Stuck on an old Windows 10 preview? Upgrade, or face Microsoft’s consequences

Stuck on an old Windows 10 preview? Upgrade, or face Microsoft's consequences

If you're running an outdated preview of Windows 10, be warned that Microsoft is changing things with its Insider program to mean that such old builds won't work anymore – and in fact a machine using them won't boot at all.

In other words, those who think they can happily run a PC with an old preview version of the OS will be forced to update to the latest build, because after all, that's what the Insider scheme is all about – testing new changes Microsoft has just made, and letting the Windows team know how well they work (or how badly they are bugged). Not just freeloading a copy of Windows 10.

The changes to the way build expiration works were announced in a blog post detailing the release of preview build 14926 of Windows 10.

Escalating consequences

From today, those running old preview builds will get a nag notification telling them to upgrade to the newest offering. But the big changes come in October, when on the first of the month, PCs running such builds will be forcibly rebooted every three hours, as a very inconvenient reminder that you need to update.

And finally, in a month's time on October 15, these PCs will cease to boot completely. So you most definitely want to update before that happens.

To grab the latest build (14926), you need to head over to Windows Update (in Settings, Update & Security). This fresh build, incidentally, has an expiration date of May 1 next year.

As for the changes in this new build, they include one very welcome tweak – when Windows 10 goes through a major upgrade, it will no longer reinstall apps that you've uninstalled. That should have been in there from the get-go, mind you, but better late and all that.

Various tweaks have been made to Edge as well, including new extensions, and a 'snooze' action which lets you close a tab you've been keeping open to remind you to do something related to that site, and instead get Cortana to remind you about it.

Some known issues were also documented, including the fact that some integrated Windows 10 apps such as Calculator, Alarms & Clock, and Voice Recorder will no longer function with this build. To solve this, you'll need to head to the Windows Store and download then install these apps again.

Via: Digital Trends

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A Pokemon Go malware app was downloaded by half a million people

A Pokemon Go malware app was downloaded by half a million people

In excess of half a million people have downloaded a Pokemon Go guide for Android that installed malware that could allow access to the phone.

Now that Niantic's smash hit augmented reality mobile game is available worldwide, those seeking to do harm have turned to guide apps in order to lure unsuspecting Pokemon trainers into infecting their own phones.

Anti-virus giant Kaspersky Labs highlighted the issue, and explained that the Trojan disguised in the app was a fairly sophisticated bit of software that had infected at least 6,000 phones.

"It doesn't start as soon as the victim launches the app. Instead, it waits for the user to install or uninstall another app, and then checks to see whether that app runs on a real device or on a virtual machine," explained Kaspersky

Trojan phone home

After finding out you are indeed using a phone the Trojan will actually wait a couple of hours before communicating with its 'home' server and then only proceed after getting a call to action back.

"This approach means that the control server can stop the attack from proceeding if it wants to - skipping those users it does not wish to target, or those which it suspects are a sandbox/virtual machine, for example. This provides an additional layer of protection for the malware."

In the world of Black Hats it seems you don't have to catch them all, but by spreading the net wide you can bag yourself a scarily large selection of nasties.

Here's how to download and play Pokemon Go and if you need some help - instead of downloading dodgy guides - check our our Pokemon Go tips

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These new calendar features just made Microsoft Outlook far more clever

These new calendar features just made Microsoft Outlook far more clever

Sunrise has, well, shall we say it has set, with the news that the calendar app (pictured above) has been retired by Microsoft – but the good news is that some of its features and design elements have been transferred over to the Outlook iOS and Android apps, which have just been revamped.

This wasn't really a surprise, as four months ago, the Sunrise team announced that Microsoft was moving them on to work on Outlook, and their app would be shut down soon.

But as mentioned, the new Outlook apps have taken a fair bit on board, in terms of a redesign and icons which will certainly look familiar to Sunrise users – the latter pop up when you create an event and type something like 'dinner', so you'll get a visual indicator of that event (a knife and fork in this case).

Microsoft has also overhauled Outlook's date and time pickers with a new look (see below) that makes using them easier and more intuitive, and the company notes this is the result of bringing Sunrise's design expertise across.

Outlook

Show me the way

Other new features include directions to events: when you create an event, you can specify its location, and a map is attached which you can tap on to bring up directions from your preferred maps app.

With the new Outlook apps, it's also now possible to edit recurring meetings and update multiple events with any changes all in one go, and there's further Skype integration, with the ability to fire up Skype for Business meetings directly from your mobile device.

Finally, a new feature called 'Interesting Calendars' lets you sign up to specific calendars such as that of the sports team you happen to support.

As for Sunrise users, updates for the app have already ceased, and today you'll be logged out of your account – and that will be that, as they say. However, the Sunrise team notes that: "Don't worry … all the information held in your calendar will still be available on the original platform you were using (Gmail, iCloud, Outlook, etc)."

Via: Mashable

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Ultimate irony: Adblock Plus is now selling ads

Ultimate irony: Adblock Plus is now selling ads

Popular browser extension Adblock Plus announced today that it has started its own ad network called Acceptable Ads Platform (APP).

But wait, aren't adblockers supposed to block ads, not serve them? Yes, but Adblock Plus doesn't see ads as the enemy. Instead, the company sees bad, intrusive advertising as its real enemy.

"The Acceptable Ads Platform helps publishers who want to show an alternative, nonintrusive ad experience to users with ad blockers by providing them with a tool that lets them implement Acceptable Ads themselves," said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus in a press release.

YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhb7NM9MGQA

Publishers using the Acceptable Ads Platform will be able to drag and drop acceptable ads on their site in real time. Users will still have the ability to opt-out of the Acceptable Ads feature, though miffed users may turn to other adblockers entirely. Users who do continue using Adblock Plus with Acceptable Ads enabled will be able to provide feedback about ads, helping to tailor ad experiences.

"The AAP will offer a feedback mechanism embedded in each ad, which will let you say whether you thought that particular ad was great, good, bad or complete shit," wrote Adblock Plus. "This feedback will then figure into which ads get selected on a live auction."

The Acceptable Ads Platform launches in beta today and will fully launch this fall.

Fraternizing with the enemy

While today's announcement may shock many, Adblock Plus actually began throttling back on blocking all ads in 2011 with the introduction of its acceptable ads feature. Ads deemed non-intrusive would be whitelisted by Adblock Plus.

The company's whitelist drew criticism as it allowed companies like Google, Microsoft and Taboola to pay to have their ads whitelisted. This gave the impression the company had a double standard when it came to ads from certain companies.

