Microsoft releases Windows 11 Insider Preview, attempts to defend labyrinth of hardware requirements

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The Register 28 June, 2021 - 06:53pm 40 views

How do I get Windows 11?

Most users will go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click Check for Updates. If available, you'll see Feature update to Windows 11. Click Download and install. CNETWindows 11: Price, compatibility, release date and new features for Microsoft's big update

When will Windows 11 roll out?

However, active and eligible devices will receive the Windows 11 upgrade "through the first half" of 2022. Windows 11 is due out later in 2021 and will be delivered over several months. The rollout of the upgrade to Windows 10 devices already in use today will begin in 2022 through the first half of that year. IGNWindows 11 Free Upgrades Won't Arrive Until Next Year

Can you download Windows 11?

The quickest way to get a final Windows 11 version from Microsoft will most likely be to download it manually or to - rather expensively - buy a new PC. Windows 11 will, however, be a free update for existing users and for anybody buying a PC now. Pocket-lint.comHow to download Windows 11: Here's how you'll update later in the year

Does Windows 11 require TPM?

On Friday, the company said that PCs with a TPM 2.0 chip are in fact a requirement for installing Windows 11, in contrast to earlier Microsoft documentation indicating that TPM 1.2 would be sufficient. CRNMicrosoft: Some Intel 7th Gen PCs May Support Windows 11

Microsoft on Monday released its first Windows 11 Insider Preview build (22000.51) to its Dev channel. It also took the opportunity to tackle head on the criticism it faced over the operating system's tough hardware requirements.

A Microsoft document [PDF] released last week details the hardware requirements for Windows 11. It states TPM 2.0 support is required: "All device models, lines or series must implement and be in compliance with the International Standard ISO/IE C 11889:2015 or the Trusted Computing Group TPM 2.0 Library and a component which implements the TPM 2.0 must be present and enabled by default."

At the same time, some hardware makers will be exempt from that requirement though only with Microsoft's permission. "Upon approval from Microsoft, OEM systems for special purpose commercial systems, custom order, and customer systems with a custom image are not required to ship with a TPM support enabled," the document stated.

The Register asked Microsoft to elaborate on exceptions, and a spokesperson declined to provide more detail than had been published in the Windows giant's blog post, published earlier today.

The TPM 2.0 requirement applies to all x86 and ARM64 hardware apart from Hardware-level Fault Tolerant sets of Windows Server systems, which are incompatible with TPM. Microsoft's documentation specifies that TPM 2.0 is required in servers introduced to the market from January 1, 2021 onward, which suggests older servers may get a pass if approved by Microsoft.

The TPM and Secure Boot requirements are supposed to set a high bar for security, at a time when Microsoft signed off a malicious third-party Windows driver that could snoop on users.

Microsoft's post updates its minimum system requirements for Windows 11 in an effort to clarify its statement last week that Windows Insiders who have already been installing Dev channel builds through June 24, 2021 will be allowed to continue doing so for Windows 11 "even if their PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements."

"The intention of today’s post is to acknowledge and clarify the confusion caused by our PC Health Check tool, share more details as to why we updated the system requirements for Windows 11 and set the path for how we will learn and adjust," the mega-corp said in its update.

The PC Health Check app was previously available from Microsoft's website. The app had been removed for maintenance at the time this article was filed because it confused people.

"Based on the feedback so far, we acknowledge that it was not fully prepared to share the level of detail or accuracy you expected from us on why a Windows 10 PC doesn’t meet upgrade requirements," Microsoft said. "We are temporarily removing the app so that our teams can address the feedback."

A direct download link from the Windows 11 FAQs still functions, however.

The weirdest thing about Windows 11 so far that I'm seeing is that the upgrade check returns *only* a pass or fail. Despite obviously checking for specific things internally, no more detail is given. That's really strange user-frustrating behavior. pic.twitter.com/1VMAaDS6Hj

At issue have been systems like the Microsoft Surface Studio 2, which supports TPM 2.0 yet uses an Intel seventh-generation Kaby Lake Core i7-7920HQ microprocessor from 2017 – which is not an approved processor. Even though it's recent enough to have the needed TPM support, why would it be too old to run Windows 11? Especially seeing as the Studio 2 is a Microsoft product.

