Sean Endicott

The latest Windows 11 build brings the Teams Chat app, but will you use it?

The new Chat app brings Microsoft Teams for consumers right to the Taskbar, but will you actually use it?

Microsoft’s latest build of Windows 11, build 22000.100, brings support for the new Chat experience powered by Teams. The feature allows people to quickly access Microsoft Teams for consumers from the Windows 11 Taskbar. We want to know if you’ll use the new Chat app or leave it untouched in the Taskbar.

The Chat app replaces Skype as the default in-box chat app for Windows. It’s yet to be seen if that means anything to the average user. Skype being the default in-box chat app for Windows to this point hasn’t stopped anyone from using WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, or any other popular messaging service.

Will you use the Chat app in Windows 11?

Unlike the Microsoft Teams that many will be familiar with from school or business settings, the new Chat app is powered by the consumer version of Teams. This is aimed at everyday use for people communicating with friends an…

Intel beats Q2 expectations following 33% increase in PC unit sales

Intel beat its own expectations and those of experts following an increase in PC unit sales.

What you need to know

Intel reported a 33% uptick in PC unit sales in Q2 compared to the same quarter last year.
The company beat its expectations and those of experts in Q2.
Despite beating expectations, Intel’s stock fell by 2% due to guidance regarding the third quarter of this year.

Intel shared its second quarter earnings yesterday (via CNBC). The company saw a 33% increase in PC unit sales, which helped it beat its own expectations for the quarter. Intel also passed the expectations of experts for Q2 2021.

“Our second-quarter results show that our momentum is building, our execution is improving, and customers continue to choose us for leadership products,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Despite the increase in PC sales and passing expectations, Intel’s stock dropped by 2% following the report. That drop was likely due to Intel guiding its non-GAAP margins to 55% in Q3 compared t…

You can sign up to test this tabbed file explorer on Windows 11

Files is a file explorer with support for tabs, and it’s about to get a big update to fit right in on Windows 11.

What you need to know

Signups are open to test out a file explorer with tabs called Files v2.
The app will soon receive a refreshed look with icons and a design to match Windows 11.
You can already download Files without being a tester, but it will have a look more in line with Windows 10.

Windows 11 features a redesigned file explorer, but it doesn’t have tabs as many people had hoped. A third-party file explorer called Files features tabs and is about to get a big update. You can sign up to test Files v2 now.

When I wrote about how to get a tabbed file explorer on Windows 11, many asked how to get a version with the refreshed look. Right now, Files looks like the first image shown below, but its developers hope to roll out its new look in the next couple of weeks.

The new look is similar to the one I showed off earlier this month, but it has some updated icons an…

Check out Windows 11 build 22000.100 in our latest build video

The latest Insider build of Windows 11 brings support for the Chat experience powered by Microsoft Teams.

What you need to know

Windows 11 build 22000.100 recently rolled out to Insiders in the Dev Channel.
The build brings support for the new Chat experience powered by Microsoft Teams.
Our senior editor Zac Bowden runs through the build in his latest hands-on video.

Windows 11 build 22000.100 rolled out recently to Insiders in the Dev Channel. The build brings support for the Chat experience powered by Microsoft Teams and a number of other changes and improvements. Our senior editor Zac Bowden goes through the changes in his latest hands-on video.

Here are some of the features that Bowden breaks down:

More rounded corners in the Taskbar.
Updates to the Widgets panel.
New animations in the Microsoft Store.
Improved context menus within Microsoft Edge, File Explorer, and other areas of Windows 11.
The Chat experience powered by Microsoft Teams.

Here’s everything that’s new…

Who needs a PC case when you can buy a gaming … bicycle?

You don’t have to leave your gaming PC at home. Instead, you can attach it to a bicycle.

What you need to know

Yolenzo built a gaming bicycle powered by an NVIDIA RTX 3070.
The bicycle can run Cyberpunk 2077 and other modern games.
Yolenzo claims that it’s the ‘world’s first computer bicycle.’

The best PC cases may be the traditional way to house a powerful GPU like the NVIDIA RTX 3070, but Yolenzo decided to take a different route. The company created the Exo Giga Bike, which is a fully functional bicycle that’s also a gaming PC. We’re not sure if there’s a lot of competition in that space, but Yolenzo says that the Exo Giga Bike is the ‘world’s first computer bicycle.’

While the form factor may seem funny, the bike’s specs are nothing to laugh at. It runs on an Intel Core i5-11600KF, has 16GB of RAM, and runs on a GIGABYTE RTX 3070, which is one of the best GPUs. AORUS says that the gaming bike can run Cyberpunk 2077. Presumably, it can also run Doom.

