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The Framework Laptop is a modular and upgradable laptop coming this summer
by João Carrasqueira
Most laptops released nowadays, especially ultrabooks and lightweight form factors in general, tend to be hard to repair or upgrade for the consumer. Not only that but once you buy a laptop, it's very likely you're stuck with the ports and components you got at the start.
A San Francisco-based startup called Framework is looking to change that with its announcement of the Framework Laptop (via The Verge). This laptop promises to be not only easily repairable and upgradable, but it's also a fairly high-end machine at that. It's also relatively lightweight, weighing 1.3kg and measuring 15.85mm in thickness.
Out of the box, the Framework Laptop has a 13.5-inch display with 2256x1504 resolution, meaning it has the same 3:2 aspect ratio as Surface devices do. The specs also look promising with Intel's 11th-generation Core processors, along with options for up to 64GB of RAM and 4TB of NVMe storage. There's also a 55Wh battery, a 1080p 60fps webcam with physical switches, Wi-Fi 6E support, and a keyboard with 1.5mm of key travel.
What makes it stand out, though, is its modularity. Framework designed an "Expansion Card" system, where multiple ports on the laptop can be swapped out for something else. There are four bays for these expansion cards, and users can choose to have a USB Type-C port, USB Type-A, an "ultra-fast" storage drive, HDMI, and so on. These expansions can be swapped out to suit the user's preferences.
On top of that, most of the internals are also easily replaceable. Storage, RAM, and the Wi-Fi card are all socketed so they can be replaced, but the entire mainboard of the laptop can also be swapped out as new models come out with newer processors for increased performance. Not only that but parts that are heavily used, like the screen and keyboard, are magnetically attached and can be easily replaced by ordering new ones from Framework's website. Each component will have a QR code that lets users order new parts quickly. To cap it all off, Framework says it will provide an open ecosystem so other companies can create their own modules for the laptop and sell them through the Framework Marketplace.
Customers will have the chance to buy the Framework Laptop as assembled by the company running Windows 10 Home or Pro, or they can order a DIY kit so they can assemble it themselves and install their operating system of choice. In both cases, the laptop will ship with a screwdriver so users can always tinker with it later.
The goal is ultimately to extend the lifespan of consumer electronics by making it so that whole devices aren't thrown away when only a single component is no longer working well. The concept is generally very similar to the Fairphone 3+ we reviewed last year, but that was a phone, and it was a mid-range device at that, while this seems to be a product anyone might actually want to use.
The Framework Laptop is promised for release in the summer, and those interested can sign up to learn more as soon as more information is revealed.
By Rich Woods
Windows 10 is getting rid of the 3D Objects folder soon
by Rich Woods
One of the really big pushes around Windows 10 has been mixed reality. It started six months ahead of the release of the OS, when Microsoft announced HoloLens and a special version of Windows 10 called Windows Holographic. But that wasn't the end of the company's 3D ambitions, because a couple of years later, it actually added the Windows Mixed Reality shell into the OS.
Prior to that, the firm introduced an array of VR headsets that would start at $299, a very low price for the time. And around the same time, Microsoft introduced Paint 3D to Windows 10, and at the time, Paint 3D was actually planned to replace Paint.
Around this time, a folder called 3D Objects was added to the OS, because Microsoft truly believed that consumers would be interested in this stuff. And now, that folder is going away, signaling an end to the giant mixed reality push. The change showed up in yesterday's Windows 10 Insider Preview build (via Windows Latest), which was build 21322.
Sadly, Microsoft's mixed reality plans never took off, at least from a consumer perspective. In the enterprise, customers have found some important use cases for it, as we've seen from products like HoloLens 2 and newer Windows Mixed Reality headsets that are aimed squarely at businesses. But for things like Paint 3D and using the Windows Mixed Reality shell in Windows 10, it turned out that it didn't have the future with consumers that Microsoft thought it would.
AdDuplex: Windows 10 version 20H2 hits 20%, version 2004 still the most used
by João Carrasqueira
As we near the end of February, AdDuplex has released its latest monthly report on the usage share of different versions of Windows 10. As always, the report is based on data collected from 5,000 Microsoft Store apps that are using the AdDuplex SDK v.2 or higher. Around 80,000 PCs were surveyed, and the data was collected throughout February 24.
As more time passes from the release of Windows 10 version 20H2, the update is spreading to more users, and it grew by about 3.2% to reach 20% usage share. That's a nearly identical growth to what we saw last month, but it also means version 20H2 is spreading more slowly than version 1909 did a year ago. In February 2020, that update was already on 22.6% of Windows 10 devices.