Adblock Plus acknowledges ads can be a problem, but is working with publishers to ensure their sites are still making money from users running its extension. "We don't hate all advertising, just the really of obnoxious stuff," wrote Adblock Plus PR Manager Ben Williams.

Adblock Plus revealed that 83% of its users agree that it's just the obnoxious ads they want to avoid. The company claims consumers understand that free content must come at the cost of advertising, and that's why Adblock Plus launched its Acceptable Ads program.

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Did Windows 10 forget your Anniversary Update? Get ready for a two month wait

Did Windows 10 forget your Anniversary Update? Get ready for a two month wait

Back in July, we heard that the Anniversary Update would have a staged rollout that would come in waves and would 'take some time' – but we didn't anticipate the length of the timeframe Microsoft was thinking about.

Dona Sarkar's comment at the time didn't mean that not everyone would get the update in the first week or two, but in actual fact, that not every PC would receive it in the launch month of August – or indeed September, as some of you have no doubt discovered (we did get our AU download through in August ourselves, about a fortnight after the rollout began).

And furthermore, some folks won't get it this month – or possibly not in October for that matter.

According to new details unearthed by ZDNet, it could be the start of November before some folks get the update delivered.

Three's the not-so-magic number

In an email, Microsoft stated: "The Anniversary Update will download and install via Windows Update. The download is automatically available to you. It will begin rolling out on 2 August 2016 and may take up to 3 months to reach all users."

Of course, there's a positive side to having to wait so long for the upgrade to arrive, namely that earlier users have found some fairly nasty flaws, and these will have been patched up for those later adopters. A good example is the bug which kept freezing up PCs, and was cured a couple of weeks back.

The webcam problems are also expected to be solved with a patch this month.

Indeed, as ZDNet notes, part of the reason for the slow pace of the rollout is so Microsoft can monitor progress and bugs, cross-referencing the latter with the hardware they're encountered on, building up stats and an overall picture of where problems lie, and taking appropriate action.

Hopefully though, the full three month wait will only be experienced by a very small minority of users, perhaps those running Windows 10 on less common devices. But who knows – a fair few folks may be left tapping their fingers impatiently on their desks…

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Best free video editors for Android

Best free video editors for Android

Introduction

Quik Intro

Your phone may be great at shooting videos, but it's probably not so smart at editing them – even the simplest clean-up tasks will usually require a little help.

If you've got some heavy-duty editing in mind then transferring your footage to a desktop PC will doubtless give you access to a larger screen and a more powerful CPU, very handy when you're working with HD footage.

But if you're looking for convenience, it's surprising just how much you can get done by installing a free Android app. Trimming, cutting, picture enhancements, captions, special effects, audio tweaks and more are generally just a tap or two away, and some of the best choices get close to desktop-level power.

You need to be wary of catches – ads, watermarked logos, an 'x minute' limit on video length – but choose carefully and you can pick out a capable editor, as there are plenty of them around. Keep reading for ten of our favourites, and check them out for yourself.

Quik

Quik

Quik is an excellent app which replaces the usual 'try this, no, undo, try something else' video editing workflow with something much better: it automatically creates movies itself.

Just give Quik your source material and it analyses your clips, finds interesting scenes, frames portrait images, adds transitions, special effects, even syncing key moments with the soundtrack (there are 70+ free songs included, or you can use your own).

You do get some manual control, with the ability to reorder and trim clips, add titles, or choose from 24 video styles with their own transitions and graphics. But Quik's real strength is in its automation, and the way the app generates very professional movies in just a few taps.

PowerDirector

PowerDirector

CyberLink's PowerDirector is one of the best desktop video editors around, so it's no surprise that the Android edition tramples all over most of the free – and commercial – competition.

The professional timeline interface will have experienced users feeling at home right away. Getting started is as easy as dragging and dropping your source material, effects and more. Then you can trim, crop or split your clips, adjust colours, apply excellent slow motion effects, tweak and boost volume, and of course share your work on Facebook and YouTube, or save it locally.

There are one or two issues – you really need a tablet to get the most from the UI, and the free version places a watermark on your movies – but if you're after a real video editor on your mobile device, PowerDirector is hard to beat.

VivaVideo

VivaVideo

VivaVideo is a fun video editor with a lengthy list of features: you can capture with various 'creative lenses', trim and merge clips, explore a good basic set of editing tools, add 200+ special effects and filters, make easy annotations with a host of stickers and themes, and share your movies via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Vimeo, email and more.

The end result is targeted at the consumer, rather than the professional user (forget keyframe editing, learn to love animated GIFs and 'cute' themes instead). The free build also has some major restrictions, with video watermarking and a very annoying five-minute limit. But VivaVideo still offers a good deal more features and functionality than most of the competition, and if you just want to create and share quick fun clips with friends then it's a good choice.

Videoshop

Videoshop

Videoshop is a capable editor, easy and fun to use for beginners, but with enough editing power to keep the more experienced user happy.

The app doesn't just offer basic trims and merges, for instance. It has some quality filters, effective video speed control, various picture fixes, animated titles, and a very wide range of audio tools – everything from inserting music from your library to recording narrations and, uh, inserting laughter, explosions or farts. Finished results can be shared on Facebook, YouTube and more.

Other apps may have more features, and we've seen complaints about a few bugs. Videoshop delivers a lot for a free video editor, though, and an impressive 4.4 star Google Play rating suggests most users are very happy.

Adobe Premiere Clip

Adobe Premiere Clip

An Adobe video editing app, for free? Amazingly, yes, although this isn't quite as good as you'd hope.

Premiere Clip does give you simple trimming, excellent lighting and colour filters, some professional audio tools and the ability to automatically sync image transitions with your soundtrack, before exporting the results to Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

If you're a Creative Cloud user you'll also appreciate the ability to seamlessly switch between Clip and Premiere Pro CC and have all your assets, edits, music markers and settings carried across and ready for use.

The app doesn't have nearly as many tools or settings as the best of the rest, unfortunately – there's no crop, resize or rotate, no colour adjustments, basic speed control – but Clip still bundles enough quality features to squeeze into the bottom half of our list.

FilmoraGo

FilmoraGo

FilmoraGo is the mobile edition of Wondershare Software's Filmora, a feature-packed but still relatively basic desktop video editor.

This Android version also seems to have a lengthy feature list, including import from social networks, fast and slow motion tools, simple transitions, overlays, filters, titles and more, along with sharing to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, Vimeo and more.