It’s important to …

Microsoft Edge Canary quantifies how Sleeping Tabs saves system resources

We already knew Sleeping Tabs on Edge saved system resources, but the browser now attaches a figure to the feature.

What you need to know

Microsoft Edge Canary now shows an estimate for how much the Sleeping Tabs feature saves PC resources.
Sleeping Tabs reduce the processing power and RAM used by your PC by freezing tabs.
By using less of your system’s resources, the Sleeping Tabs feature can help your PC get better battery life.

Microsoft Edge Canary now quantifies how much Sleeping Tabs save PC resources. A new feature spotted by Leo Varela on Reddit adds an indicator that shows the estimated system savings that come from putting a tab to sleep. Varela was only able to use the feature on Microsoft Edge Canary at this time.

Microsoft Edge’s Sleeping Tabs feature freezes tabs when they’re not in use. As a result, these tabs use less processing power and RAM than active tabs. By using less of your system’s resources, the Edge browser drains less of your PC’s battery.

The new f…

Zoom Apps and Events bolster the platform’s abilities for business

The latest addition to Zoom makes it a much more capable tool for productivity.

What you need to know

Zoom’s latest update brings support for Zoom Apps for meetings.
These apps can integrate directly with Zoom meetings to improve productivity.
Microsoft Teams recently expanded support for Teams apps built for meetings.
Support for Zoom Events also rolls out this week.

Zoom just greatly expanded the capabilities of its meetings by launching Zoom Apps for meetings. Zoom already had integrations with 1,500 apps, but Zoom apps allow people to integrate third-party apps directly with Zoom. There are over 50 Zoom apps available at the moment, including Asana, SurveyMonkey Enterprise, and Dropbox Spaces.

Support for Zoom Apps comes with version 5.7.3 or higher of the desktop client. The update’s changelog lists just a single addition, though it is a sizeable one:

Introducing Zoom Apps for meetings – Windows, macOS –

Zoom Apps combine your favorite apps with the power of video…

Akamai outages takes down Steam, LastPass, PlayStation Network, and more

A DNS outage appears to be the cause of a long list of big websites going down.

What you need to know

Several major websites are down right now due to an Akamai outage.
Steam, PlayStation Network, Amazon, HBO Max, and many other websites are down.
This is a developing story, and we’ll update it as more information becomes available.

Updated July 22, 2021 at 1 PM ET: Based on Downdetector, some sites appear to be back online. Reports of issues for the affected websites started dropping dramatically around 12:43 PM ET.

Steam, LastPass, PlayStation Network, and many major websites are down following an Akamai outage. The outage also affects several Apple services, including iCloud Backup, iCloud Mail, and iCloud Storage Upgrades.

The outage affects more than just tech sites. Fidelity, UPS, AirBnB, The Home Depot, Southwest, and many other sites went down due to the DNS outage. Multiple financial websites are also affected, including PNC, CapitalOne, Chase, USAA, Discover, and US …

Discord threads are on the way to keep conversations organized

Discord threads work like temporary sub-channels and look like a perfect way to organize conversations.

What you need to know

Discord will soon support threads, though there isn’t a confirmed release date at this time.
Threads will work like temporary sub-channels that allow people to discuss a topic or organize a conversation.
The feature differs from replies, which rolled out in November 2020.

Discord will soon support threads, adding a new way to organize conversations within the app. These should reduce clutter and make it much easier to follow along within channels that include a lot of people. Discord breaks down the new feature on a Developer Portal page (via TechRadar).

Threads in Discord will work differently than what’s seen in other chat applications. The page on the Discord Developer Portal discussing threads explains that they “can be thought of as temporary sub-channels inside an existing channel, to help better organize conversation in a busy channel.”

This is i…

OWC launches the ‘the fastest and most reliable’ SSD you can buy

OWC says that the Envoy Pro SX SSD has “the fastest and most reliable performance available in a portable drive ” on the market.

What you need to know

OWC announced the Envoy Pro SX SSD today.
The SSD gets read/write speeds up to 2,847 MB/s.
It’s also water-resistant and has been tested for drops up to four feet.

All of the best SSDs are fast, but not all of them are durable. The newly announced OWC Envoy Pro SX SSD delivers read/write speeds up to 2,847 MB/s and is also water-resistant. On top of that, the new SSD was dropped 25 times from different angles from a height of four feet by a third-party for testing.

The OWC Envoy Pro SX 240GB is available now, starting at $199 for the 240GB model. The 480GB ($249), 1TB ($349), and 2TB ($529) models are also on sale.

