reduce screen tearing in fast-paced games and movies. Of course it's also Nvidia G-Sync compatible, which means it will work with Nvidia graphics cards from the 10xx series or later to do the same thing. It is also HDR10 compatible for HDR support, which will help enhance image quality.

Extras include an adjustable stand, a borderless design, and a USB hub that includes two USB 3.0 ports in addition to HDMI and DisplayPort connectivity.

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