Windows 11 preview 22557 Start menu

This could be very good news if you love the Recommended section of the Start menu as much as I do:

via @Teroalhonen on Twitter


Interested in Xbox? Learn about its history

If you’re interested to learn how Xbox came about; Its small team of renegades at Microsoft; The ‘Red ring of death’ times and how Microsoft dropped the ball when it was their’s to take, then there’s a fantastic six-part documentary available on YouTube called ‘Power on: The Story of Xbox, produced in association with Microsoft.

It’s a fascinating behind the scenes look at why Xbox came to be.

Watch all six episodes below:

Hardware Windows Windows 11

Microsoft’s PC Health Check App is back

After removing their health check app which allows you to see if your PC will run Windows 11, Microsoft have made it available again.

This time it gives you more information about why your device won’t run Windows 11, if it won’t.

I’m hoping they have a last-minute change of heart and open more CPUs because, as you can see, my Surface with a Core i7 7660U with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD won’t cut it. SMH.

Even though, well:

If you want to be disappointed you can download the PC Health Check App from Microsoft’s Windows 11 page.


Let’s talk about Slack

Slack made real-time messaging, file sharing, and working collaboratively cool. Sure, before Slack we had Skype and of course email but when Slack arrived, working collaboratively became easy, and cool!

Now, let’s just pause here. Yes, I know this is a Microsoft blog but I think it’s important to consider different options. Microsoft’s answer to Slack is of course Teams. Teams and Slack are similar in many ways but where Slack and Teams differ may be one of Slack’s advantages – it’s for group messaging, direct messages, sharing files, and speaking with people either by video or audio. Teams, on the other hand, is becoming (if it isn’t already), the digital hub of Microsoft 365. Heck, there’s even talk of Teams being integrated into Windows itself.

In other words, access everything and do everything, all in Teams.

This doesn’t mean that Slack is just messaging and file sharing. Slack integrates with many third-party apps (including Microsoft 365) and over the next few posts, I’ll be examining Slack in more detail, from setting it up to getting the most from it.


Have Microsoft killed Windows 10X?

Petri are reporting that Microsoft have reportedly abandoned Windows 10X, its lightweight ChromeOS competitor in favour of concentrating on Windows 10.

Windows 10X was announced back in 2019 alongside Windows Neo and Windows Duo – it’s latest foray in to the world of mobile phones, (it’s fair to say that hasn’t gone well if you read the reviews and updates to this promising device).

Surface Neo, a dual-screened device about this size of an A4 pad was a folding PC and would run a new version of Windows 10X. The device and Windows 10X was expected to ship in time for the 2020 holidays. Fast-forward to the middle of 2020, in a world that was essentially shut down due to COVID-19 and Microsoft announced a shift in focus of Windows 10X from the dual-screened devices like Surface Neo to single, low-cost devices, designed to compete with Chromebooks, particularly in education.

Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have reportedly told Petri that the plans for Windows 10X have changed again, and it won’t be shipping it this year and Windows 10X as we know it today will never arrive.

Read the full story over at Petri by clicking here.


Microsoft release PowerToys v0.37.0

Microsoft have released the latest version of PowerToys, a collection of utilities for power users to tune and streamline Windows.

There are some great tools available in PowerToys including:

  • ColorPicker: An eye-drop tool which allows you to use an eyedropper (which is accessed by default by pressing Win+Shift+C) to find out the Hex, RGB or HSL colour beneath the eyedropper.
  • FancyZones: Allows you to create window layouts to make multitasking easier.
  • File Explorer add-ons: Allows you to manage Windows Explorer custom handlers, including .svg and .mp files.
  • Image resizer: Allows you to resize images by right-clicking on them.
  • Keyboard Manager: A handy keyboard remapper that’s applied across Windows 10.
  • PowerRenamer: An extension to the Windows shell for advanced bulk renaming using search and replace or regular expressions.
  • PowerToys Run: Accessed by ALT + Space by default, opens a quick launcher.

PowerToys can be downloaded from GitHub.

