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Windows 11 Start menu: How to make it look like Windows 10

Windows 11—or a leaked build of Windows 11, anyway—does away with the old Windows 10 Start menu as part of a UI overhaul that simplifies the Start menu. But don’t despair! Here’s how to get Windows 10’s old Start menu back, complete with Live Tiles.

Windows 11 was leaked barely a day ago, but there’s already some controversy over the Start menu and the centralized location of the apps on the new taskbar. Everything is to the center of your PC’s screen, unlike the old days of Windows 10, when everything was oriented in the left-hand corner of your screen. The Windows 11 taskbar and Start menu heavily favor simple icons, too, while the Windows 10 Start menu exclusively used dynamic Live Tiles.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

When will Windows 11 ship? Here's what we know

On June 24, Microsoft is hosting an event for what Microsoft calls the “next generation of Windows,” possibly to be called Windows 11. Assuming that Microsoft does announce Windows 11 on that day, when will Windows 11 actually start shipping to users?

Based on how prior Windows releases have worked, we expect Windows 11 to ship probably by fall, and even earlier as part of Microsoft’s Windows Insider program. In part, that's because we've already tried out Windows 11, going hands-on with a decently polished leaked build.

We still can't be absolutely 100-percent sure that the June 24 Windows event will usher in Windows 11. We do know that the event is being billed as the “what’s next for Windows” event, and Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has been trying out the software for the past several months. And yes, there's the leaked Windows 11 build. 

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

How to create deal alerts for Prime Day: 5 useful tools

Here at PCWorld, we do our best to keep you informed on great deals in tech, but sometimes that’s just not enough. We can’t possibly anticipate everything you might want to buy online, especially when the products are too niche or when they fall outside the realm of tech entirely.

That’s why rolling your own deal alerts is an invaluable skill for saving money online. By setting up alerts and reminders for just the products you actually care about, you’ll stand less chance of missing out when prices fall, and you’ll avoid getting duped by “sales” on products with inflated list prices.

With Amazon Prime Day set for June 21 and June 22, now’s the perfect time to get situated. Here are a handful of my favorite tools for tracking prices online, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

7 big ways Windows 11 changes Windows 10

How is Windows 11 different than Windows 10? Our hands-on look at a leaked early build of Windows 11 begins to answer that question.

Simply put, and based only on what we’ve seen in the leak, Windows 11 appears to update the user interface of Windows 10 without changing the underlying infrastructure of Windows 10 by all that much. These cosmetic changes are nonetheless significant.

Our leaked build shows changes in the Windows taskbar and Start menu, leveraging the UI tweaks that Microsoft made to Windows 10X before it put that operating system on ice earlier this year. There’s also a massive Widgets drawer that’s entirely new, though we’d expect it to evolve between now and when Microsoft will likely launch Windows 11 in the fall.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

Ring Wall Light Solar review: Shine a light where you need it

It’s a great smart light, just don’t install it in the shadow of a roof eave if you expect its solar panel to do its job.
Wednesday June 16, 2021

Reolink Argus 3 Pro review: An affordable 2K security camera

Excellent image quality, intelligent motion detection, and free storage options are the highlights of this Arlo alternative.
Wednesday June 16, 2021

Why you don't want a USB-C charger for your gaming laptop

Beware of gaming laptop makers pushing USB-C chargers. While these smaller Gallium Nitride (GaN) units are called alternatives to the honking-big power bricks such laptops usually come with, you're giving up a lot with the switch.

To find out just how much performance you leave behind, PCWorld decided to test a gaming laptop with two popular GaN charger rates you'll run into—60 watts and 100 watts.

What is a Gallium Nitride charger?

GaN chargers are built using Gallium Nitride, which is far more efficient than conventional silicon-based chargers, allowing manufacturers to greatly reduce the size and weight of the units. It was initially an expensive and rare technology, but it's become far more affordable recently.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

Windows 11 hands on: First look at the leaked OS

Windows 11 is Microsoft’s next operating system. It’s here, it’s real, and we’re using a leaked version of it right now. Our hands-on should provide an early first look at what you can expect in the shipping version: the addition of a mammoth widgets drawer, an updated Windows 10X-like user interface, and more. 