There's not a lot of power to most of this. Some functions are slow, and the app adds a logo to the end of your clip (although you could use something else to cut this out). But FilmoraGo works well as a simple video editor, and even total novices will be creating fun clips within a few minutes.

VideoShow

VideoShow

VideoShow is one of the most popular free video editors around, and it's easy to see why. A straightforward interface helps you quickly combine photo, video and audio files, add effects, filters, titles and more, and share the results with friends.

Some of the tools are a little basic – it's not aimed at the professional user – but you do at least get lots of transitions, stickers and other options to explore.

As usual with free video editors, there are some annoyances, including ads and a small logo on the exported video. But at least there's no limit on the length of your clip, and the logo can be removed for seven days if you install a free 'sponsored' app.

AndroVid

AndroVid

Mobile video editing apps are often disappointingly limited, but AndroVid delivers a host of desktop-like features: trim, split, cut and merge, along with brightness, contrast and saturation tweaks, histogram equalisation, rotates, flips, frame capture, transcoding, and of course a pile of special effects.

It's not all good news. We can live with ads, but having them appear over the toolbar sometimes is frustrating. The app isn't as polished as the best of the rest – it has a few bugs and doesn't get updated as often as we'd like. But it's still a likeable product overall, and if you're more interested in actually editing a video as opposed to adding fart noises or snowflake overlays, give it a try.

Video Editor

Video Editor

WeVideo's imaginatively-named Video Editor delivers the core trimming, captioning, effects-adding and social network-sharing features that you'd expect from a modern app. It's all very straightforward and you'll be producing your first movie in just a few minutes. (Don't take our word for it, there's a simple guide here.)

Most of these features are basic, and demanding users may soon be frustrated by the lack of control (imprecise trimming, no crop or zoom, limited image enhancements). The free version adds both a logo and an outro screen to your movie, too. But if you can live with that, Video Editor's simplicity and ease of use might be very appealing.

KineMaster

KineMaster

KineMaster claims to be "the only full-featured professional video editor for Android", and we're tempted to agree. Frame-level trimming, splicing and cutting, 3D transitions, multiple video layers (on some devices) and audio tracks, volume envelope control and colour LUT filters are just a few of its unusual high-end features.

The app hasn't forgotten about the fun side of video, either. There aren't as many stickers and effects as the more consumer-oriented competition, but it's still easy to put together a quick clip and share it on Facebook.

You will have to live with a logo on the finished movie, and upgrading involves expensive subscriptions rather than small one-off payments, but if you really need KineMaster's power it could be a good deal.

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Updated: 50 common Windows 10 problems and how to solve them

Updated: 50 common Windows 10 problems and how to solve them

Introduction

Introduction

Note: Our common Windows 10 problems feature has been fully updated. This article was first published in July 2015.

Windows 10 is now running on over 350 million PCs, tablets and smartphones, making it one of the most popular operating systems in the world. The successor to Windows 8.1 has been available for a little over a year now, which has given users plenty of time to get to know the OS.

Many of the initial quirks, bugs, and other annoyances that Windows 10 launched with have been fixed while others persist. Issues with printer connectivity, for example, have plagued users – and of course the recent Anniversary Update brought problems of its own.

At any rate, if you're suffering with the operating system, we've compiled a guide to 50 of the most common Windows 10 problems, as well as instructions on how to fix them. Read on for some troubleshooting goodness…

1. Having enough space to install Windows 10

Space to install Windows 10

If you're planning to move to Windows 10, actually installing the OS is the first area you could potentially run into problems with. Installing a new operating system requires a certain amount of free space on your drive so that it can be downloaded and certain elements can be run successfully.

For Windows 10, the space requirement is 16GB, which should be kept free on the main system drive the computer uses. This is actually the same as previous versions of Windows, so if you've upgraded before you can most likely do it again.

To check how much space you have left, go to My Computer (or This PC depending on the version of Windows you're running) where any drives you have will be listed. You can see the remaining space indicated underneath each drive, or you can right click and select Properties for a clearer overview (the system drive is usually C:).

2. Checking you have a powerful enough PC

Checking you have a powerful enough PC

Just as with space requirements, your PC will also have to be capable of running Windows 10. This means that it must reach certain minimum system requirements.

The requirements for running Windows 10 are relatively low: A processor of 1GHz or faster; 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit) of RAM; 16GB of free drive space; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphic device; and a Microsoft account combined with internet access.

To find out your PC's spec, go to Control Panel and select System and Security, then System.

3. Activating Windows 10

Activating Windows 10

Some users have reported issues with activating their copies of Windows 10, which could have been down to a number of different reasons. In some cases, the easiest way to get around the problem is to purchase a legitimate copy of Windows 10.

Unlike previous versions of Windows, the latest one is almost exclusively available online, which means that official Microsoft websites are the best bet for your purchase. The company was giving the OS away for free, but that promotion has now ended.

Microsoft has a helpful website that provides a downloadable copy in either 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

If you do find that you're unable to activate Windows 10 successfully, handily Microsoft introduced a new activation troubleshooter feature with the recent Anniversary Update. You'll find this in Settings, then click Update & Security, go to Activation and select Troubleshoot (you won't see this option if the OS has been activated).

4. Avoiding inconvenient software update reboots

4. Avoiding inconvenient software update reboots

Windows 10 is, in many ways, a truly internet-based operating system. Mostly, this is a bonus but there are times when it isn't – and Microsoft's attitude towards operating system updates is one such time.

The most annoying part of automatic updates is the restarting, which can seemingly come at random (and inconvenient times). The simplest way to counteract this is head to Windows Update (in Settings > Update & Security), click on Advanced Options and then Notify to Schedule Restart, which means the OS will request a reboot rather than trampling all over the work you're not quite done with yet.

5. Updating old software to work with Windows 10

5. Updating old software to work with Windows 10

Each version of a new operating system comes with its own set of backwards compatibility issues and Windows 10 is no exception.

The transition from Windows 8.1 to 10 is far less jarring than the move from Windows 7 to 8 was, but there are still certain applications that can become broken and, in some cases, cease to work at all.

One such application is Chrome, which some users have even had to fully delete and reinstall. If a program isn't working with Windows 10, try looking in the Windows Store for an update and, if that doesn't work, delete and reinstall it.

Over time, more and more developers will get round to updating their programs for Windows 10 so, if you're reading this a few years from now, this likely won't be much of a problem anymore.