OWC claims that the Envoy Pro SX delivers the “fastest and most reliable performance available in a portable drive.”

The read/write speeds of up to 2,847 were hit by a 4TB SSD, according to OWC. Before purchasing a…

Mid-range Surface Laptop Go is only $50 more than base model right now

The Surface Laptop Go with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is only $50 more than the base model right now.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go is a compact PC and the smallest member of the Surface family. It weighs just 2.45 lbs (1.1 kg) and is one of the best Surface PCs. Right now, you can pick up the Intel Core i5 version of the Surface Laptop Go with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for only $600. That’s $100 off of its normal price and only $50 more than the base model.

Surface Laptop Go

From $550 at Microsoft

The Surface Laptop Go is a compact laptop that’s a great option for students or anyone who needs a lightweight PC. Right now, you can grab the midrange model for only $50 more than the base model.

In his Surface Laptop Go review, our executive editor Daniel Rubino said, “There’s no way to say it other than Surface Laptop Go is a fun and lovely little laptop.” The laptop earned a 4.5/5 rating for its hardware, design, display and battery life. It also earned high marks f…

Variable playback speed on the way for Teams meeting recordings

Variable playback support will help people review meetings quickly or slow things down for more thorough listening.

What you need to know

Microsoft Teams will soon support variable playback speed for recorded meetings.
It will allow you to play meeting recordings between 0.5-2x their normal speed.
The feature could arrive as soon as September 2021, though that’s subject to change.

Microsoft Teams will soon support variable playback for meeting recordings. The feature will allow people to play meetings back from speeds between 0.5-2x their normal speed. The feature could arrive as soon as September 2021, but that date from the Microsoft 365 roadmap could change.

Being able to speed up meeting records will allow people to quickly recap what’s happened, while slowing things down could be useful for more thorough listening.

The feature will work with Teams meetings saved to SharePoint or OneDrive.

Here’s the description of the feature from Microsoft:

For Teams meeting recordi…

You can now change PWA icons on Microsoft Edge Dev

Installed progressive web apps will look more native on Windows, thanks to a new feature for Microsoft Edge Dev.

What you need to know

Microsoft Edge Dev can now change icons for installed progressive web apps.
The feature makes installed progressive web apps appear more native on Windows.
The browser’s recent update also adds new management policies.

Microsoft just rolled out an update for Edge Dev that allows you to change the icon for installed progressive web apps (PWAs). The feature makes installed PWAs appear more like native apps. The latest build brings Edge Dev to version 93.0.957.0 and also brings some other improvements and fixes.

Here are all the new features in the latest build of Edge Dev:

Added the ability to change the icon for PWAs or websites installed as apps when they’re installed.
Added management policies (administrative templates and documentation to come):
Added a management policy to control if OneAuth Authentication is Enforced.
Added a…

This robot uses Microsoft AI to learn how to pick up cigarettes on beaches

Project.BB uses Microsoft Trove AI technology to learn how to identify cigarette butts on beaches.

What you need to know

Engineers built a robot designed to pick up cigarette butts from the beach.
The robot uses Microsoft’s Trove AI system to identify cigarette butts in the sand.
The company behind the robot is working on companion devices to look out for cigarette butts.

Litter is a global problem, and each year over 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are improperly disposed. Many of those butts end up in the sands of beaches. A pair of dutch engineers, Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos, designed a robot to pick up cigarette butts to clean up beaches. It’s called BeachBot, or BB for short, and it uses artificial intelligence tech from Microsoft (via CNet).

BB gets better at identifying the waste it can pick up as it receives more images of cigarette butts. TechTics, the company behind BB, asked people to send in photos to help teach the robot. Right now, it’s received 200 images that it…

Microsoft shares security advisory about admin privileges vulnerability

Microsoft issued a security advisory regarding the recently discovered admin privileges vulnerability.

What you need to know

Microsoft acknowledges an admin privileges vulnerability in a new security advisory.
The vulnerability affects PCs running Windows 11 or Windows 10.
If exploited, the vulnerability could allow people with low privileges to access Registry files.

Windows 11 and Windows 10 PCs have a vulnerability that allows users with low privileges to access Registry files. We reported on the issue in depth on July 20, 2021, but Microsoft has since acknowledged the issue in a security advisory.

“We are investigating and will take appropriate action as needed to help keep customers protected,” said Microsoft in a statement to BleepingComputer.

