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By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases a new Windows Feature Experience Pack with screen snipping improvements
by Rich Woods
Back in November, Microsoft finally explained what a Windows Feature Experience Pack is, as it had been spotted inside Windows for some time. It's a way to deliver new features without delivering a new build, and today, Windows Insiders on the Beta channel are getting Windows Feature Experience Pack 120.2212.2020.0.
This new Windows Feature Experience Pack (presumably, this incredibly long name isn't the final name of the product) doesn't have much in the way of new features, but it's meant to improve the reliability of the screen snipping experience. Part of how that's happening is removing the ability to paste a screen snip into a folder in File Explorer.
The reason that's being removed is because there was an issue that was filed by Windows Insiders, and the team is planning to add the feature back at some point.
In order to get today's Windows Feature Experience Pack, you'll need to be on the Beta channel and on build 19042.662 or higher. It will arrive via Windows Update, just like all other updates. Microsoft also noted that it plans to deliver more significant Windows Feature Experience Packs, and it plans to release them more often. At some point, it's going to be part of the normal servicing process.
Tails OS 4.15 released with updated Tor Browser
by Paul Hill
Tails OS 4.15 has been released today bringing with it updates for the Tor Browser, the Linux kernel and fixes for several issues including USB tethering not working with devices running iOS 14 or later. Luckily, there are no new issues introduced with this version of the privacy-oriented OS but it’s still affected by long-standing issues.
According to the release notes, there are no new major changes in this update outside of updated software. The only new feature is that you now have the option to press “Don’t Show Again’ on the security notification that pops up when you attempt to run Tails on a virtual machine.
This update does come with several critical software patches for things like the Tor Browser which is now on version 10.0.9 (based on Firefox 78.7), Thunderbird has been bumped to 78.6.0, and the Linux kernel now sits on version 5.9.15 bringing support for newer hardware. The new kernel update also addresses a bug that prevented iOS 14 devices from being used for tethering.
To install Tails 4.15, you’ll either need to follow the guide to setting up a Tails USB to perform a clean install or you can upgrade an existing Tails install. When you’ve booted up your Tails 4.2 or above USB and connected to the internet, you will be offered the upgrade. If you choose to update, the new version will download and begin to install. If you would like to see what’s planned in future updates, check out the Tails roadmap.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4 is reportedly coming in April
by Rich Woods
Last we heard, Microsoft was planning to launch the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop 4 in January, but what we got instead was the Surface Pro 7+. Now, it seems like the Surface Laptop 4 will arrive in April as part of a spring product launch, thanks to a report from Zac Bowden of Windows Central.
Once again, the processor choices are between Intel and AMD, with Intel using its 11th-generation 'Tiger Lake' processors. That means that graphics power is once again being bumped up with Iris Xe, although don't expect to see Thunderbolt 4, especially because there are also AMD options. The report doesn't specify whether Microsoft will be using Ryzen 4000 or 5000, but rumors up until this point have pointed at Ryzen 4000.
One thing that's different this time is that you'll be able to find AMD and Intel variants in both the 13.5- and 15-inch sizes. Previously, the 13.5-inch model was Intel only, but the $999 base model will now include a Ryzen 5. There's probably no change in the 15-inch model, which used AMD in the consumer models and Intel in the business models.
The report also confirms that there's no change in the design, and there's no surprise there. While the Surface Laptop has visually looked the same since the first-generation, aside from the USB Type-C port that was added, quite a bit of it was redesigned for the Surface Laptop 3. The report did say that the beloved Cobalt Blue color is finally going away in favor of the Ice Blue color that we've seen in the Surface Laptop Go.
I've been told that Microsoft is focusing on more subtle colors for now, and those include colors like Ice Blue and Sandstone. But if you're a fan of the bolder colors that we used to see from Surface Laptop, such as Burgundy and Cobalt Blue, they could make a comeback at some point. You're going to see changes in colors yearly, and it's going to be whatever the team thinks is in style.
The Surface Laptop 4 is likely going to be announced at a mid-April event. Naturally, it will be virtual-only.
By News Staff
Save up to 90% off the Power User PC Software Bundle
by Steven Parker
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Firefox Nightly starts faster on Windows with skeleton UI
by Paul Hill
Mozilla has enabled a new feature in Firefox Nightly on Windows 10 called skeleton UI, the idea is that when you start the browser on the first boot, the browser shows a spartan window just to show that the browser is loading. According to Doug Thayer, a Firefox Platform Engineer, the change will give users a visual indication of the browser loading as much as 15 seconds faster than normal.
Typically, Firefox should load fairly quickly on subsequent launches but when launching it for the first time after boot it can be slow as data on the hard drive has to be accessed. By offering a skeleton UI, users will know that Firefox is loading and not try to mash the Firefox icon which will only cause delays as several more browser windows attempt to open.
The skeleton UI will show the outline of the URL bar and the tabs but icons in the browser chrome, tab names, and strings in the URL bar are just represented by thick grey lines to show that those bits of information are still loading.
As with other features Mozilla attempts to implement in Firefox, the skeleton UI is currently only available on Windows 10 systems. It’ll likely come to other supported Windows versions soon enough but there’s also macOS and Linux which would benefit from the feature too. Once the skeleton UI launches on the stable branch on Windows 10, hopefully, we won’t have to wait long for it to show up on other platforms.