6. Changing privacy and Wi-Fi Sense settings

Changing security and password sharing settings

Data security is incredibly important, especially as hackers become increasingly sophisticated and the number of cyber-attacks is on the up.

Windows 10 comes with a decent set of built-in protection measures, but you can never be too careful. One such feature that should be disabled by privacy-minded individuals is Wi-Fi Sense, which automatically shares the Wi-Fi password across Windows 10 devices on the same account.

Microsoft updated Wi-Fi Sense to share less data, but switching it off is the ideal way of preventing anything you don't want happening. To turn it off, go to the Start Menu, select Settings and click on Network & Internet, then Wi-Fi, and head to Manage Wi-Fi Settings – turn off all the options in here.

Also in Settings, it's possible to get an overview of everything else happening on Windows 10 in terms of privacy – unsurprisingly, under the Privacy section. In here, you'll be presented with a bunch of toggles that adjust some privacy options to help keep everything under control.

7. Printer compatibility

Printer connectivity

Printer compatibility can be an issue for older devices. If you're jumping from Windows 7 (or earlier) to Windows 10 then it's definitely worth updating all available printer drivers, which should help prevent them not working post-upgrade.

Doing this is simple. Just search Google (or Bing, depending on your preference) for the name of your printer and download the latest Windows 10 compatible drivers. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install them and you're good to go.

8. Changing the browser to Chrome or Firefox

Changing the browser to Chrome or Firefox

Microsoft ships Windows 10 with Edge, the successor to its Internet Explorer browser (although IE is still present in the OS). For many people, however, using Chrome or Firefox is the norm, no matter what Microsoft wants.

To install Chrome or Firefox – and get back to normality – open Edge, search for either, and find a Windows 10 version. Download it, install it, and make sure it's set as the default browser option so that Edge doesn't keep reappearing. To do this, head to Settings, System, and click on Default Apps – click under Web Browser and you can then select your preferred default browser.

9. Learning to use Edge

Learning to use Edge

If, however, you do want to use Edge then you'll find it's actually a decent browser, despite a few notable flaws.

One thing to note in particular is that running Edge on a touchscreen PC or tablet yields the best results as Microsoft has optimised it to support touch or pen input. Websites can be doodled on, shared, and generally messed around with in a way that other browsers don't really facilitate.

Microsoft has also focused on making Edge fast and, above all, battery efficient. Anyone who has ever used Chrome on a laptop knows that it just sucks up battery life, so this may be a refreshing change for some.

Favourites, browsing history, passwords, and so on can be shared between Windows 10 devices, too, which means that using Edge on one machine will be the same experience as using Edge on another. It's worth taking some time to give Edge at least a tryout before you decide it's a problem and make any vows involving bargepoles and so on.

10. Edge won't stream music when minimised

Edge won't stream music when minimised

The browser does come with some annoying features, however. Because it's a Universal Windows App, Edge runs on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and almost any other device. This means that it sometimes has a problem with being too much like a phone app rather than a PC program.

One of the ways this manifests itself is by sometimes refusing to play media when minimised, just as a phone app wouldn't. There's currently no fix for this, unfortunately, although you could obviously use a different browser until the problem is addressed by Microsoft. Or just use an entirely different app to stream your music.

11. Blocking pop-ups in Edge

Blocking pop-ups in Edge

Want to block pop-up ads in Edge? Fortunately, putting a stop to these bothersome things isn't difficult. Within the Edge browser, you need to click on Settings (found in the top-right 'ellipsis' menu, the three dots), then click on View Advanced Settings – in here you need to turn on Block Pop-ups.

12. Choosing Google over Bing

Choosing Google over Bing

Many people just don't like Bing, most likely because they have always used Google. That's fine, and we're sure Microsoft understands.

Changing Edge over to Google is relatively simple. Navigate in Edge to Google.com (or Yahoo, or whatever your preference) and click the ellipsis button in the top-right corner. A drop-down menu will appear: select Settings, and then navigate down to click View Advanced Settings. From here, scroll down to 'Search in the address bar with…' and select Add New.

Some users have reported that Add New often has no results in it, suggesting that no new search engine can be added. This isn't true. To get past this, close and then reopen Edge and (hopefully) some results will have appeared.

13. Grappling with the touchscreen

Grappling with the touchscreen

If you've bought a Windows 10 machine that has a touchscreen then you are, by and large, getting the best experience with the OS.

Ever since Windows 8, Microsoft has been optimising its operating system for the finger – and sometimes pen – with large tiles, easy-to-scroll menus, and so on.

However, it can still be a little disjointed, but the easiest way to remedy this is simple: head to Start > Settings > System > Tablet Mode. Then turn Tablet Mode on – this optimises Windows 10 for fingers rather than pointers, making it far easier to use.

14. Grappling with the touchpad

Grappling with the touchpad

Having a touchpad-enabled laptop is also good for Windows 10, but some users have reported that the upgrade from Windows 7 (and sometimes Windows 8) breaks it.

One of the ways to solve this is by first checking to see if your keyboard has a key that turns the touchpad off. If it doesn't – or the right setting is toggled – then head to Devices > Mouse & Touchpad> Additional mouse options.

A new window will appear. From here, select the tab that says Device Settings, then Devices, and then make sure the touchpad is enabled.

If none of these options work, press Windows Key + X, select Device Manager, then the option for Mice and other pointing devices, and update the driver. This should fix things.

15. Finding Safe Mode

Finding Safe Mode

Safe Mode is just what you'd expect – a safe way of booting up a PC and running the system with no startup apps and only essential drivers, which should hopefully allow the computer to boot successfully when it won't otherwise due to some issue or other.

With Windows 10, to access Safe Mode, hold down the Shift key during boot-up (or select Restart from the desktop while holding down Shift).

16. Making sure Windows 10 knows where you are

Making sure Windows 10 knows where you are

Location-based apps are fairly prominent in Windows 10 which makes it a good idea to let your PC know (roughly) where you are. Cortana, for example, can give far more information if it can accurately pinpoint where in the world it's being used.

To update your computer's location settings, head to the Start menu, click Settings, Time & Language, and click Region & Language – then make sure the correct country is selected. To turn on Location services, go to Settings > Privacy > Location, and flick the Location switch on.

17. Speeding up your PC

Speeding up your PC

There are loads of ways to speed up a PC and Windows 10 comes with several options to do so with ease.

Having fewer programs boot during startup can, for example, make the whole booting experience faster. To streamline your boot-up, press the Ctrl + Alt + Delete keys together and select Task Manager from the resulting screen, then select the Startup tab, and choose which services or apps are allowed to load (right click and select Disable to, well, disable any you don't want).