Microsoft said it's confident that Intel eighth-generation Core processors, AMD Zen 2 processors, and Qualcomm 7 and 8 Series silicon will work with Windows 11. Things become more uncertain with Intel seventh-generation Core chips, and first-generation AMD Ryzen processors, which may work with preview builds though presently won't make the cut when Windows 11 reaches general release.

Some of the confusion followed from the fact that Windows Insider Program hardware requirements and the Windows 11 final build hardware requirements were not the same. As of Monday, Microsoft said it has mostly synchronized the two sets of requirements. "In support of the Windows 11 system requirements, we’ve set the bar for previewing in our Windows Insider Program to match the minimum system requirements for Windows 11, with the exception for TPM 2.0 and CPU family/model," the company said.

Currently, the minimum system requirements for Windows 11 are as follows:

So for the time being, those who have devices on the list compiled by Microsoft (AMD, Intel, Qualcomm) and participate in the Windows Insider program should be able to take the Windows 11 Insider Preview out for a spin. Those who managed to get Windows 11 Insider Preview up and running using systems not specifically endorsed by Microsoft for Windows 11 should not expect stability or compatibility in future builds.

Microsoft's latest desktop operating system brings a new look that rounds previously squared windows and adds a sense of liveliness through interaction animations.

The Start bar and the Taskbar have been revised and now sit at the center of the window bar. There's a button for Notification Center and Quick Settings in the Taskbar. File Explorer has been reworked and enhanced with context menus that developers can extend. There are also new sounds and themes, and Widgets too.

Multitasking has been enhanced with features like Snap layouts, Snap groups, and Desktops, which provide ways to organize applications and workspace environments. Docking behavior has been adjusted, there are various input and display improvements, the Settings interface has been redesigned, and the Windows setup experience has been improved. There's even Wi-Fi 6E support, for those who have a compatible Wi-Fi router.

Anticipated features like Chat with Microsoft Teams and Android apps in the Microsoft Store aren't yet available but are expected within the next few months. The operating system may be released as early as October. ®

Never mind memory errors from radiation. Another deteriorating part of the decades-old Hubble Space Telescope has found itself in a jam. This time its camera unit is once again in the middle of a clash between scientists over whether or not the galaxy NGC 1052-DF2 contains any dark matter.

When DF2 was written up in a Nature paper in 2018, the study immediately raised eyebrows. The paper concluded the galaxy was devoid of dark matter. How could that be possible?

The mysterious substance is thought to be present in all galaxies, holding together glittering stars, swirls of dust and gas, and more, giving the galaxies structure and shape. Dark matter is a crucial component in theories of galactic formation, and finding a galaxy without this hidden stuff, or a very low quantity of it, breaks all the rules. DF2 was heralded as a significant oddball.

The United States is comfortably the world’s most powerful nation when measured on “cyber capabilities that make the greatest difference to national power,” according to British think tank The International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The institute on Monday published a document titled “Cyber Capabilities and National Power: A Net Assessment” that covered 15 nations and considered the following criteria:

The United States doesn’t need a central bank digital currency (CDBC) because such a thing will not notably improve the nation’s financial system. And also, the US dollar isn't threatened by digital currencies nor other nations' CDBCs, so what's the point.

So said Randal K. Quarles, a member of the US Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and its Vice Chair for Supervision, in a speech delivered on Monday to the 113th Annual Utah Bankers Association Convention.

Quarles said one argument he hears in favor of a US CDBC – a government-created cryptocurrency, essentially – is to counter private cryptocurrencies, which he divided into two classes: stablecoins; and non-stablecoins, such as Bitcoin and other cryptoassets. As one might very well expect, the vice chair was not kind to Bitcoin, which he likened to gold inasmuch as it is scarce and its price fluctuates.

A US federal court on Monday threw out an antitrust complaint that threatened to break up Facebook.

The lawsuit, brought by the FTC, was dismissed because the judge felt the regulator had not provided sufficient evidence to back up its allegations of market abuse by the social network, and had wrongly assumed the Washington DC court would simply agree that Facebook is a monopoly.

A parallel case brought by state attorneys general, which sought to "halt Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct," was also binned.

Sponsored For the past 18 months of lockdown, 5G may well have made your life a little easier, allowing you to stream games and movies using its generous bandwidth. However, this is just scratching the surface of what 5G technology means for our work and private lives.

