Hello August, we have Summer Olympic 2020 playing right now in 2021, nobody would guess that from the last Olympics. While we are still catching up on what we’ve missed in 2020, 2021 summer sure feels more like another summer. As we slowly moving on from this pandemic, the sign of life is flourishing. As usual, we brought you this week’s wallpaper theme from Smashing Magazine, enjoy.
Recently I upgraded my motherboard (to MSI Gaming Plus Max b450) with a newer chipset to have better support my previous upgraded Ryzen 3700X CPU. Obviously, when you ‘upgrade’ a motherboard, it’s rather a full new build again just with existing parts and that the only scenario you are expecting is everything turns back on and hopes it works again. Sadly this isn’t the case, and it is by far the most frustrating build I’ve done!
I hope this tip can save you endless re-tries or hours of reading and watching videos online or even making the wrong decision to RMA your motherboard when things don’t work out.
So what doesn’t work out?
Unlike what this motherboard’s name suggests, I don’t plan to use it for gaming. I need it to speed up my daily work, and my work involves running docker containers and running virtualized OS. And by default, the setting for AMD’s Ryzen virtualization technology (SVM mode) is disabled.
So let’s enable it in the BIOS. But you will soon realize if you follow most other guide out there by going to Advanced > OC > Other Settings > (looking for CPU features). The setting is missing from my motherboard. What?!
Long story short, after more digging and countless BIOS version flash, the answer lies in the above menu. The SVM mode setting has been moved under OC > Overclocking > Advanced CPU Configurations.
This is where you can change the SVM Mode from Disabled to Enabled.
I hope this solves your issue of enabling virtualization with the MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max motherboard. Unfortunately, there are more headaches for me with this motherboard that I have yet to figure out. The board would sometimes think CPU is not detected. As a result, nothing boots up.
Windows 10 introduced Windows Hello to provide a better and faster way to log in to Windows 10 biometrically. There are two main methods to invoke Windows Hello. One is with a biometric fingerprint scanner, and the other uses a compatible webcam to use facial recognition to log in.
We will look at the latter today simply because there are more options out there for you to upgrade and experience on an existing Windows device that lacks this feature. Having said that, there are USB keyboards out there that come with a fingerprint reader, or you can always purchase a dedicated fingerprint reader for that purpose.
The benefit of selecting a webcam with Windows Hello is it has more than one function. The webcam has played a prominent role during the pandemic. Even as we are heading to this post-pandemic area, remote working has been greatly accepted in more industries and companies. That makes it even more important to select a webcam that gives you a great picture quality and additional features like Windows Hello.
Under the hood, Microsoft requires a webcam to have infrared, so it can see your face and unlock Windows even in the pitch dark. The unlock mechanism is a very different implementation (technology) compare to what Apple did since their iPhone 10 lineup. Recently there have been hackers that tricked and bypassed facial recognition with two well-detailed pictures. It’s, in theory, possible by difficult to pull it off in the real world.
To set up Windows Hello, first, you need a compatible webcam that supports this and has a built-in IR. Next, go to Settings > Sign-in options.
Select Windows Hello Face
If you do have a compatible webcam, Windows will detect and walk you through the setup wizard.
Windows Hello Face Login Worth It?
Ever since I started using Windows Hello to log in, I’ve noticed, this is actually way more accurate and way more reliable than a traditional keyboard passphrase. By accurate, I mean less error rate when it comes to typing the wrong password. Even when you’ve done it thousands of times and have them mechanically memorized. There is still a chance you could have the wrong combination or accidentally have the keyboard caps locked. It offers you a slice of convenience, but this can add up and ensure you can have a great start to your day by getting your login to your system promptly and quickly. If you are on the market to add a webcam, worth consider selecting those that support Windows Hello in addition to the picture qualities and other features you might be looking for.
The consumer custom builds markets, especially with new gaming builds; more and more systems are opt-in with an AMD Ryzen based desktop. Little you might not know while it’s best to download and keep your manufacturer’s motherboard’s driver and utilities updated. There is one driver you should get from the AMD website itself that’s the chipset driver.
