Recently Browsing 0 members
- No registered users viewing this page.
by Razvan Serea
Windows 10 has brought back a start menu, but the focus is heavily on apps, which are preloaded and pre-organized and are viewed as tiles rather than in the simple list of programs in Windows 7. The start menu is there, but consumers may feel the brunt of this app-focused layout. Start10 returns the familiar start menu to Windows 10, and allows for additional look and feel customization with just the couple of clicks of a mouse.
Start10 brings a more familiar look and feel to the Windows 10 start menu. The new start menu in Windows 10 has a very app-focused layout, and Start10 helps users with a familiar Windows 7 style layout, and also offers additional customization with just a few mouse clicks.
Start10 also maintains the familiar “folders” metaphor. Right now in the Windows start menu everything is listed in alphabetic order, which can make the start menu quite long, whereas in previous versions of Windows applications like Word, Excel and the other Office applications were found in the “Microsoft Office” folder on the start menu.
In Windows 10 the search bar has been taken out of the start menu and placed on the task bar. Start10 allows you to have the search functionality back in your start menu.
Start10 is only $4.99. For more information about Start10, please visit www.start10.com.
Disclaimer: Neowin's relationship to Stardock.
Get alerted to all of our Software updates on Twitter at @NeowinSoftware
By Usama Jawad96
Visual revamp for Office desktop apps on Windows now available for more users
by Usama Jawad
Back in June, Microsoft announced that it is revamping the Office desktop apps for Windows. The idea was to bring the apps in line with Windows 11's design language, even on Windows 10. In the following weeks, the company began rolling out the refresh to those on the Beta Channel, and in September, this extended to Current Channel users, but only as a preview. Today, Microsoft has announced that it is speeding up the pace of rollout.
If you're on Windows 10 and running Office version 2110 and build 14527.20226 or later, there's a possibility that the visual update will be available to you. This is because Microsoft has made the update automatically available to 50% of all users on the Current Channel. Meanwhile, if you're on Windows 11, the revamp will necessarily be available to you. In both cases, you might need to restart your Office apps to receive the visual refresh.
As a recap, the visual revamp includes Office themes that now match with your Windows theme (including Dark Mode) with the Quick Access Toolbar hidden by default to make the interface simpler. You'll also notice Fluent Design elements. You can simply click on the megaphone icon on the top-right corner of the title bar of your Office app and then switch on the toggle in the Coming Soon pane to enable the visual updates. The same toggle can also be used to return to the existing UI.
The Coming Soon pane is available for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. If you enable the new UI via any of the aforementioned apps, it will also become available in Access, Project, Publisher, Visio, and Outlook. Although the dedicated Coming Soon pane is also present in the Outlook app, it doesn't really do anything.
The revamp is currently available automatically to 50% of Current Channel users running Microsoft Office Home & Student 2021, Microsoft Office Home & Business 2021, Microsoft Office Professional 2021, or Microsoft Office Personal 2021. Here are the known issues:
Microsoft has requested users to submit feedback about the refresh via Help > Feedback and to use the #OfficeRefresh hashtag so that it's easier for the company to spot your feedback.
By Steven P.
Microsoft PowerToys 0.51.0 adds presentation mode to highlight the mouse, and more
by Steven Parker
No, you are not dreaming, you did not miss out on the news of PowerToys 0.50.0 release, Microsoft has skipped over that number entirely (even numbers are reserved for Experimental releases) and released 0.51.0. Release 0.49.1 really was the last release that happened just over a month ago.
Back to this release, Microsoft has added in a presentation mode helper to highlight the mouse when you click. The Find my mouse toy also gained some additional settings to enable more customization. The PowerToys dev team further states that they've been focusing work on the "Always on Top" system to help make any window to be the top most. A lot of thought is currently going into interaction models to make sure it 'feels' right for toggling as well as visualizing.
This release does not include any new PowerToys, so there's no 'What's new' section this time around, however, existing PowerToys did get some new features, fixes and improvements. You can view the full changelog below.
There's also some development considerations that have been noted for this release which you can view below.