Computers Hardware

Microsoft announce Surface Laptop 4 with choice of Intel or AMD processors

Microsoft has today announced Surface Laptop 4, with a refreshed range of CPUs and, for the first time, a choice of Intel or AMD processors across the 13.5 and 15-inch models. Intel Surface Laptop 4s ship with Intel’s latest 11th gen processors while their AMD cousins contain Ryzen 4000 series chips which isn’t the latest CPU from AMD.

Whilst it’s a little disappointing we don’t have the latest AMD CPU in Surface Laptop 4, the benefit is quite a big price difference – the starting price for the AMD model is $999, whilst for the Intel version it’s $1,299.

Microsoft claims a 70% performance boost over Surface Laptop 3 and battery-life improvements. Both Intel versions will ship with their latest graphic processors – Iris Xe. Like Surface Laptop 3, the 15-inch model is all aluminium whilst its smaller counterpart has an Alcantra keyboard surface in the same choice of colours plus a new ‘ice blue’ colour. A metal matte black is also available in the 13.5 model.

Microsoft Mechanics on YouTube

Shipping begins on the 15th of June in the US and all models are available to pre-order now in the US and the UK. If you pre-order on Microsoft’s site (or BestBuy in the US) then you’ll receive a free pair of Surface Earbuds with your laptop.

Hardware Microsoft Teams

Microsoft announce new ‘Certified for Teams’ hardware

The rumours were true and today Microsoft has announced a raft of new ‘Certified for Teams’ hardware, available from June in the US.

Microsoft Modern Webcam

Source: Microsoft

The new camera is certified for Teams and includes high-quality, HDR 1080p video with a 78-degree field of view. It has a privacy shutter and includes a Teams LED to show when it’s in use (It isn’t clear yet if the LED only works when you’re using it in Teams or when the camera is in use with other apps.

Other features include ‘True Look’ which delivers facial retouch, fixed light adjustment and auto focus.

Price: $69.99

Microsoft Modern USB-C Speaker

Source: Microsoft

A new USB-C speaker which can connect to your computer to offer hands-free, high-quality audio for better Microsoft Teams meetings, calls and listening to music.

The speaker includes a dedicated Teams button, status lights and mute control to see easily if you can be heard during meetings. The speakers in the device have been optimised for voice but will sound great if you’re listening to your Spotify playlist through it. The Microsoft is omni-directional, with background noise-reducing technology built in.

Price: TBC

Microsoft Modern Wireless Headset

Source: Microsoft

The new wireless headset includes a background noise-reducing microphone which includes flip-to-mute and a status light that shows whether you can be heard or not. The headset includes on-ear call controls including volume up/down and a Microsoft Teams button. The headset includes a USB dongle (which Microsoft says is required for Teams certification and is used to connect to your computer). The dongle is a bit of a disappointment as it likely means this headset isn’t Bluetooth, and we need less dongles in the world. Microsoft state 50-hours of music listening time or 30 hours of talk time.

Price: TBC

Microsoft Modern USB Headset

Source: Microsoft

Finally, we have the Modern USB Headset. A wired headset with inline controls for mute, volume up/down, call answer and a dedicated Teams button. As with the Modern Wireless Headset, their wired sibling is designed for all-day use and have a background noise-reducing microphone and stereo speakers optimised for voice.

The dedicated Teams button allows you to join meetings and provide easy setup and management.

Price: TBC

Availability and wrap-up

Microsoft have stated that all the above hardware will be available in the US from the end of June and availability in other regions will be announced later.

You can read the full announcement on Microsoft’s website.


Facebook and Instagram are down

Amateur food photographers, cat posers and the over 30s let out a collective scream.


Downdetector is showing Facebook and Instagram have been down since approximately 10.20pm (U.K. time).


Microsoft release Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21343

Microsoft today released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 21343. The big deal here are the new icons in File Explorer:

Source: Microsoft

These new icons follow Microsoft’s Fluent Design and as well as icons in File Explorer, new icons have been changed across Windows 10:

Source: Microsoft
Source: Microsoft

Other changes include:

  • Application guard and Windows sandbox changes
  • Windows Administrator Tools renamed to Windows Tools in the Start menu

And numerous fixes.

You can read more about this build on the Windows Blog.