One of the biggest benefits of installing an AMD chipset driver is it adds a new power plan to your Windows 10 – AMD Ryzen Balanced.
Do not get fooled by the name; you’d think, why would you want a balanced power plan when you can select the High-performance power plan that Microsoft offers in every Windows 10. The fact is AMD’s Ryzen Balanced power plan offers better performance than the built-in Windows 10 high-performance mode.
The type of performance comes in both the power consumption as well as peak outputs. With the AMD Ryzen Balanced power plan, when your PC is idle, it will turn off more cores and keep the cores that are on at a higher clock speed. At the same time, Microsoft’s Balance mode would keep all the cores on but lower each core’s clock speed. The result is both lower power consumption and higher performance when it needs to crank up the power. AMD Ryzen’s Balanced power plan has a faster reaction time when it needs to change the clock speed than the default plan, according to AMD’s source.
If you have an AMD Ryzen CPU, be sure to grab yourself the latest chipset driver from AMD’s website here.
Microsoft still lacks the equivalent of Preview in Windows. As PDF files are more ubiquitous, the need to create PDFs and making minor annotations or arrange orders becomes increasingly desired. Microsoft has yet to create an app that can compete or offer similar features as Apple’s Preview.
One of the most common tasks is combining and merging multiple photos (scanned JPGs) into a single PDF. If you Google, there are plenty of tools out there that provide this functionality, but would it be great if you can achieve those without any additional tools? In fact, you can, natively, with Windows Explorer.
You can merge multiple images into a single PDF in Windows without any third-party tools. To do this, all you need to do is select multiple images and right-click> Print > Microsoft Print to PDF.
You have the option to change rotations, fit to the page or not. As well as the ability to merge multiple pictures into a single-page PDF.
How to arrange the order of photos in PDF
The biggest ‘hidden’ trick to master this technique is that you have to have the photos arranged in the order you want before ‘printing.’ As there is no ability to alter the order of that page once you are prompt with the preview. The order of which page is determined by which first photo you right-click and all subsequent image’s order following that page.
You can either use the built-in Windows explore to sort the list by existing attributes, or you can rename all the files in a way that will satisfy your order. I hope you find this tip useful. I sure learned some tricks when messing with this.
Windows 11 is all about UI improvements and that includes a new Context Menu.
Why the change?
First off, the menu is much shorter.
Second off, all common commands, such as cut, copy/paste, rename, delete, or share, are now placed right next to where the menu is invoked. It could be at the top of the menu. Or it could also be at the bottom of it, whichever is closer to the cursor.
Then, Open and Open With are grouped together. When the file you are trying to open isn’t associated with any registered App, Open With will automatically pop up instead.
Or, Open With will also show up right next to Open when the file can be opened by multiple apps.
Lastly, when there is a need to open the classic Windows 10 context menu, Show more options is your friend.
Or highlight the file and press Shift + F10 or the keyboard Menu key.
And that’s where I get the Edit option to modify my Remote Desktop Connection file.
Checking, reading, and sending emails, or even checking your calendars right on the Edge’s toolbar without opening Outlook could be convenient for many of us. With the Microsoft Outlook browser extension, now you can.
It’s still currently in the Preview stage but if you want to check it out, head out to its Extension page and install the Extension on your Edge browser.
You will see a little Outlook icon showing up on your toolbar after the installation. Click it and sign in from there.
The sign-in process follows the standard Microsoft Account sign-in process. You will need to pass 2FA as well if it’s enabled in your account. It supports both Microsoft Account and Office 365 accounts
Once login, a mini version of Outlook web will be showing up in the same pullout window.
Within the little popout window, you can do all normal Outlook tasks as you do on your Outlook web. You can switch to Calendar, Contacts, and Todos from the bottom of the window too. The experience will pretty much be the same.
To sign out, click the hamburger icon and the Signout link.