PowerToys is Microsoft's open-source project that offers a collection of nifty tools that people can use to customize the Windows 10 or 11 UI and experience to their liking. As we know, depending upon feedback and general stability, some of the utilities also make their way to the OS eventually. A prominent example of this is Snap Layouts and Span Groups in Windows 11 which borrow heavily from the FanzyZones tool in PowerToys.
If you are using PowerToys in Windows 11, you can grab it in the Microsoft Store. For others in Windows 10, you can open the app and click on "Check for updates" under the updates section on the General tab. Those who would like to try PowerToys for the first time can grab the version 0.51.0 installer from the app's GitHub page.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft should include more information about patches in Windows Update
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft frequently updates multiple versions of Windows, be it through its regular Patch Tuesday updates that happen at the second Tuesday of every month, or optional updates, or even out-of-band fixes. While many people are annoyed by continual updates as they sometimes interrupt their workflow, they are arguably necessary in most cases due to the security holes they plug and the software issues they fix.
Although I personally have no complaints about the frequency of the updates themselves, I do have some concerns about the lack of information and context that Microsoft provides through its built-in Windows Update setting. Case in point is above where I have a bunch of updates pending on my Windows 11 machine but I can't directly find out what exactly they update or fix. You'll have a similar user experience in Windows 10 as well.
You can see in the screenshot that I have two KB updates that I can install, but Microsoft provides me no context about what they fix or update. And that's not due to lack of documentation, you can actually head over to dedicated pages where Microsoft provides more information about each patch.
In fact, Microsoft also provides a "Learn more" hyperlink to each dedicated webpage in its Update history setting (screenshot above). The problem is that this page gets populated with information after you install an update, not prior. This means that until you install an update, Windows doesn't directly provide you more details about what a patch contains unless you copy-paste some identification to a web browser and manually search for it yourself.
I fully understand that this is probably not a highly requested feature by the average user, but given its importance, I feel like Microsoft needs to integrate information about patches into Windows Update in a better way. This is also important because not every update is bug-free, quite a few bring along with them issues of their own, so Microsoft should offer these details to consumers directly in Windows before they go on with installing the updates. This will also enable customers to consider workarounds for any issues and weigh their options before they blindly install an update.
I'm not asking for this additional context to be displayed at all times, that would be an information overload and not a good user experience for your average consumer, but Microsoft should consider nesting these details below a drop-down for each update, or at the very least, provide a "Learn more" hyperlink before you install an update.
Right now, most consumers are dependent on media outlets like Neowin to report on all the changes present in each update and while Microsoft does provide dedicated webpages with more context, offering this information directly to its customers should ideally be the Redmond tech firm's responsibility first. I have talked in detail about how Microsoft has been improving the Windows Update process with Windows 11, and I would really appreciate it if the company could enhance this further for tech-savvy users with the aforementioned changes.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft enhancing Windows Update with more information about each update, that can be optionally viewed before installing a patch? Let us know in the comments section below!
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft Weekly: Defender for the win, trouble with Nextcloud, and ARM exclusivity
by Usama Jawad
As we approach the end of the week, now is the time to catch up on all the Microsoft news you may missed in the past few days. Although it's been a relatively slow week due to the holidays in the United States, there are still significant news stories you might want to read up on. Let's dive into our weekly digest for the week of November 21 - November 26.
Microsoft Defender for the win
German IT Security research institute AV-TEST released its ratings for the best anti-virus software for Windows 10 Home users, ranking them based on metrics like performance, usability, and protection. Microsoft Defender secured all 18 of the available points to join the ranks of other solutions such as Avira, AVAST, AVG, Bitdefender, ESET, and received the "AV-TEST TOP PRODUCT" certification. You can check out more details about the results here.
In related news, a bunch of anti-virus solutions including Microsoft Defender have started flagging UserBenchmark, a freeware benchmarking tool as malware. It's not exactly clear yet whether this is a false positive or something else, but do keep an eye out in case you utilize it.
