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By Steven P.
StartAllBack 3.0 released to address Windows 11 UI shortcomings, and a giveaway
by Steven Parker
StartAllBack has been updated to 3.0, you may remember this program by the name StartIsBack, well according to the developer it now has a new name and a new focus for Windows 11 UI shortcomings that are plaguing early adopters. Namely: the stubborn taskbar, slow File Explorer with cut context menus and the "quite cringe start menu" (their words, not ours).
So what does it do? StartAllBack restores taskbar from Windows 10, adopted with Windows 11 features and look. It restores the File Explorer UI and context menus, improved with Mica and Acrylic effects, as well as the classic start menu derived from Windows 7. That last point is the kicker, this app appears to mostly emulate the Windows 7 Start menu. So if you are looking for an app to restore the Windows 10 Start menu in Windows 11, this is not for you.
Here is the changelog:
StartAllBack costs $4.99, or $1.50 if you are upgrading from StartIsBack. The app is also included in the Rectify 11 project, which aims to provide Windows 11 clean installs with some visual fixes, as well as including StartAllBack as the default Start menu.
By Abhay V
Windows 11 build 22483 for Dev channel users brings more bug fixes
by Abhay V
Microsoft is rolling out a fresh new build for Windows Insiders in the Dev channel, bringing build 22483 that includes a bunch of bug fixes and a tiny new feature. However, those waiting for Android app support might have to wait slightly longer, as support for running Android apps will first head to Beta channel users only.
While it is odd that a new feature is first being tested in the Beta channel instead of the Dev channel, it is likely due to the fact that support for running Android apps might be being readied for the version of Windows 11 currently available publicly. It will be no surprise to see the feature make it to the Dev channel eventually. Additionally, some fixes made as part of today's build will also make it to the Beta and Release Preview channels, before eventually making it to the generally available version.
In terms of features, there is just one small addition, which is the ability to right-click on the “Recommended” or the “More” button in Start to refresh the items in the list. There is also a new 7th-anniversary badge in the Feedback Hub for Windows Insiders, though that has nothing to do with the build.
Here is the complete list of fixes:
And here is the list of known issues, some of which have been added thanks to feedback from Insiders running the previously available Dev channel build:
Beta channel users recently received Windows 11 build 22000.282 that brought with it a ton of fixes. Expect more to be on the way as the firm further polishes the OS for a wider rollout in the next few months. With the Windows Subsystem for Android heading to these builds, it will not be surprising to see Android app support ship to general consumers before the next major update to the OS.
By Steven P.
Android apps on Windows 11 Preview now live for Windows Insiders [Update]
by Steven Parker
Earlier today, Microsoft published its developer guidance for Windows Subsystem for Android, which seemed to indicate that Android apps on Windows 11 might not be too far off. According to the guidance, only a minimum subset of apps will be available from the beginning, and they will all have to come through the Amazon App Store anyway. Now, Microsoft has announced availability of Android apps on Windows 11 Preview for Windows Insiders in the Beta Channel.
To get started:
The blog post then directs to click on a link that will be available in the Microsoft Store which will guide you through the steps to verify if your device meets the minimum system requirements, setup your environment, and discover right away the new Android apps and games. However, the actual link part still says LINK COMING SOON, as of writing. Update: Here is the link: aka.ms/WIPAndroidApps
Microsoft also noted that the version of Windows Subsystem for Android being released today is version 1.7.32815.0 and updates for it will be automatic, through the Microsoft Store. If the PC requires a restart, the Amazon Appstore will automatically launch after restart, or you can launch it from the Start menu.
There's also a few Known Issues to be aware of.
The blog posts also states that Android Apps for Windows 11 will only be available to those in the Beta channel, those on the generally available version of Windows 11, or those in the Dev channel will not get this yet.
Update: the link is now live: aka.ms/WIPAndroidApps
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft publishes developer guidance for Windows Subsystem for Android
by Usama Jawad
When Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 back in June, it made a big deal about Android apps coming to Windows through the Amazon App Store. However, this capability was not present in the launch version of Windows 11. Although we have seen the Windows Subsystem for Android brand pop up from time to time, there is little known about its implementation or when it will become available. However, Microsoft has now published guidance for developers about how they can optimize their Android apps for Windows.
The detailed documentation can be seen here and was first spotted by WalkingCat (@_h0x0d_ on Twitter). In it, Microsoft has noted that Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) will be silently installed in the background as soon as you install the Amazon App Store or an Android app from the Microsoft Store for the first time.
A dedicated settings app can be used to toggle hardware-accelerated graphics, the behavior of the subsystem to be ephemeral or persistent, and developer mode, among other things. Microsoft has also provided guidance to developers about how they can update their app's code to respond to keyboard and mouse inputs. Additionally, the company has outlined debugging and window resizing details too. The purported settings app can be seen below, courtesy of WalkingCat:
WSA utilizes a virtual machine (VM) configuration which provides interoperability with the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) framework and other input devices. In terms of security, Microsoft has mentioned that:
Interestingly, the documentation also says that the Amazon App Store will offer only a limited set of apps curated by Microsoft and Amazon initially, but it's likely that the list will expand with time. Although WSA supports ARM via emulation, this will have a performance impact so Microsoft has recommended developing apps optimized for the x86-64 architecture. While the documentation still doesn't hint at a firm release date for a preview or general availability, it appears that we are nearing that unknown date.
PC Health Check App gives ancient Pentium 4 thumbs up for Windows 11
by Sayan Sen
Most would agree that Windows 11 has some super-strict hardware requirements that Microsoft has enforced. The base requirements seem pretty reasonable, but it's the additional need for technologies like Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0), Secure Boot, among other things, that make it unfeasible for many people, even those that own CPUs just a few generations old, like a Ryzen 1000 series or most of Intel's 7th gen Core processor. That's because these slightly older CPUs lack Mode Based Execution (MBE) and hence will lose performance when running Virtualization-based Security (VBS).
Microsoft says these additional requirements are essential for the top-notch security that Windows 11 offers its users and also presented a very convincing demo to better explain it.
Here's a quick recap of the official minimum requirements published by Microsoft:
The firm also released an application called PC Health Check that allows users to see if their systems meet the minimum requirements. The app is meant to be an easy-to-use solution so that people don't have to look up their system specs to check Windows 11 compatibility.
Bizarrely, as discovered by a YouTuber Carlos S. M. Computers, the PC Health Check app apparently believes that Intel's Pentium 4 is such a processor which is officially supported by Windows 11. You can see it in the screenshot below:
The YouTuber is apparently using a Pentium 4 661, a CPU that was released in 2006 and lacks MBE. It is also not a true dual-core as it's a single-core processor with hyper-threading emulating a dual-core. But it seems Microsoft's PC Health Check App is unable to understand this. Still, it is even more bizarre that the lack of MBE was also not noticed either.
Interestingly, WhyNotWin11, a third-party app that people have also been using to check compatibility for Windows 11 correctly flags the Pentium 4 661 as unsupported as you see:
Perhaps this really implies that Microsoft's PC Health Check app still needs more work if it's green-flagging dinosaur era (not literally) processors like these.
Source: Carlos S. M. (Twitter)