Overall, it works quite smoothly. It’s an extension that is worth keeping in my Edge browser.
Currently, it’s only available for Edge but the Chrome version is on its way as well.
One of the users’ mailboxes got out of space the other day. After doing a bit of digging, here is what I found.
And that’s right. One of the tasks with too many attachments kept failing to sync back to the server and it quickly ate all the space left under his account.
If you have used Outlook before, you know how painful it is to clean up 49GB of data out of any folder. And here is a quick tip for those who just want a quick way to clean up space so they can be back to work right away.
Unfortunately, Outlook is not up for the task. We will be using Outlook web instead.
Log into Outlook online, click the Gear icon and choose View all Outlook settings.
In the General, tab, click the Storage tab. You will see the list of folders on the right that have the most data in there. Click the Empty button next to the folder you want to clean up and pick the option of All, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months or older.
One-click. That’s all they need and Outlook online will take care of the rest.
I’ve been using Task Manager since almost the day I started using Windows. I’ve used it to troubleshoot countless computer problems and kill so many processes along the way. But I wish I could know this trick a long time ago.
You can freeze the Task Manager values by holding down the Ctrl key.
And thanks to Reddit for teaching me a useful trick I should have known years ago. I bet you will too.
Now, to catch the process that uses the most CPU power, I can switch over to the Details tab in Task Manager, hold down the Ctrl key, and click the CPU tab. No more jump up and down, easy to catch the bad guy and kill right there.
With the value being paused, it’s also easy to take a screenshot of the values for troubleshooting purposes.
Note that you can also use the F5 to refresh the values too. Yes, the Task Manager does refresh itself to get the almost real-time value but pressing the F5 key would refresh the values right away without waiting for the next cycle.
What’s even better, pressing and holding down the F5 key will keep refreshing the Task Manager until you are done.
A friend of mine wants to protect the data on his computer so I suggest using BitLocker to encrypt the whole hard drive. But his Windows 10 is only a Home edition that doesn’t have the business features such as BitLocker. Luckily, that didn’t stop him from using it. He took out the wallet and paid right there in the Activation window to upgrade his Windows 10 to Pro edition.
Things went well mostly until it’s failed, with an error code 0xC004C003.
Restart didn’t help. The troubleshoot button there did nothing either.
A quick Google search tells me that this is actually another Windows update that messed up the registry hive responsible for Windows Activation.
But the solution for either removing the update or installing a new one didn’t actually make the Windows activated.
What ended up working is the generic Windows 10 product key that reactivated the Windows.
In Setting’s Activation window, click the Change product key link and type in the following key to get your Windows reactivated.
Note that, the key listed above is a generic Windows 10 key that will be used only to reactivate your Windows. Your copy of Windows will still be checked based on the keys embedded in the BIOS and your Microsoft Account used for purchasing the upgrade license.
Once done, also run the following command in an elevated Command Prompt window to make sure your Windows is permanently activated.
Something nice is on its way to Windows. Something vivid, and something fun, really fun to use. According to this Microsoft’s Design post, more than 1800+ emojis will be replaced by another sea of icons that are not only moving but in the 3D format as well.
Here are 5 brand new emojis that look so cute.
And here are also some concept sketches that capture the new hybrid world.
Aren’t they fun to watch and will put a smile on your face when someone sends you one of those.
And how about the newly designed Clippy?
One thing I always wanted in Windows 10 is a nice collection of emojis that can represent my feelings whenever I use them. But often time they fall short. Now, hopefully, I can finally enjoy them.
According to Microsoft, this new set of emojis will come to Teams and Windows this holiday season, with Yammer, Outlook, and more lighting up throughout 2022.
Streaming a version of Windows 10 or 11 right from the cloud is what Microsoft wants to do in this case. Imaging, running a version of Windows with all the apps, data, and settings across any major platform available on the market, how easy and convenient would that be, to all of us?
That’s exactly what Windows 365 Cloud PC does.