5G is much more than just another cellular network technology. It offers more bandwidth than previous wireless technologies plus it has lower latency and is ideal for massive Machine Type Communications. Combine all this with other world-changing technologies, from AI and autonomous vehicles to high-resolution imaging and, inevitably, the cloud, and you open up some amazing possibilities.

How amazing? To get a deep insight into how 5G is fundamentally changing business and industry, and society at large, you should check out the video Q&A, embedded below, between ZTE Corporation senior vice president Zhang Jianpeng and The Register’s Asia-Pacific editor Simon Sharwood.

Videos The China National Space Administration has released videos and pictures of its first Mars rover scooting around on the surface of the Red Planet.

Plonking a robot in one piece on Mars is no easy feat. China is only the second Earth nation to successfully pull it off after the United States. The Middle Kingdom's Zhurong rover separated from its mothership Tianwen-1 and landed last month.

Microsoft on Friday admitted it had signed malicious third-party driver code submitted for certification through its Windows Hardware Compatibility Program.

According to Microsoft, the miscreant behind the subverted driver was focused on computer game players in China, and is not the sort of nation-state-backed group that has been giving Microsoft and its enterprise customers headaches over the past few months.

The rootkit-grade software, once installed on a Windows PC, could be used to circumvent region-based restrictions in games and/or snoop on players to steal their account login credentials as they typed them in. It might be that the person behind the booby-trapped driver intended to distribute the software as a tool for bypassing location checks that also secretly spied on gamers.

Apple may be considering increasing the size of the iPad Pro’s display, with potential stretches including 14-inch and 16-inch versions, according to reports.

The rumblings have come from Bloomberg sources claiming to be privy to Apple’s engineering plans.

If Apple opts to bring the device beyond the proof-of-concept phase, the chatty people noted it would be several years before it hits shelves.

Astroboffins from Queen's University Belfast reckon the clouds that swirl around Jupiter might contain enough water to support life.

That's just one of the conclusions of a study published in Nature Astronomy which looked at the concentrations of water in planetary clouds.

They found that it isn't the quantity of water that matters for making life viable, but the effective concentration of water molecules – known as "water activity".

Amid reports of declining power levels, NASA's InSight lander looks set to keep its science instruments running for most of summer.

InSight has been on Mars since 2018 and far surpassed its original mission duration. However, despite the probe's longevity, its lifespan is dictated by the twin masters of funding and power. The former is set to run until the end of 2022 as part of a two-year mission extension. The latter, however, is proving a challenge as dust accumulates on the lander's solar panels.

The head of the UK's competition regulator said the body planned to "come down like a ton of bricks" on anyone attempting to stifle the country's economic recovery.

Jonathan Scott, chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), said the nation was now ready to "step up and fulfil the regulatory role previously held by the European Commission."

Addressing the Law Society last week, Scott said: "Now we are out of the Transition Period, we are carrying responsibility for the biggest and most complex competition and merger investigations which previously would have been the exclusive preserve of the European Commission.

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Windows 11: Microsoft reaffirms the importance of PCs

USA TODAY 29 June, 2021 - 02:38am

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that PCs are not only here to stay, but they’re also arguably more important than they’ve ever been.

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Even Microsoft didn’t think things were going to go this way. After all, when it released Windows 10 back in 2015, the company said it was going to be the last version of Windows. Clearly, however, things have changed.

The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that PCs are not only here to stay, but they’re also arguably more important than they’ve ever been. In fact, though chip shortages may keep the end of year numbers lower than they might have otherwise been, many PC industry observers believe 2021 could have been (and might still be) the biggest year of PC shipments in the nearly 40-year history of the category.

Given this robust return to relevance, it’s also not the least bit surprising that Microsoft chose to keep the Windows operating system – which powers about 90% of the world’s PCs – as fresh and modern as it could with the announcement of Windows 11. In fact, at the end of the Windows 11 launch event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described Windows 11 as “the first version of a new era of Windows.” In other words, it’s clearly not the last version either.

What’s great about Windows 11 is that not only is it a very attractive looking refresh of Windows, with important but easily accessible enhancements to the basic user interface, it’s also an incredibly strong statement about the ongoing importance of PCs and the PC market. Practically speaking, as with virtually every other Windows OS update, Windows 11 provides a good reason for people to look at upgrading their existing PCs – or to make a new purchase.

