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Fallout 76 goes free-to-play for a week across all platforms
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
In the Fallout universe, October 23 marks the day that the almost-world-ending thermonuclear war began, kicking off the events that spawned all the Fallout storylines fans know and love. Celebrating the occasion, Bethesda is hosting a Free Play event for Fallout 76 alongside sales and more.
From now until October 26, Fallout 76 is free-to-play across PC (Steam and Bethesda client), Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, with the full game - including the human NPC-adding Wastelanders update - available to try out. However, keep in mind that Xbox Live Gold is still a requirement for Xbox One players.
Moreover, the Fallout 76 subscription service, Fallout 1st, has also received a trial for players to try out for free until October 26. Interested wasteland dwellers can find a Fallout 1st Limited Preview item in the Atomic Shop, which will grant them access to the Scrapbox and Survival Tent. The former provides unlimited storage for crafting components, while the latter is a user-spawned, fully-equipped fast-travel point.
Picking up Fallout 76 will allow players to carry on where they left off following the free event's departure without losing their progress. The base game is discounted by 60% during the event across all platforms, with further sales happening for the Fallout 76 Deluxe Edition, various bundles, as well as Atoms. Discounts for Fallout 4 and Fallout Shelter in-game bundles have also kicked off celebrating the event.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases Windows 10 builds 18363.1171, 17763.1554 with Meet Now in the taskbar
by Rich Woods
Today, Microsoft released Windows 10 version 20H2 to seekers, but it's also got some cumulative update previews on the way. Specifically, the two updates are for Windows 10 versions 1909, 1903, and 1809. As is typically the case on updates that arrive outside of Patch Tuesday, these updates are optional.
If you're on Windows 10 version 1909 or 1903, you're going to get KB4580386, bringing the build number to 18363.1171 or 18362.1171, respectively. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights:
As you can see, it adds the new Meet Now feature in the taskbar, which Microsoft promised would come to older versions of the OS. Here's the full list of features:
There's also one known issue:
Symptom Workaround When updating to Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows 10, version 1909 from any previous version of Windows 10, you might receive a compatibility report dialog with "What needs your attention" at the top and the error, "Continuing with the installation of Windows will remove some optional features. You may need to add them back in Settings after the installation completes." You might receive this compatibility warning when LOCAL SYSTEM accounts are blocked in a firewall from accessing the internet via HTTP. This is caused by the Windows 10 Setup Dynamic Update (DU) being unable to download required packages. If your device has access to HTTP blocked for LOCAL SYSTEM accounts, to mitigate this issue you can enable HTTP access for the Windows 10 Setup Dynamic Update (DU) using the LOCAL SYSTEM account. After you have allowed access, you can restart installation of the update and you should not see the warning. You can also continue by clicking the OK button or use the /compat IgnoreWarning command to ignore compatibility warnings but this might also ignore other warnings that your device might be affected by.
We are working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.
For those on Windows 10 version 1809, which won't be supported after next month's Patch Tuesday, you'll get KB4580390, bringing the build number to 17763.1554. You can manually download it here, and these are the highlights:
Here's the full list of fixes:
This one also has one known issue:
Symptom Workaround After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive the error, "0x800f0982 - PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND." Uninstall and reinstall any recently added language packs. For instructions, see Manage the input and display language settings in Windows 10. Select Check for Updates and install the April 2019 Cumulative Update. For instructions, see Update Windows 10. Note If reinstalling the language pack does not mitigate the issue, reset your PC as follows:
Go to the Settings app > Recovery. Select Get Started under the Reset this PC recovery option. Select Keep my Files. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.
As usual, you need to opt into installing these to get them. If you don't, the fixes will be bundled into next month's Patch Tuesday updates, which are mandatory.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases the Windows 10 October 2020 Update
by Rich Woods
With the new way that Microsoft's Windows Insider Program works, it's been testing Windows 10 20H2 since June. That's because only the Beta channel is tied to an actual feature release now, while the Dev channel is in a perpetual state of prerelease. Now, the Windows 10 October 2020 Update is available for everyone.
First of all, there are some under-the-hood changes. For example, the version number is actually 20H2 with this update. Previously, Windows 10 would have a codename based on the half of the year that it was being released, and then it would be converted to a whole number like 2004, 1909, or 1903 shortly before release. The number was based on the year and the month that it was slated to RTM. That's gone now, as Microsoft will just stick with the codename.
Windows 10 version 20H2 comes in the form of an enablement package, so it's actually not adding any features to your machine. The features are already there; the package just lights them up and increases the build number by one. It's the same process that we saw with version 1909.
Obviously, it's not a major update, but there are some new features. This is actually the first version of Windows to ship with Microsoft's new Chromium-based Edge browser. Most have received it by now as an update through Windows Update, but if you buy a new PC with 20H2 on it, you'll automatically have Edge Chromium.
There's also a more refined Start Menu, which has a slightly modified design. It's meant to be theme-aware, so transparent tiles can show up in different colors and such. Also, the apps you'll find in the taskbar will change, at least for new PCs. Microsoft is aiming to customize the default pinned apps based on what kind of PC you're setting up; for example, a gaming PC will have the Xbox app pinned.
There are a few other minor features as well. Check out our roundup here. To get Windows 10 20H2, you'll be able to find it in Windows update, but you'll have to opt in to installing it. Since it's just 20H1 with an enablement package, there shouldn't be any PCs blocked that weren't before; however, it is a staged rollout.
By Asher Madan
Xbox Deals with Gold feature Fallout, Madden NFL, and more
by Asher Madan
Every week, Microsoft and select publishers discount a number of titles for weekly Deals with Gold, Spotlight, and Publisher (Cozy Games and Bombs Drop) sales. This week, games from Fallout, Madden NFL, and other franchises are available for substantially less.
Below, you'll find the Xbox One and Xbox 360 games with their respective discounts. Xbox Live Gold members receive additional discounts on a number of titles through the paid subscription.
Many of the Xbox 360 games appear to be backward compatible so you'll be able to play them on your Xbox One and the upcoming Xbox Series X|S. Currently, Microsoft isn't adding any more backward compatible titles to the program, but that should change in 2021.
Which titles are you interested in? Did you pick any up? Let us know in the comments below.
By Abhishek Baxi
Microsoft announces datacenter-in-a-(big)-box
by Abhishek Baxi
Microsoft has announced a self-contained datacenter for challenging remote missions to take advantage of cloud computing at the intelligent edge.
Microsoft Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC) is designed to support high-intensity, secure cloud computing in challenging environments where critical prerequisites like power and building infrastructure are unreliable. These include scenarios like mobile command centers, humanitarian assistance, military mission needs, mineral exploration, and other use cases requiring high intensity, secure computing on Azure.
MDC is essentially a self-contained unit that can be deployed in remote locations or augment existing infrastructure with a field-transportable solution. It can operate in a wide range of climates and harsh conditions in a ruggedized, radio frequency (RF) shielded unit and run on terrestrial fiber, low-bandwidth networks, or be completely disconnected. The announcement is complemented by Azure Space offerings and partnerships that can extend satellite connectivity to field-deployed MDC units.
Last month, Microsoft had shared details of its underwater datacenter research project – Project Natick - for piloting datacenters in extreme environments.