While we are on this topic, Microsoft is receiving backlash from the security community for apparently lowering its bug bounty rewards, even for high criticality issues. In some cases, this has led to security researchers publicly exposing zero-days out of sheer frustration. This is definitely something that the Redmond tech giant will want to keep an eye out considering public exposure without coordination with the software vendor can cause problems for potentially millions of users.
Trouble with Nextcloud in the EU
Microsoft seems to have found itself in a bit of bother at the European Union (EU). This is due to a Nextcloud-led coalition that has filed a complaint against the Redmond tech firm for anti-competitive behavior. Other notable members of the coalition include Tutanota, OnlyOffice, Free Software Foundation Europe, The Document Foundation, and European Digital SME Alliance.
Together, these parties claim that Microsoft is bundling its 365 services such as OneDrive and Teams natively into Windows and is shipping the OS with them installed by default. According to the group, this pushes users to Microsoft's bundled software rather than third-party alternatives. As of now, the challenging party's demands include Microsoft unbundling its software from Windows and adopting open standards that makes it easier for users to switch software. The issue is still evolving so do keep an eye out on our coverage.
In related news, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has announced that it is shifting 25,000 government machines running Windows to open-source alternatives like Linux by the end of 2026. This will be a multi-step process initially involving migrating to LibreOffice from Microsoft Office, and then switching to Linux entirely. One of the reasons being cited for this massive transition is licensing costs. It is important to note that Munich city attempted the same a few years ago but the experiment eventually failed, with the government going back to Windows in 2015.
ARM exclusivity and Windows updates
If you were wondering why Qualcomm is the only company making chipsets for Windows on ARM PCs, wonder no further. It appears that Microsoft has an exclusivity deal in place regarding Windows on ARM with Qualcomm, which is why we have not seen hardware from other competing firms yet. That said, it has been reported that this deal is set to expire soon and MediaTek has already shown interest in developing processors for the Windows SKU.
In other news, it's been a relatively quiet week in the world of Windows updates too, mostly due to the aforementioned holidays in the U.S. Windows 10 did receive an optional KB5007253 update that fixes a bunch of issues related to remote printers, a 32-bit Excel bug, and more. Meanwhile, Windows 11 also received an optional 22000.348 November Update release. The most notable front-facing change here is the inclusion of new Fluent 2D emoji and a bunch of other behind-the-scenes updates that you can check out here.
We also heard back from the creator of APK sideloading app WSATools, who shared that his app was removed from the Microsoft Store for Windows 11 because it did not clearly note the requirements and it also contains the name "WSA" which is seemingly an official branding that Microsoft is using for Windows Subsystem on Android. You can check out more details on this topic here.
Microsoft Flight Simulator players can now buy the PMDG DC-6 Microsoft has announced plans to create a new datacenter region in Belgium A virtual machine running an evaluation copy of Windows 11 Enterprise can now be downloaded by developers, courtesy of Microsoft Some Halo Infinite cutscenes have leaked online (spoilers alert), so do browse safely Under the spotlight
After talking about the top five features I love about Windows 11 the week before, this time I went in the opposite direction and discussed the five features I absolutely hate. That said, it is important to note that both the lists are based completely on personal preferences and user experience. So if there's nothing that you hate about Windows 11 or nothing that you love about it, that's fine too!
I also wrote a brief guide about how to enable Super Duper Secure Mode (SDSM) in Microsoft Edge that will offer you enhanced security at the cost of potentially and slightly degraded performance. If that sounds fine to you, do give it a read here.
Image via Mr. Tempter | Shutterstock This week's most interesting news item isn't related to Microsoft but it's still worth noting in our weekly catchup. Russia has demanded 13 foreign tech companies - mostly belonging to the U.S. - to open offices on its soil by the end of this year. Right now, these demands are being enforced upon social media and tech firms that average more than half a million daily users and includes Google, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Apple, Zoom, Spotify, Viber, and others. The Kremlin has warned that companies that do not comply with its legislation may face data collection, money transfer limitations, and bans within Russia.
If you’d like to get a daily digest of news from Neowin, we have a Newsletter you can sign up to either via the ‘Get our newsletter’ widget in the sidebar, or through this link.
Missed any of the previous columns? Check them all out at this link.