Between the move to hybrid work environments, the recognized importance of remote learning, and even the Jetsons-like ability to easily partake in video calls with family, friends and colleagues, having a connected, modern PC per person (and not just per household) has never been more important. With Win11, Microsoft is acknowledging that importance, while at the same time making adjustments to accommodate the different ways we now think about and use PCs.

Integrating the Chat functions for Teams directly into the Windows 11 Start bar, for example, provides a good example of this new thinking. Of course, fans of Zoom, Google Meet, Webex and other videoconferencing and collaboration platforms may have a different opinion on this point. However, building support for multiple methods of modern communications directly into the OS clearly shows that Microsoft has adjusted its thinking on how people use PCs. (Plus, the company hinted at the possibility of letting other platforms get access to the same level of integration in the future, but we’ll see how that plays out.)

The ability to run Android applications on Windows – in part via a collaborative effort with Amazon’s Android app store – also highlights the shifting usage pattern of PCs. Microsoft first introduced better smartphone to PC integration with the Your Phone app a few years back. The Android support on Windows 11, however, takes things to a new level. To put it simply, it should make your Android-based smartphone and Windows 11-based PC work much better together.

Another important change in how many people have been using PCs is by connecting to large monitors, especially those who are doing work at home. Thankfully, Microsoft made some important changes to accommodate this in Windows 11 through features called Snap Views and Desktops. What Snap basically does is allow you to freely connect laptop PCs (or desktops) to monitors of various sizes and have your application windows automatically adjust and take best advantage of the improved screen real estate.

Desktops extend the capability by letting you save various combinations of Windows settings, backgrounds, and more to move from, say, work mode to personal mode or school mode and back. Though that may sound simple and somewhat trivial, I can tell you unequivocally as a user of a large widescreen monitor since right before the pandemic, it makes a surprisingly large impact on productivity and the overall usefulness of Windows.

From a business model perspective, Microsoft also made some important statements about where it believes things should be going in the computing market. For one, the company made it clear that Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for consumers and that, while new PCs with OS installed will arrive by this holiday season, most PCs from about the last 5 years or so will be upgradeable from Windows 10 to Windows 11 at no cost. (The fact that all Windows 10 apps are expected to be compatible with Windows 11 certainly helps.)

In addition, for application developers, Microsoft clearly threw down the gauntlet versus Apple, and even Google to some degree, by saying that for software companies that have their own commerce engine, Microsoft will charge no fees at all when their apps are purchased in the “enhanced for Windows 11” Microsoft Store. Companies that don’t have that can use Microsoft’s commerce engine, but they’ll only be charged 15%--half of what Apple currently charges its developers.

Realistically, these better business terms aren’t going to get app developers to dramatically change their strategies and abandon efforts on other platforms. However, it is one of many steps that Microsoft is taking to try and make the 1.3 billion installed base of Windows devices as attractive as possible.

Ultimately, the question of whether or not consumers choose to upgrade their existing Windows 10 PCs, buy new Windows 11-based machines or do nothing at all will come down to people deciding how important PCs are in their personal and professional lives. The good news is, by providing some new flash and substance to the PC computing experience, Microsoft is offering Windows 11 as a powerful incentive to make that decision a fair bit easier. 

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

How to check if your PC has a TPM (trusted platform module)

Phandroid - News for Android 29 June, 2021 - 02:38am

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A TPM is a tiny chip that resides on your computer’s motherboard. This is where your system can check as to whether or not the boot up process of your computer has been tampered with. It is also used to store encryption keys, and it is also used by applications like Windows 10’s BitLocker to help encrypt and decrypt the hard drive.

Basically it is a small piece of hardware that is designed to help better protect your computer against security threats.

Now, if you encountered the error that says a compatible TPM cannot be found, don’t worry. While on one hand it could mean that your computer really does not have a TPM, there is also a chance that your computer could have it but it might have been disabled, so you’ll have to enable it manually.

The bad news is that you’ll have to enter your computer’s BIOS to make the changes, and since each BIOS is laid out differently from manufacturer to manufacturer, it’s hard to say where the settings can be found.

Usually it should be under Advanced or Security, but if your BIOS allows you to search, then do a search for TPM. Alternatively if nothing shows up, you can also search for “PTT” for Intel based computers or “FTPM” for AMD. Once you’ve enabled it, boot back to Windows and you should be all set.

Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for those coming from Windows 10 and is expected to begin rolling out towards the end of the year during the holiday season.

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