It’s basically an Azure virtual desktop that can be accessed directly from any modern web browser or through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop. If you have used RDP as your remote access tool, this is not much different. Instead of accessing your windows from your work, you are accessing it right from Azure’s cloud service.
That said, you will still need a bare minimum PC hardware to access your cloud PC. The difference is, that PC now can be a Linux, a Mac, or a tablet.
Windows 365 will only available for business when it launches on August 2nd when the pricing will be revealed.
There will be two editions of Windows 365: business and enterprise, both powered by Azure Virtual Desktop. Individual cloud PC can be configured from a single CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage all the way to 8 CPUs, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage, with 12 different configurations in between.
Windows will be everywhere, folks. That’s the future Microsoft is planning on for us.
July is a month that we celebrate the birth of two major countries in North American, the place we call home. Canada day (July 1st) and 4th of July, American Independence Day. I’m sure to many of you July means something else, because of that we have fully packed wallpaper themes for your desktop to have a fresh new look. As usual, we brought you this month’s wallpaper themes from Smashing Magazine, enjoy!
PowerToys is getting quite some attention from the rest of the pro consumers and us. We covered new features that are offered from PowerToys that would improve and increase your productivity here before. This next feature is arguably going to be the most requested or used feature since COVID. Now with a set of Windows keyboard shortcuts, you can globally mute and unmute or toggle on or off video for any video conference apps.
The latest version of PowerToys added a new feature to allow you to globally turn on and off audio and video with a single keystroke.
⊞ Win+N to toggle both Audio and Video at the same time
⊞ Win+Shift+A to toggle microphone
⊞ Win+Shift+O to toggle video
Under the hood, Microsoft didn’t bother to make it ‘work’ with Google Meet, Teams, Slack or any other apps that use your webcam and microphone.
Normally if a camera stops working, the application using it tends not to recover until the API does a full reset. To toggle the global privacy camera on and off while using the camera in an application, typically, it will crash and not recover. This is also why you won’t be able sometimes to use your webcam in multiple applications simultaneously.
So, how does PowerToys handle this so you can keep streaming?
Audio: PowerToys uses the global microphone mute API in Windows. Apps should recover when this is toggled on and off.
Video: PowerToys has a virtual driver for the camera. The video is routed through the driver and back to the application. Selecting the Video Conference Mute shortcut key stops video from streaming, but the application still thinks it is receiving video, the video is just replaced with black or the image placeholder you’ve saved in the settings.
For more details checkout this post where it went on for more details how this new trick is going to work. As long as you have a Windows 10 version 1903 (build 18362) or higher this utility will work.
With any new OS, especially Windows, your daily workstation you want to try the new one in a virtual machine environment before upgrading them to replace as your main daily driver. With that said, the only way right now to experience a Windows 11 preview release is by upgrading via a Windows 10 Insider Preview.
If you are on the latest Dev channel of Windows 10 Insider build, you will automatically be updated to this latest Windows 11 build.
Once installed you don’t even need to login with your MS account, I was able to upgrade a local account just fine. All you need to do is keep Windows Update up to date. With any luck you should see “Windows 11 Insider Preview 10.0.22000.51” is installing.
Once that’s done you just need to hit the restart.
Note make sure your VM is running with the basic compatible virtualized hardware. I forgot to have mine setup with the proper number of CPU cores.
With any luck, you should be able to see a new login screen and hear a new boot-up sound. It’s highly recommended to enable virtual graphic acceleration. Whether you are using Virtualbox or Window’s built-in Hyper-V, any existing virtualization platform that runs Windows 10 should be able to run this and does the trick.
What you get from this version of preview as expected comes with bunch of limited functionalities. For instance, you don’t have a way to run Android apps yet, that’s coming later in future version of Windows 11 insider preview. It’s expected that by the end of this year we should see a version of Windows 11 that allows us to run that ‘smoothly’. I’m very much looking forward to that day and can’t wait to test it out.