Deleting unused programs or files can also speed up a PC.

18. Removing the annoying lock screen

Removing the annoying lock screen

The lock screen on Windows 10 can be annoying, especially on a computer that doesn't have a touchscreen to easily 'swipe' it away. Windows Hello makes things somewhat easier, but only if you have a compatible computer with the necessary hardware to run the authentication system.

Luckily, Microsoft has provided a solution to the problem of the lock screen, albeit a complicated one that shouldn't be tried if you're not confident in tinkering with the Registry. Note that a misstep here can cause serious problems, so if you're a computing novice, it's probably best to steer clear of this one.

Okay, warning aside, to do this you need to first head to the search/Cortana box (next to the Start menu) and type in a search for:

regedit

This will run the Registry Editor. From here, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows, select the Personalisation key and select New before choosing DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Select New Value #1 in the right-hand pane, and use F2 to rename it to the following:

NoLockScreen

Now double click it, and change the value data to 1 and click OK.

It's a slightly complex process, but after a reboot you should be able to automatically bypass the lock screen.

19. Making DVDs work again

Making DVDs work again

Annoyingly, Windows 10 ships without DVD playing software as a standard option. Microsoft does offer an app as a download from the Windows Store – called Windows DVD Player, imaginatively – but it costs £11.59 (around $15, AU$20).

The best bet for those who want to watch DVDs is VLC Media Player, which is a free download and was recently updated to support Windows 10. It also supports a host of other file formats – even the weird ones – making it a very useful tool to have around (or check out our 5 best VLC alternatives if you fancy something a bit different).

20. Banish annoying notifications

Banish annoying notifications

Microsoft introduced a nifty way to view all of your notifications at once in the Action Center, which is one of Windows 10's best features compared to Windows 7 or 8.1.

However, it does tend to get clogged up with notifications, including ones that are seemingly useless (we're looking at you, Windows tips). Luckily, turning these off is easy.

Go to Settings > System > Notifications & Actions, and then simply toggle off any that are not useful or relevant while keeping the ones that are. Individual third-party app notifications can also be switched off.

21. Beefing up system security

Beefing up system security

As more of our lives increasingly spills over onto computers it becomes important that they're safe and secure. Windows 10 ships with a variety of security features that it's a good idea to take a look at.

One such feature to be aware of is Windows Defender, which is designed to detect and remove malware from PCs – you'll find it under Settings > Update & Security. Make sure you've got this turned on, if you don't have another third-party antivirus solution running on your machine.

Another nifty feature is Windows Hello which allows for biometric authentication on your machine (we'll come back to this and show you how to set it up in the next slide). And a further measure still is Windows Passport, which secures all your credentials in one place (read up more about that here).

It's impossible to stop all threats, but with its newest OS, Microsoft has taken a long hard look at the areas where Windows was more vulnerable and has patched things up nicely.

22. Setting up Windows Hello

Setting up Windows Hello

Windows Hello is one of the most innovative features that Microsoft has built into Windows 10. Essentially, it lets a user login just by using facial recognition (or a fingerprint) virtually instantly.

The software, which is available to all Windows 10 users, does require special hardware (and most likely won't work on older computers). Assuming you have the necessary hardware, how do you set up Windows Hello?

You need to go to the Start menu, click on Account, and select Change Account Settings. Select Sign-in Options and set a PIN. Once you've done this, there will be an option to Setup under Face. Select this and follow the instructions.

23. Stopping Windows 10 from using loads of data

Stopping Windows 10 from using loads of data

If you're on a tablet that has 4G, using a mobile hotspot, or surfing the web via a Windows 10 smartphone, then the operating system may have a nasty surprise for you.

Users have been reporting that the default configuration of Windows 10 sucks up data like there's no tomorrow, potentially putting you over your data allowance, and leaving you with a hefty bill.

Fortunately, there's an option that addresses the problem. Simply to go Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Click Advanced Options and then Set as metered connection. This means that Windows 10 will stop collecting so much data in the background.

24. Getting Cortana to respond to one voice

Getting Cortana to respond to one specific voice

Worried someone else might use Cortana on your device? Well, one cool thing that Cortana can do is 'learn' a certain person's voice, making it far more secure than Siri or Google Now, which generally just accept simple commands irrespective of who they come from.

To do this, open Cortana, select the Notebook from the left-hand menu, select Settings, and make sure that 'Respond to' is set 'To me'.

It'll run you through a few test phrases to get the basics of your voice and tone correct before effectively logging what you say and learning – eventually – to just respond to you.

25. Getting Windows 10 working on high-res screens

Getting Windows 10 to work on high-res screens

Windows supports a huge range of devices going back a long way which, inevitably, means that some don't work as well as others.

Users have reported issues with high-resolution displays and Windows 10, including experiencing blurriness in applications that had been rendering fine on previous versions of the OS such as Windows 8.1.

The easiest way to solve the issue of blurriness is by going to Control Panel > Display and fiddling around with the settings here. There is no one single setting that will fix all issues, so experiment and see what works (and what doesn't).

To fix blurriness in specific applications, right click on the app's icon and select Properties. Under the Compatibility tab there is an option to 'Disable display scaling on high DPI settings'. Tick this and – hopefully – the problems will disappear.

26. Using less battery on laptops and tablets

Using less battery on laptops and tablets

Battery life is important to anyone who regularly uses a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and of course Windows 10 can be used on all three of those devices.

Microsoft recognises this – as shown by the marketing of its Edge browser as being battery-friendly – and has built several tools into Windows 10 to help cut down on excessive battery drain.

All apps that run in the background can be toggled off, for example, which stops them from sucking up precious juice. And as we saw in an earlier tip, a metered internet connection option can also be used, which cuts down on background data usage.

Windows 10 also includes a dedicated set of power options, which you can find via Settings > System > Power & Sleep. From here, display sleep times can be set and under Additional Power Settings you can select a power plan that means a lighter load for your battery.

27. Generating a battery report

Generating a battery report

Continuing with the theme of avoiding excessive battery drain, if just fiddling with the settings isn't enough, Windows 10 can also generate a battery report. To do this, head to the Command Prompt Admin (which you get from right clicking on the Start menu), and type in:

powercfg /batteryreport /output "C:\battery_report.html"

This will save a file to any chosen folder – e.g. C:\ in this case, the root of your system drive – which gives you a hugely detailed look at battery quality, cycles, how much charge is left, and much more. The report is a little dense, so be warned on that front.