On June 24, Microsoft will host a Windows event, promising “what’s next for Windows.” Microsoft teased the event with a graphic that showed light falling through a window to create a shadow that looked very much like the number 11. The company also set the announcement for 11 a.m. ET. Chief executive Satya Nadella calls it the next generation of Windows. And make no mistake: The leaked version of Windows 11 we used advertises itself as Windows 11 throughout.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

The best graphics cards for PC gaming

Most people who are in the market for a new graphics card have one primary question in mind: Which card will give me the most bang for my buck? Obviously, the answer will vary depending on your budget. Beyond that, there are a number of factors to  consider: Raw performance is important, but so are things like noise, the driver experience, and supplemental software. And do you want to pay Nvidia’s RTX premium to get in on the bleeding edge of real-time ray tracing?

Let us make it easy for you. We’ve tested nearly every major GPU that’s hit the streets over the past couple of years, from $100 budget cards to $1,200 luxury models. Our knowledge has been distilled into this article—a buying guide with recommendations on which graphics card to buy, no matter what sort of experience you’re looking for.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

Best wireless keyboards: Hand-tested reviews of Bluetooth and USB models

The best wireless keyboards do more than free you from a cable. They let you toss the crummy keyboard you got for free with your PC—does anyone like that one?—and they also give you options. The models we’ve reviewed range from full-size desktop slabs to portable models that skip easily from laptop to tablet to phone. Whatever you need to type with, there’s a keyboard for it. 

Keyboard choice can be very subjective. That said, we’ve based our reviews on hours spent with each model, banging away on work projects, surfing the web, and keeping up on social media. 

There’s truly no one size to fit all, but our reviews aim to give you enough specifics to make a sound decision. Check out our buying advice at the end to help you choose from other models you find.

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Wednesday June 16, 2021

Windows 11 screenshots appear to have leaked

Screenshots posted online of what may be Windows 11 suggest that the new operating system will look similar to the never-released Windows 10X.

The screenshots, posted to the Chinese Baidu site, feature characteristics of Windows 10X, including the gray background and the centered start menu. Windows 10X leaked back in January (PCWorld tried it). Microsoft decided to shelve Windows 10X later in 2021, and the company said that it planned to merge several features into Windows. 

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Tuesday June 15, 2021

E3 2021: 12 big reveals that PC gamers need to see

The first-ever all-virtual E3 gaming expo kicked off this weekend, and while this year’s event may be short on breathtaking Keanu Reeves cameos on big stages, the games continue to come fast and furious.

Yesteryear’s E3s largely revolved around console blockbusters, making it easy to round up the meager PC announcements at the show. No more: Nw that Microsoft is weaving Xbox and Windows closer together, both major consoles are built on PC-like AMD chips. Even Sony is bringing triple-A exclusives to the PC. Many (maybe most) of E3 2021’s games are destined to grace mice and keyboards. Huzzah!

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Tuesday June 15, 2021

Vizio M-Series Quantum 4K UHD TV review: Same accurate color, now with upgraded ports

The M-Series Quantum remains basically the same as it was in 2019: A good lower-mid-range TV. New for 2021: eARC support for uncompressed 7.1 surround sound, along with FreeSync and HDMI variable refresh rates.
Tuesday June 15, 2021

Eve Door and Window review: This smart, Thread-enabled door and window sensor is only for HomeKit users

Eve’s easy-to-install but pricey contact sensor offers powerful automations and it works with Thread, but it doesn’t support Alexa or Google Assistant.
Tuesday June 15, 2021

Everything you need to know about HDR on your PC

HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is video or image content created with a wider dynamic range, or difference between the darkest and brightest image that can be shown. HDR also comes hand-in-hand with a wide color gamut and greater color bit depth, which help achieve a realistic, lifelike image on your PC’s monitor.

In other words, HDR can deliver eye-searing brightness with spectacular colors rarely found outside an acid trip. Sounds exciting, right?

If it were only that simple. HDR can elevate movies and games on your PC, but it’s difficult to use. There’s several actual HDR standards and a range of hardware with varying capabilities. It’s possible to achieve jaw-dropping HDR on your Windows machine, but it’s not easy.