The Windows Registry stores several types of secure information, including passwords and decryption keys. As a result, Registry files are only supposed to be accessible to users with elevated privileges. The vulnerability affects P…

Former Intel engineer agrees to settlement regarding 3,900 stolen documents

Intel and one of its former engineers have reached a settlement regarding thousands of stolen documents with confidential information.

What you need to know

A former Intel engineer, Varun Gupta, admitted that he stole thousands of documents from Intel before moving to a job at Microsoft.
Gupta and Intel have agreed to a settlement for an undisclosed amount of money.
There is a penalty of at least $100,000 if Gupta violates the terms of the settlement.
Intel sued Gupta in February 2021, alleging that the documents were used to gain an unfair advantage in pricing negotiations of Xeon processors.

Former Intel engineer Varun Gupta settled with Intel regarding the theft of thousands of confidential documents. Gupta worked for Intel for 10 years but left for Microsoft in January 2020. In February of this year, Intel accused him of stealing trade secrets before he left for a job at Microsoft. Now, Gupta has admitted his wrongdoing and settled with Intel.

Gupta was accused of taking al…

Unofficial Windows 11 patch for Steam makes it look gorgeous

You can bring rounded corners, new icons, and a redesigned download section to Steam with an unofficial patch.

What you need to know

A patch is available that gives Steam a refreshed look inspired by Windows 11.
To use the patch, you have to download the Metro for Steam skin.
After installing the patch, Steam will have new icons, a redesigned download section, and an overlay with new icons.

Windows 11 has a fresh design that many people enjoy. Instead of waiting for Steam to update to match the design language of Windows 11, you can use a patch to give the gaming app a new look. A Reddit user by the name of “elpurogamer” shared an image of the patch in action and instructions on how to download it.

In order to use the patch, you have to download the Metro for Steam skin. You then have to swap some files around to achieve the new look illustrated in the post.

The maker of the patch shares instructions on how to make it work on GitHub:

Download Metro for Steam 4.4 f…

Microsoft Project Moca is now Outlook calendar board view

After a year of testing, Microsoft is rolling out its new tool for project management to Outlook.

What you need to know

Microsoft Outlook on the web now has a calendar board view for project management.
Calendar board view allows you to bring contacts, files, calendar events, and more into a canvas.
The feature was known as Project Moca while it was in beta testing over the last year.

Microsoft Outlook has a new project management tool, formerly known as Project Moca, that is rolling out after over a year of testing. Project Moca launched in beta in May 2020. As explained in a Microsoft support document, Project Moca “now has a new home as a calendar board view in Outlook on the web.”

The calendar board view within Outlook allows you to bring together contacts, files, calendar events, and more into a large canvas.

Microsoft highlights a few tasks that you can use the calendar board view to accomplish:

Calendar: You can add multiple calendar items and see different cal…

New VLC app in Microsoft Store supports DVD playback and much more

VLC’s Win32 app is the latest addition to the Microsoft Store, and it blows its UWP equivalent out of the water.

What you need to know

VLC’s Win32 app is now available in the Microsoft Store on Windows 11.
The app can play DVDs, CDs, and act as a digital TV tuner.
The Win32 version of VLC has significantly more features than the UWP version of VLC.

Windows 11 continues to gain new and notable apps in the new Microsoft Store. VLC’s Win32 app is the latest addition, joining WinZip 25 Pro, OBS Studio, Zoom, Canva, and Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.

VLC already had an app in the Microsoft Store, but it is missing some significant features that are in its desktop counterpart, including the ability to play DVDs. The new VLC Win32 app lists support for DVD playback and several other key features:

Multimedia player
Audio and music player
Subtitles synchronization
File transcoding
Streaming
Digital TV tuner
DVD playback
Audio CD player

To find the new app, you h…

Windows 10 Insiders snag some Insider preview builds

Windows Insiders still running Windows 10 can grab a preview build this week.

What you need to know

Windows 10 Insider preview builds are available for Insiders still running Windows 10.
The builds are available for Insiders who were moved from the Beta Channel to the Release Preview channel.
The changelogs for each new build are relatively short.

Microsoft rolled out a couple of Insider preview builds to Insiders that are still on Windows 10. The new builds are for Insiders who were moved to the Release Preview Channel from the Beta Channel because their PCs don’t meet the Windows 11 minimum requirements.

If you’re running Windows 10 version 21H2 (Build 19044.1147) and are in the Release Preview Channel, you’ll receive Windows 10, version 21H2 Build 19044.1149 (KB5004296). It includes the improvements in Build 19044.1147 and the following change:

We added a new policy that creates generic strings and removes branding-specific terms, such as “Windows” or “PC”, for IoT Enter…