28. Changing default app choices

Changing default app choices

Another thing a lot of users have complained about is default app choices – i.e. browser, word processor, and so on – changing when updating Windows 10.

The easiest way to change them back is to head to Settings > System > Default Apps. From here, almost every major default app – music, email, maps, calendar and so on – can be chosen based on the ones you have downloaded.

29. Opening older Microsoft Office files

Opening older Microsoft Office files

This issue is still an annoyance in Windows 10 (indeed, it affects all versions of Windows and Office). The fix, however, is relatively simple.

If you're getting a lot of 'file is corrupt and cannot be opened' or 'unable to start correctly' warnings, then open Command Prompt (again, by right clicking the Start menu) and type in:

icacls "%programfiles%\Microsoft Office 15" /grant *S-1-15-2-1:(OI)(CI)RX

That should fix your problem – if it doesn't, then try to find each corrupted file, right click, select Change and then Online Repair.

30. Flickering screen issues

Flickering screen issues

Flickering screens aren't always down to the hardware and some users have reported issues such as these caused by upgrading to Windows 10.

The easiest way to fix this is to update all relevant drivers for monitors as well as Norton Antivirus, iCloud, and IDT Audio, which are all suspected to be potential causes of these problems. It may even help to uninstall and then reinstall them.

Windows 10 does automatically update drivers, so there is also a chance it's forcing an incompatible version of a driver onto the PC without realising.

31. Fixing the Start menu

31. Fixing the Start menu

The Start Menu can become cluttered, especially if you have a lot of apps and other bits and pieces that will automatically show up on it.

Microsoft lets you resize the menu as well as add and remove applications, shortcuts, and almost anything else. The easiest way to ditch things is by right clicking and then removing – click uninstall – or you can drag apps or folders directly onto the menu to add them.

32. Staying safe with the Windows Store

32. Staying safe with the Windows Store

Concerned about downloading software that could contain hidden malware, spyware or other nastiness? Then remember that using the Windows Store is safer than downloading apps from the web at large, because Microsoft checks over and vets programs on its store.

You can buy apps, games, films, music, TV shows, and everything else from the store, for reasonably competitive prices. To access the Store, simply find the icon on your desktop – or search for it – and click it. Purchasing is a breeze and everything is tied in with your Microsoft account.

33. Setting app permissions

Setting app permissions

App permission settings effectively control what, and how, certain apps do things. Do you want Facebook to be able to access your contacts, for example?

If not, you can switch this off, or adjust any permissions you're not happy about, by going to Start > Settings > Privacy. From here, you can select from the list of categories down the left-hand pane to adjust various easy-to-understand options on an app-by-app basis.

For example, going to the Location tab lets you choose which apps are allowed to use information pertaining to your location (assuming you have this turned on in the first place), and in Camera you can tweak which apps are allowed to use your PC's webcam.

34. Using Windows 10 across multiple devices

34. Using Windows 10 across multiple devices

A Microsoft Account (which you can set up by heading to login.live.com and following the instructions) effectively binds all of your devices together by syncing settings, apps, bookmarks, and everything else between different pieces of hardware.

Almost every single one of Microsoft's main applications – Edge, Office, OneDrive, and so on – uses the main Microsoft account to get information from the cloud.

If you're wondering how to set up and sync the OS across all your devices, the process is simple – just login to each device with the same Microsoft Account. Then, in the Settings of each device, there will be a set of options concerning what gets shared and how. On your Windows 10 PC, you'll find this under Settings > Accounts > Sync your settings – first you need to switch Sync Settings on, and then you can adjust what's shared as appropriate.

35. Fixing problems with Bluetooth connectivity

35. Fixing problems with Bluetooth connectivity

If you find that Windows 10 broke the connection of a Bluetooth device (or devices) that was previously paired up just fine with your machine, then there is an easy enough fix for this. According to Microsoft, all you have to do is head to Device Manager (just type 'device manager' into the search/Cortana box next to the Start menu), select the Bluetooth driver and update it to the latest settings, which will be compatible with Windows 10. The operating system should be able to automatically search, and then update, the driver.

If that fails to work, un-pairing (or forgetting) the device before re-pairing it should fix the issue.

36. Backing up a Windows 10 PC

36. Backing up a Windows 10 PC

There's nothing worse than having disaster strike your computer and then realising you haven't properly backed up your precious data. Want to know how to do this easily? Fortunately, backing up is a simple task in Windows 10.

Indeed, Windows 10 has many of the same backup features that were present on Windows 7, accessed by going into Settings > Update & Security > Backup.

The options include adding another drive to backup to, or accessing a previous backup on another machine – you can restore from a backup you created using Windows 7, in fact.

OneDrive is also a quick and easy option for backing up files, providing an off-site alternative in case of fire or theft. You'll find OneDrive under File Explorer (which in turn is under the Start menu).

37. Fixing black screen errors

37. Fixing black screen errors

A black screen on Windows 10 can mean several things, depending on whether you've logged into the operating system or not.

If you haven't logged in, or Windows 10 hasn't booted, then check your internet connection and boot your PC via Safe Mode. (To access Safe Mode, hold down the Shift key as your machine boots).

If you logged in and then the screen went black, unplug all external devices and, failing that, boot via Safe Mode as above.

If the problems persist, contact Microsoft directly for further advice.

38. Protecting your PC with Windows Firewall

38. Protecting your PC with Windows Firewall

Naturally, you want to keep your Windows 10 PC safe, but do you need to go to great lengths searching for and installing security software to achieve this? Actually you don't, because the integrated security solutions Microsoft bundles with its OS are perfectly serviceable efforts.

Windows Firewall is one half of Microsoft's basic efforts to keep your PC safe from malware and other attacks. It's easy to turn on, but configuring the firewall is a slightly more involved matter.

To switch on the firewall, or rather to make sure it's switched on as it should be by default, simply type 'firewall' into the search/Cortana box (next to the Start menu), and click on Windows Firewall. From here, there's an option to turn it on (or off), and you can also adjust the relative 'strength' of the firewall.

Windows Firewall can be configured as incredibly strong via the 'Advanced Settings' option – i.e. it blocks all suspect apps without asking – or slightly weaker, which means there's a slightly greater risk that your PC will become hit with some kind of infection, but the firewall won't interfere as much.

The easiest way to find out which settings are best for you is to simply test things out for a few days and tweak as needed. If you forget what you've done in the settings or think you've messed things up, just click on Restore Default Policy on the right-hand side of the Advanced Settings menu to get things back to normal.