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Tuesday June 15, 2021

Razer’s revived Blade 14 puts Ryzen in the hands of fans at long last

The Razer Blade 14 is back. And with its return after a three-year hiatus comes a new flavor of hardware—a Ryzen processor.

An AMD-based configuration is one long-requested by fans, according to Razer, which unveiled the 14-inch laptop at its E3 press conference on Monday. Starting at a price of $1,799, it features the 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen 5900HX and Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series Max-Q graphics, along with high-refresh rate displays up to 1440p in resolution. It joins the existing lineup of Intel-based Blade laptops (Blade Stealth 13, Blade 15, and Blade Pro 17).

As usual, Razer claims to be industry-disrupting with the new Blade 14, mainly for how this laptop packs top-of-the-line hardware into an impressively compact profile. The most lavish version is a no-compromises pairing of the 5900HX and an RTX 3080, plus a 165Hz, 1440p 100% DCI-P3 FreeSync Premium display. However, the RTX 3070 and RTX 3060 variants retain the luxe feel: The former shares the 3080 model’s screen, while the latter sports a 144Hz 1080p 100% sRGB FreeSync Premium panel. Both displays are IPS-level and come custom-calibrated.

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Tuesday June 15, 2021

Windows 11 rumors flare anew with Windows 10 'retirement' set for 2025

Microsoft has updated its Windows 10 support lifecycle page to include the term ‘retirement,’ suggesting that Windows 10 will indeed come to an end in favor of a replacement that may be called Windows 11.

The significance of the announcement is Microsoft’s use of the word ‘retirement.’  Microsoft’s support page now lists the “retirement date” of Windows 10 Home and Pro as October 14, 2025. That’s the same date Microsoft had set for the end of the product lifecycle for Windows 10 in 2017—in other words, the same 10-year product lifecycle that Microsoft typically offers. 

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Tuesday June 15, 2021

Google opens up Workspace to consumers, announces new Spaces chat

Google announced changes to Workspace (formerly known at G Suite) and announced a new service called Spaces on Monday. Effective immediately, Google is opening up its unified Workspace experience to anyone with a Gmail account—and adding an individual Workspace paid account. Meanwhile Spaces is yet another collaborative environment that will sit alongside the “smart canvas” concept Google announced last month.

Monday’s announcements are just another step along Google’s path of organizing its Google apps like Docs and Sheets into a more cohesive experience. Last October, Google announced that it was changing the name of Google G Suite to Google Workspace, and embarking upon cross-app collaboration. Google began the process with its paid Google’s paid plans, leaving the transition of consumer offerings until later. Now, that time has arrived.

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Tuesday June 15, 2021

Nvidia ending support for Windows 7, 8, and older 'Kepler' GeForce GPUs

Microsoft killed support for Windows 7 well over a year ago, and now it’s Nvidia’s turn. In a pair of support pages published over the weekend, Nvidia announced that on August 31, 2021, the final Game Ready drivers with support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 as well as older “Kepler” GPU-based GeForce graphics cards will be posted. After that, your existing setup will continue to work, but you won’t receive bug fixes or optimizations for new PC games, though “critical” security updates will continue to be provided through September 2024.

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Monday June 14, 2021

Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition review: This all-AMD laptop is affordable and very fast

The Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition gets all A’s: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, AMD Radeon RX 6800M, and AMD ‘Advantage,’ meaning it’s the first machine to meet AMD guidelines designed to make mid-range gaming laptops better. And yes, it’s made by Asus, too.

We’ll say this as a public service announcement right now: If you’re on the hunt for an affordable yet stupidly fast laptop on a medium budget, you may want to skip the rest of this and simply buy the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition right now ($1,650 at Best Buy) because of its stunning price-to-performance ratio.

If you want to be a little more cautious and actually finish this review, we’ll first break down what’s inside.

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Monday June 14, 2021

Syng Cell Alpha immersive speaker first impressions: This thing fills a room like no other speaker I've heard

It sounds great, and you can control the sweet spot's size and location. How cool is that?
Monday June 14, 2021

EZVIZ C8C security camera review: Pan and tilt features on a budget

This inexpensive system is stripped down to the basics, and it suffers from erratic performance.
Monday June 14, 2021

How to securely erase your hard drive or SSD

The siren has sung and you’ve finally succumbed to her call: You’re the proud owner of a shiny new PC, a faster SSD, or a bigger hard drive. It’s time to sell or donate your old gear and start playing with your new toys, right? Not so fast. First you need to securely erase the data off your old hard drives so you don’t become a victim of identify theft.