In fact, version 1909 remains ahead of version 20H2 right now, with 26.8% of Windows 10 users still running that version, though this is a significant drop from the 31.2% usage share it had last month. The most used version is still with May 2020 Update, or version 2004, which even increased its usage share from 39.8% to 41.8%.
Older versions of Windows 10 only saw very slight changes in their usage share. The May 2019 Update (version 1903) dropped from 6.6% to 5.8%, and versions 1809 and 1803 both dropped a decimal point to 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively. Versions prior to that also dropped by 0.1% collectively, with Insiders conversely growing by 0.1% to reach 0.3%.
Looking at the data trends from the past few years, it's evident that version 20H2 is taking slightly longer to expand its market share than past releases have, but it's not a drastic difference. It should continue to grow steadily until version 21H1 is released in the next couple of months.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 19042.844 with tons of fixes
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft is releasing a new cumulative update for those that are on Windows 10 version 20H2 or 2004, which are currently the newest versions of the OS. This is considered to be a "C" week release (even though it's actually the D week), which means that it's optional. When you check for updates in Windows Update, you'll be given the option to take this update.
The update that you're going to get is KB4601382, and it brings the build number to 19042.844 or 19041.844, depending on if you're on version 20H2 or 2004, respectively. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights:
Here's the full list of fixes:
There's also one other fix, which is exclusive to 20H2:
There are also two known issues to be aware of:
Symptoms Workaround System and user certificates might be lost when updating a device from Windows 10, version 1809 or later to a later version of Windows 10. Devices will only be impacted if they have already installed any Latest cumulative update (LCU) released September 16, 2020 or later and then proceed to update to a later version of Windows 10 from media or an installation source which does not have an LCU released October 13, 2020 or later integrated. This primarily happens when managed devices are updated using outdated bundles or media through an update management tool such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager. This might also happen when using outdated physical media or ISO images that do not have the latest updates integrated.
Note Devices using Windows Update for Business or that connect directly to Windows Update are not impacted. Any device connecting to Windows Update should always receive the latest versions of the feature update, including the latest LCU, without any extra steps.
If you have already encountered this issue on your device, you can mitigate it within the uninstall window by going back to your previous version of Windows using the instructions here. The uninstall window might be 10 or 30 days depending on the configuration of your environment and the version you’re updating to. You will then need to update to the later version of Windows 10 after the issue is resolved in your environment.
Note Within the uninstall window, you can increase the number of days you have to go back to your previous version of Windows 10 by using the DISM command /Set-OSUninstallWindow. You must make this change before the default uninstall window has lapsed. For more information, see DISM operating system uninstall command-line options.
We are working on a resolution and will provide updated bundles and refreshed media in the coming weeks.
When using the Microsoft Japanese Input Method Editor (IME) to enter Kanji characters in an app that automatically allows the input of Furigana characters, you might not get the correct Furigana characters. You might need to enter the Furigana characters manually.
Note The affected apps are using the ImmGetCompositionString() function.
We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.
It's worth noting that Windows 10 version 21H1 is coming soon, and that's going to be an enablement package just like 20H2 was. That means that in a few months when 21H1 is out and version 1909 is no longer supported, all supported versions of Windows 10 will actually get the same updates.
As mentioned earlier, this update will arrive via Windows Update. If you choose not to take it, the fixes will be bundled into next month's Patch Tuesday update.
Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 21322 with a bunch of fixes
by João Carrasqueira
After a couple of Friday builds in the last two weeks, Microsoft is finally back on its typical Wednesday schedule for new Windows 10 builds in the Dev channel, and today, we're getting build 21322. This build comes from an active development branch that isn't tied to a specific Windows 10 update, but this time, there are no new features.
Just like most builds, though, there is a list of smaller improvements, fixes, and known issues, which you might want to check out before getting the update. First off, there are some changes, including a reversion of some new touch keyboard features due to some issues:
Next up, there's a decently long list of fixes, though there are fewer items than we've seen in the last couple of builds:
Finally, there are some known issues, and the list is still pretty extensive here:
Microsoft has also noted that some updates have been made to the Feedback Hub so that Insiders can both upvote feedback and add similar feedback to it for all categories. This should help bring each piece of feedback more attention while also providing more details on the problem or suggestion mentioned.
Since we had a shorter period between build releases this time around, it's not surprising to see fewer changes than usual and no new features at all. As we said at the start, this build isn't tied to a specific Windows 10 feature update, but at the earliest, the features in development now will show up in the 21H2 update, coming in the second half of the year. There's still quite a bit of time for features to be added and changes to be made.