39. Benefiting from Windows Defender

39. Benefiting from Windows Defender

Alongside the firewall discussed in the last slide, Windows Defender is the other half of Microsoft's essential defensive measures, and it focuses on keeping viruses off your PC by detecting malware and purging any infections present.

Activating Defender is simple: you'll find it under Settings > Update & Security, and then click on Windows Defender. It's a must that real-time protection should be turned on to allow Windows to constantly monitor for anything suspicious and step in should a detection occur. That said, even if it's been turned off, this is such a vital piece of the puzzle that the OS will turn it back on automatically after a while.

Note that if you have a third-party antivirus application installed, Windows Defender will be turned off so as to avoid conflicts. While much criticised in the past, Defender is actually a solid enough security solution these days, and is very nicely streamlined (plus it won't bother you with any pop-ups like some of the free antivirus programs do). On the other hand, we should note that it still doesn't score up there with the best rated antivirus packages (even the free ones).

40. Setting up device encryption

40. Setting up device encryption

Basic protection from malware aside, what about defending your Windows 10 machine from nefarious hackers? To do this, you can elect to use device encryption, and fortunately Microsoft has provided strong encryption facilities, and it isn't particularly difficult to set all this up – the caveat being that you need to be running Windows 10 Pro for BitLocker encryption (not Home).

To enable device encryption, go to Start, search 'encryption' and select Change device encryption settings. After that, select Manage BitLocker and turn it on, then follow the subsequent instructions. With your data encrypted, if hackers do manage to somehow access it, the information won't be of any use to them.

The only downside is that performance may take a bit of a hit on older machines, but if you need peace of mind regarding your precious data, it's worth it.

41. Solving sound problems

Solving sound problems

Windows 10 users have been reporting problems with how it handles sound for a long time now, and most of the issues stem from one simple thing: old drivers.

The aged drivers might work fine with older versions of Windows, but may not perform so well with the shiny new Windows 10. To fix such problems, go to the Start menu and search for Device Manager. Click on the link which will open a new window with a series of options. Select 'Sound, video, and game controllers', which will yield a set of results with a sound card option.

Select the sound card, and then select the Driver tab. There will be an option for updating the drivers that you should select. This will take you to the manufacturer's website where there will be instructions on how to download a new driver.

Once it's downloaded and installed (of course, make sure to get the Windows 10 version of the driver, if there is one) the problems should hopefully go away.

42. Bugged or glitchy software

Bugged software

It's not uncommon for software, particularly older apps, to encounter glitches or even to fail to run completely with Windows 10. There's one potential way to get around show-stopping bugs, though: right click on the icon for the app and select Properties, then click on the Compatibility tab. From here, click the checkbox next to 'Run this program in compatibility mode for', and in the drop-down menu underneath that, choose the version of Windows that the program ran fine on.

Over time, many developers will update their apps to remove bugs, so the software in question may eventually work just fine with Windows 10. An easy way to help them is by reporting any bugs you find, which can usually be done via the developer's website. This highlights what's up, allowing them to (hopefully) work on a fix.

43. Dealing with Windows Store connection errors

Dealing with Windows Store connection errors

Sometimes, the Windows Store will throw up a 'Check your connection – All fixed?' error when your internet connection seems to be running just fine, and obviously that's a frustrating experience.

To fix this, the first step to try is to make sure that your installed software is updated to the most recent versions. This helps to avoid any potential compatibility issues said programs may be having with Windows 10 – and it's good practice anyway, for an all-round healthier desktop environment.

Next, go and check your router, as there could be a genuine problem with the connection. To find out, open Edge, or indeed any other browser, and do a quick search. If the browser reports an error, then it is most likely an issue with the router. Restarting the router should hopefully resolve the problem.

Another possible solution to try is to check if a proxy connection is active, and disable it if so. To check, with the Edge browser, go to Settings (from the main drop-down menu, top-right), then click View Advanced Settings. Under proxy setup, click Open Proxy Settings, and make sure the Use a proxy server option is turned off.

If none of this works and the issues persist, head to the Registry Editor, which you can locate by going to the Start menu and searching for it. Once the editor is open, copy in this command:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\C urrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles

Once you've done that, right-click on the Profiles tab, head to Permissions and click Advanced. (It sounds complicated, but we're nearly there now). Now, click 'Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object' and hit the Apply button, which makes the change permanent.

Reboot your PC and hopefully you'll find the problem won't rear its ugly head again. Note that when working with the registry, you should always be very careful, so be sure that the line above which you have to enter is typed in precisely and correctly (double and triple-check it just to be safe).

44. Avoid losing files - make a backup

Avoid losing files – make a backup

Losing files because you didn't back them up is a hugely frustrating experience, but fortunately it's one that can be avoided easily.

To create a backup, purchase an external hard drive (which obviously has to be larger in size than the data you want to store on it – for recommendations, you may want to check out our roundup of best external hard disks).

To perform the backup process, ensure that the drive is connected to your PC, and left click on the Start menu, then click Settings.

From there, click Update and Security and navigate to Backup on the left. You'll see the File History option here. Click the Add a Drive button.

Windows will scan your computer for local and network drives you can use to store your backups on and, when it's done, you should select your drive from the list. File History will now be shown as On and you'll have access to all of the backed up files.

If a physical drive doesn't suit you (maybe you're worried about a fire, for instance, or the possibility of the disk corrupting) then there are plenty of online options you can use as an alternative. CrashPlan has received very good reviews and comes with various tiers suitable for single PCs right through to businesses.

Alternatively, you could simply use a cloud storage locker like Dropbox, or of course Microsoft's OneDrive, the latter of which is tied in directly with Windows 10.

Whichever online option you choose, do be warned that sending all your files over a net connection could be a slow process – although that obviously depends on the quantity of files you have, and the speed of your broadband. Also be careful if you have data allowances on your broadband plan.

It can be a good idea to have both a local backup on an external hard disk, and a further online backup – even if the latter only holds critical files and not everything.

45. Unstable Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi routers

Some users have reported that their Wi-Fi connection has become erratic after installing Windows 10.

To solve this problem, the first thing to try is to turn off your router and switch it back on – this will likely fix the vast majority of issues. This is because leaving a router on for a long period of time can cause it to go 'weird' (a technical term), just like a PC that is left on for months and months on end. Occasionally, it just needs rebooting.

If issues persist, however, make sure that all the Wi-Fi drivers on your PC are correct and updated. To do this, go to Device Manager (search for it in the Start menu). There will be a section called Network Adapters, which you can double-click on to show your adapter.