Simply deleting the data off your hard drive doesn’t erase it as you might expect. Instead, NTFS (the file system used by Windows PCs) just hides the data from immediate view, leaving it to be overwritten when a new file takes up residence on the drive. That’s a workable scenario for everyday use, but it could spell disaster when it’s time to part with an old machine.

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Monday June 14, 2021

The best budget computer speakers: Surprisingly sound choices for $100 or less

You take all this care collecting gigs of your favorite music and movies, and then play it all through your laptop’s built-in speakers. Even the best ones can leave your audio sounding thin and lifeless. External PC speakers—along with a good set of headphones—are a must for getting the best fidelity from your media files.

A trip online or to your favorite electronics store will reveal a head-spinning variety of options to choose from, with some systems costing as much or more than you paid for your laptop. Luckily, you don’t need to take out a personal loan to upgrade your audio. Quality speakers can be found for even less than $100. And while there can be a degree of “you get what you pay for” at this price level, you can find satisfying sound on a budget if you’re willing to make a few compromises.

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Saturday June 12, 2021

How to turn off News And Interests in Windows 10's taskbar

Windows 10's latest round of Patch Tuesday updates brings a minor upgrade to the desktop taskbar, as we reported in April. The News and Interests feature puts a curated news feed and local weather conditions onto your taskbar powered, by MSN and Microsoft News.

The News and Interests icon appears in Windows 10's taskbar as an icon showing the current weather, but hover over the weather, and you’ll be treated to news headlines, sports scores, and traffic updates. Click the link on a news story and you’ll be taken to the full article via Microsoft’s Edge browser.

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Friday June 11, 2021

What to do with an old laptop: 10 clever ideas

So you’ve upgraded to a brand-new laptop at last—or perhaps you’re finally clearing out clutter—and now you’ve got an old laptop to deal with. What to do with it?

That depends on your circumstances, the age of your laptop, and the amount of time and space you have. But chances are, your old hardware can rise to the challenge of a second lease on life, even if it’s not with you. You can give it a new, single purpose; donate it to a worthy cause; sell it (even if it’s only for parts); or responsibly lay it to rest. To help you decide on your laptop’s next act, we’ve gathered up our top suggestions, with specific project ideas to try if you keep it.

To read this article in full, please click here


Friday June 11, 2021

Samsung HW-Q800A review: Samsung TV users will get the most out of this 3.1.2 Dolby Atmos soundbar

If you want to try the HW-Q800A’s Q Symphony and SpaceFit features, you’ll need a Samsung TV.
Friday June 11, 2021

Why I left GeForce Now for a dusty PlayStation 4

As I sprinted, dodged, slid forward and raised the scope of my trusty sniper rifle during a frantic Destiny 2 Nightfall, something felt off.

My timing was a mess. I was missing jumps, whiffing on easy Dreg kills, and fighting with my sniper’s reticle, which stubbornly bobbed and weaved while I attempted to line up head shots.

Something was wrong all right, and I had a name for my pain: latency, a common annoyance with (although by no means exclusive to) GeForce Now, Nvidia’s popular, reasonably priced, and—up to a point—miraculously effective cloud gaming service.

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Friday June 11, 2021

The Full Nerd ep. 180: GeForce RTX 3070 Ti review, DLSS vs. AMD FSR, custom 3080 Ti GPUs


Friday June 11, 2021

Remedy's magnificent Control is free on the Epic Games store, and you don't want to miss it

The Epic Games Store’s appropriately named Epic Mega Sale continues to roll on, and today the Steam rival revealed a truly knockout freebie to lure you into virtual aisles. For the next week, you can claim Remedy’s phenomenal Control for the low, low price of free.

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to play Control yet, you won’t want to miss out on this spectacular giveaway. We crowned Remedy’s supernatural adventure as one of the best PC games of 2019, and it only narrowly missed out on being our pick for the best game of the year. It’s flat-out fantastic.

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Thursday June 10, 2021