Microsoft announced Windows 11 last week, and the biggest news isn’t a new version of Windows. We all know that’s coming, but what’s surprising is that Microsoft will allow Android apps to run on Windows 11. They purposely saved this part of the announcement towards the end of the event. Much like Apple’s “one more thing.” The key takeaway is that Windows 11 will come with an Amazon Marketplace to download and install Android apps.
Microsoft has not detailed exactly how Android apps are running in Windows 11. Only have press news referring to Intel’s Bridge technology to help Microsoft realize the ability to run Android apps with Windows 11. It should also be noted that running Android apps is not limited to Intel; AMD also supports it. It will be very interesting to find how if Windows 11 ARM supports the Android app. In theory, it should, but we have not heard any or seen any evidence of that.
What it means
Obviously, the choice of partnering with Amazon instead of Google is deliberate. Given Google created Android OS, Microsoft can run the app that bypasses the android OS platform entirely suggests they still have the ambition to pursue the mobile platform. And they see Google as their direct competitor in this market.
If Microsoft can make Android apps running seamlessly inside Windows 11, this opens the door for it to make a comeback to your phone. Imagine a distant future where your phone runs Windows, and all your apps are just there regardless if it’s a desktop or mobile device running on the palm of your hand.
We know that the Android app in Windows 11 isn’t running under some traditional emulator that runs Android. Because we have emulator apps that allow the user to run Android apps ever since the inception of Android, what Microsoft is offering here has to be something better than that, something more ‘native.’ Much like how Microsoft was able to bring Linux kernel in WSL, the same pattern can be applied with Android. The biggest challenge will be on the CPU instruction set ARM vs x86. As of today, Microsoft has announced ARM64EC new ways to build ‘native’ ARM apps.
Now combine this with all the groundwork Microsoft has laid with WSL/WSL2 with Windows 10. The future of Windows is really a meta OS where you can run any app, just not Apple’s. Windows has a Linux kernel running inside each Windows 10 if WSL is enabled. Microsoft is making improvements to its WSL platform for each release of Windows 10. Just recently, Microsoft introduced WSLg, where you can now add GUI to your Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Where does this take us from here? Microsoft definitely sees what Apple’s M1 enabled them to do with their ecosystem. The ability to run Android apps on Windows 11 is a part of the answerback. But I think this can be a trojan horse whose main goal is to deaminate the Operating System market once and for all.
Ever since WSL and subsequent major improvements with WSL2 in Windows 10. Running Linux apps in Windows has become a reality increasingly. If you are messing with the command line interface, most of the toolchains are now fully functional with WSL2. However, using Linux as a traditional desktop GUI out-of-the-box WSL2 experience does not allow you to have a GUI. I showed you some ways to enable WSL2 GUI with RDP last year. Now there are better and more native ways that you can run GUI apps with WSL2.
Microsoft introduced WSLg (g, stands for graphic interface) where it enables you to run GUI Linux apps straight from WSL2.
You need Windows 10 Insider Preview to build 21362+ or higher to enable and try this out. And because you want to run GUI apps, depends on the type of GUI application, you need supports from your GPU driver.
If you already have WSL2 installed all you need to do is
Once it’s update updating, you need to restart WSL or simply run
This will restart the WSL service.
Depends on the distro you have installed you can try apps like
sudo apt install gedit -y
To launch gedit GUI editor as an example. Below is a full example demonstrating the power of WSLg.
Under the hood it’s running FreeRDP
Weston leverages FreeRDP to implement its backend RDP Server. FreeRDP is used to encode all communications going from the RDP Server (in Weston) to the RDP Client (mstsc on Windows) according to the RDP protocol specifications. It is also used to decode all traffic coming from the RDP Client into the RDP server.
This means if you want to RDP into WSL2 with WSLg upgrade it would be possible as well. For more details check out Microsoft’s dev blog post here.
The toys are slowly piling up in PowerToy’s collection. The new member in town, called Awake, is a utility tool that keeps a computer awake on-demand without having to manage its power settings. It can be helpful when running long time-consuming tasks while ensuring that your PC doesn’t not go to sleep or turn off its screens.