Right-click on it and select Update Driver Software, and then click 'Search automatically for updated driver software'. Now click close. This should solve the problem.

46. Computer booting very slowly

Computer booting very slowly

The easiest way to fix a PC booting sluggishly is by reducing the number of apps which are launching on startup, as having too many programs firing up when the computer starts makes the whole process much slower, especially when it comes to older hardware.

To trim those apps, press Control+Alt+Delete together and select Task Manager, then click the link that says More Details. From here, select the Startup tab. Here you'll find a list of all the apps that fire up when your PC starts. Look through the list of enabled apps and find any that you don't need – you can turn an app off by right-clicking on it and selecting Disable. Disabled apps won't automatically load on boot up.

Be careful not to turn Microsoft services off, mind you, or important apps such as antivirus. If you're unsure whether it's wise to disable a certain app, Google it to find out.

47. Webcam woes

Webcam woes

The recent Anniversary Update to Windows 10 came with the unexpected side effect of disabling some people's webcams in Skype and other video chat apps.

The best way to tackle this problem is to reinstall the camera's drivers or check for any updates that are available. To do this, go to Device Manager (search for it in the Start menu) and click on the section for 'Imaging Devices'. Right-click on the camera you're using, select Drivers and search for updates from the manufacturer.

Microsoft is aware of this problem and is working on a fix to be patched directly through to Windows 10. Rumour had it that this solution was going to be released in September, but obviously that didn't happen – hopefully it shouldn't be long before we see the patch arrive, though.

48. Tracking down resource hogging apps

Tracking down resource hogging apps

Is your PC grinding to a halt – and perhaps the hard disk is whirring like crazy? If so, there's a good chance that one of the programs you're running may have developed some kind of issue and is sapping all your system resources. Luckily, there's an easy way to find out if an app has gone haywire and is bogging down your computer.

You need to head over to Task Manager (accessed by pressing Control+Alt+Delete together), and click on More Details – you'll then see a list of Processes, which is all the different apps and services currently running on your machine.

Scan down the list and look for any apps which are hogging CPU, memory or disk usage – or perhaps all of the above.

Once you've discovered the culprit, select it and there's an option in the bottom-right corner to End Task. However, be careful that you aren't ending important system-critical tasks (usually ones with confusing names that won't mean anything to you), as this could cause your computer to crash.

If in doubt about whether you should kill a task, again, Google is your friend here – search for the app/service and you'll almost certainly find an answer about exactly what it does.

49. Avoid endless clicking of minimise

Windows desktop

Okay, so this isn't the biggest problem to hit Windows 10 users by any means, but nevertheless it's a worthwhile tip bearing in mind. When you've got a lot of programs open, minimising them all to get back to the desktop can be quite a chore when you have to click the little 'line' icon top-right again, and again, and again.

In actual fact, there's a keyboard shortcut which will minimise all active windows in one fell swoop. Simply hit the Windows key+D and you'll be back at the desktop in a jiffy. Getting into this habit saves a lot of time over the long run.

50. Getting rid of Live Tiles

Getting rid of Live Tiles

If you're using an older PC (or a tablet) then having vibrant Live Tiles may end up draining processing power that could be used elsewhere (not to mention battery life with a slate).

This is something Microsoft has considered, though, and Live Tiles, which are present on the Start menu, can be switched off. To turn off one specific tile, right-click it, then click More > Turn Live Tile off.

Alternatively, to switch off all Live Tiles, open the Start menu, and type the following, then hit enter:

gpedit.msc

Navigate to Local Computer Policy > User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Start Menu and Taskbar > Notifications. Double-click the 'Turn off tile notifications' entry on the right and select enabled in the window that opens.

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Office 365 groups can now include guests from outside your business

Office 365 groups can now include guests from outside your business

Work on Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite is, of course, a continual process, and the company has made another change to Office 365 in order to bolster collaboration.

The feature in question is guest access for Office 365 Groups, which allows you to include folks who aren't actually staff members within your organisation in a group.

Such external users can be invited by the group owner, as of today via the web version of Outlook – that's the only avenue by which you can pull off this trick to begin with, but further functionality will be added in a phased rollout.

You can invite a guest into your group no matter what email account they use, whether that's a business or consumer domain, and it doesn't have to be Outlook.com. However, if the guest's email is linked to a Microsoft account, they can simply sign in with those details – if not, they'll have to create an account via a sign-up page.

Welcome to the club

Once a guest has been successfully added to the group, they will get a welcome email, and will start receiving messages from the group (and calendar invites) in their inbox. They will also be given access to group files in SharePoint online.

Microsoft notes that there are clear 'visual indicators' to remind those in an Office 365 group that a guest is a current member.

Another recent change to Office 365 saw Microsoft bolstering security with the addition of a Service Assurance Dashboard to impart details of privacy, security and compliance controls, including third-party auditing of those measures.

Via: WinBeta

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Chrome’s next trick aims to make the web a safer place to shop

Chrome's next trick aims to make the web a safer place to shop

Google is busy upping its game with Chrome in various different ways – most recently improving its efficiency so the browser doesn't drain laptop batteries so swiftly – and another fresh initiative is a move to tighten things on the security front by clearly showing when the likes of online shopping sites are failing to use HTTPS.

HTTPS connections are secure and encrypted to protect any data transferred – which is obviously vital when that's the likes of your credit card details, or account passwords – whereas plain HTTP connections don't offer that security and leave users potentially open to exploits.

Currently with Chrome, if you're visiting a site which uses HTTPS, that fact is highlighted clearly by a green lock icon next to the URL in the address bar. Sites which use HTTP are simply marked with a neutral icon (although if you click it, this will inform you that 'your connection to this site is not private').

Risky business

However, starting with Chrome 56 (due to arrive at the beginning of next year), Google will actually flag sites which use HTTP and transmit financial/card details or passwords as 'Not secure'. Thus letting users see more clearly that they're taking something of a risk.

In a blog post spotted by CNET, Emily Schechter of the Chrome Security Team observed that this was part of a "long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure". So while this might just be a measure for websites dealing with sensitive data when it first arrives with Chrome 56, eventually it will apply to every site across the web – and such sites will be clearly marked with a red triangle warning icon.

This is, essentially, Google's not-so-subtle nudge to website developers to get their skates on transferring over to use HTTPS.

How many websites in total now use HTTPS? According to Google's stats drawn from its browser, just over half of Chrome desktop page loads are completed over HTTPS.

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