Windows 10’s Beta channel is now officially live to bring in new features – but don’t get excited yet

Microsoft recently announced that it’s resurrecting the Beta channel for Windows 10 in order to test new features – which means, yes, the OS is officially being actively worked on – and the very first preview build has arrived in this channel.

The not-so-exciting news is that build 19045 (aka KB5039299) for Windows 10 22H2 doesn’t actually contain any new features, and is all about making tweaks and minor adjustments, as well as the usual clutch of bug fixes.

Microsoft lists the various bits of work carried out in this new preview build in the usual blog post, and one of the notable changes for Windows 10 is to bolster the stability of the search box in the taskbar when you’re looking for apps. In other words, a search for a particular app should no longer produce wonky results (or at least fewer of these incidents should occur).

There are also improvements to the Windows Backup app such as now being able to store your device’s Activity History and Printer Device Settings preferences. The Windows Backup improvements mean that it'll be easier to restore all your previous hardware settings when you set up a new PC – as long as they're backed up and tied to your Microsoft account.

As well as the above changes, Microsoft also resolved a problem whereby backups would fail when desktop and lock screen backgrounds were backed up twice.

Bug squashing aplenty

That’s the main thrust of this preview build, but as we mentioned there are also bug fixes here. They include the cure for an issue whereby the PC fails to come back from hibernation after BitLocker has been turned on, and a folder management glitch in File Explorer, along with many more fixes.

So, as we said, there’s not a huge amount going on here to get excited about – but this release does at least mean that the Beta channel for Windows 10 is now active. Clearly, we will get new features coming to Microsoft’s older OS soon enough, and the software giant must have allocated some fresh resources towards Windows 10 development to facilitate that.

However, don’t go thinking this means there are any changes coming regarding the End of Life date for the crowd-favorite operating system, as Windows 10 is still scheduled to have support dropped in October 2025, and Microsoft has made it clear that won’t change.

Via Windows Latest


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Microsoft forgot to remove Windows 10’s File Explorer from Windows 11 – here’s how to find it

An especially inquisitive Reddit user has worked out a trick that lets you use Windows 10’s File Explorer in Windows 11 without having to mess with your Windows Registry.

Windows 10’s File Explorer and overall user interface (UI) are some of the biggest reasons that many folks prefer the older operating system, so this will be regarded as quite the breakthrough in some respects. Mainly because other workarounds to be able to achieve the same end require that you tinker with your Windows Registry, requiring a degree of understanding and care (or a third-party tool, most of which are not free).

Now, thanks to Reddit user The_Blank_Spot, you can achieve the same thing a lot more easily. 

To fire up Windows 10’s File Explorer within Windows 11, follow these steps: 

1. Type ‘Control Panel’ into the search box in the Windows 11 taskbar and open the panel.

2. Click on ‘System and Security.’

A screenshot of the home screen of Control Panel, with an arrow pointing to 'System and security'

(Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Click on ‘Windows Tools.’

A screenshot of the 'System and Security' page, with an arrow pointing to 'Windows Tools'

(Image credit: Microsoft)

This should open the ‘Windows Tools’ folder, but here’s the trick: it opens in the classic Windows 10 File Explorer UI. From here, you can go on to navigate to different file locations or system drives, and those who have tried, including us, have observed that the interface won’t change while that window stays open.

In other words, you’ll have the Windows 10 File Explorer the whole time you’re working with this window, until you close it.

An easy workaround with seemingly no downside

This workaround seemingly doesn’t cause any issues with your OS and it also doesn’t replace the current Windows 11 UI. You can use the rest of Windows 11 as usual, and you can even use both File Explorers side by side at the same time (if you open any folder in Windows 11 as normal).

Using Windows 10’s UI here also means you get access to a feature that was cut in Windows 11 – though admittedly it’s coming back in testing – namely ‘drag and drop’ in File Explorer’s address bar. This allows you to select a file or folder that’s currently open in a location in File Explorer, then drag it to another location listed in the address bar to move it there. 

A commenter in the thread regarding The_Blank_Spot’s discovery, RockFox, pointed out that once you’re in ‘System and Security’ within ‘Control Panel,’ you can right-click ‘Windows Tools’ and use ‘Create shortcut.’ Then, you can right-click this shortcut and select ‘Pin to Start’ or  ‘Pin to Taskbar’ to place it in a convenient place in those parts of the Windows 11 interface, and rename it to whatever you want.

Many people might be delighted to find out about this, and I will probably take these steps on my own device, too. However, since this does appear to be a bug that Microsoft hasn’t caught yet, it’s likely the company might close this loophole when the next huge Windows 11 update, 24H2, is released later in 2024.



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Upgrade to Windows 11 or take the risk: Microsoft warns about Windows 10’s end-of-life date once again

Windows 10 might hold a share of around 70% of the overall Windows user base, but that’s not making Microsoft flinch when it comes to its plans to deprecate the fan-favorite operating system. The date when Windows 10 is going to stop receiving support and new updates has been set (it’s October 14, 2025), and current Windows 10 users are being reminded again. 

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has prodded users to upgrade to Windows 11 – far from it. Previously the company has shown full-screen multi-page reminders, and now, Microsoft has added an official web page detailing the inevitable.

The new ‘End of support’ page offers Microsoft’s advice and recommendations for transitioning to Windows 11 if you’re running Windows 10 (or an older Windows version than that like Windows 8.1 or Windows 7). 

Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 have already been ditched and haven’t been receiving updates for a long time, and Windows 10 will join them next year. The official page goes into detail about what will happen when support ends and what users can expect. 

The Windows 10-specific page has a prominent banner urging users to upgrade to Windows 11 for free if their PC is eligible. Microsoft also explains that Windows 10 users will no longer receive security or technical updates after October 2025. Their PCs will continue to work, but they won't get security updates and will be left open to potential security exploits, and so Microsoft recommends that they move on to Windows 11 (if their hardware allows the upgrade).

The dedicated transition page also has other linked pages detailing Windows 11’s features and how they’re an apparent improvement on Windows 10, as well as a straightforward comparison page between the two operating systems. There’s a page that even takes you through the process of how to shop for a new laptop, should you wish to upgrade to Windows 11 on a new device, and how you can back up your data on OneDrive to make sure you don’t lose it when you transition to a new machine. 

Microsoft is pretty insistent that you will need to get a device capable of running Windows 11, preferably a new one and, if you really want to make Microsoft happy, you can go for one of its brand new next-gen Copilot+ PCs

Microsoft presenting Surface Laptop and Surface Pro devices.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

So, what's next for Windows 10 users?

Windows 10 users who don’t want to migrate to Windows 11 will be faced with a difficult choice – switch to an alternative OS entirely (like Linux), or stick with Windows 10 and open up their PC to possible malware and security holes that don’t get resolved by updates after October 2025. These users will also not see any new features for their system or apps introduced through updates.

The other choice is to continue receiving critical security updates for Windows 10 by opting in for the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program for the operating system. It's intended to be a permanent fix, and its purpose is to offer a temporary solution. This is mainly for organizations and businesses while they transition to a newer operating system.

The pricing plans for individual users opting for the ESU program haven’t been revealed yet, but Windows Latest has learned that Microsoft will share this information later in the year. Businesses will pay $ 61 per device for year one (and that price will increase every year).

Many people just prefer Windows 10 to Windows 11, but there are also folks whose devices don’t meet the hardware requirements to run Microsoft’s newest OS. While there are workarounds for some PCs to fudge an installation of Windows 11, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that course of action (and neither is it suitable for the less tech-savvy out there).

Microsoft might be eager for people to move on to its shiny new AI-driven Copilot+ PCs, but many people can’t afford a new computer right now, and, for the time being, Windows 10 works perfectly well. A lot of people aren’t that keen on Windows 11 either, due to some of its performance issues, perceived flaws in the operating system’s design, and Microsoft’s persistent effort to integrate AI features into multiple parts of the OS. 

I don’t know if Microsoft will be successful in converting more users to Windows 11 and its new line-up of PCs, but Windows 10 fans are reluctant to move on just yet. As to whether that will change next year, we’ll just have to see, but Windows 11 adoption appears to have stalled recently, so it’s not looking great for Microsoft. That said, Windows is still the most widely used desktop operating system in the world, and there’s no threat to its dominance that will mean Microsoft feels the heat in any meaningful way – for now.


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Windows 10’s lock screen ruined? Not for everyone, but new feature rolling out is a love or hate thing

Windows 10 is getting a new feature for the lock screen, furnishing it with some extras that you’ll either approve of or detest, if the reaction online thus far is anything to go by.

Ever-present leaker and keen delver into the hidden depths of Windows 11 preview builds, PhantomOfEarth, posted a screenshot of the new lock screen cards on X (formerly Twitter).

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As the leaker explains, this is a feature rolling out in Windows 10 in the Release Preview channel, with build 19045.4235, so not everyone will have it. But if it hasn’t reached them yet, testers can force the functionality to work using ViVeTool (a Windows configuration utility).

These lock screen cards show the current weather and other bits and pieces like scores from sports matches, stock market happenings, local traffic, and so forth. In other words, info you may – or may not – find useful.

As PhantomOfEarth points out, the weather card has been tweaked to make it look better, although there’s a sticking point here: you can either have all of these cards displayed, or none of them. There’s no option to pick and choose if you don’t want, say, the finance-related card.

Analysis: Bloat on the landscape

For those thinking – wait a minute, didn’t Microsoft stop adding features for Windows 10, and there is a comment to that effect on X – well, the firm adopted that as a policy for a short while, before having a rethink.

In short, work is still being done with developing new features for Windows 10, such as this particular addition – but don’t expect a massive amount to be piped through over the next year and a half of Windows 10’s remaining shelf life.

One cynical soul replying to the above tweet suggests the work that is being done is only there to make you upgrade to Windows 11, which is clearly very harsh, but the point being made is that there are folks who don’t like this change. They see these cards as rather pointless bloat that’ll slow down your PC a touch, perhaps.

Mind you, the info cards aren’t compulsory – you can turn them off if you don’t like them. Although as PhantomOfEarth says, it’d be nice if you could turn off selected cards, rather than just switching off the whole lot – choice is always good – but perhaps Microsoft will make it work this way in the future. We are still in the testing phase, after all, although this change will be coming to Windows 10 soon enough.

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Windows 10’s next update might come with a predictable but annoying extra – yet more badgering to upgrade to Windows 11

Some Windows 10 users are apparently being treated (ahem) to a multi-panel pop-up that takes over the whole screen, and consists of three pages of persuading those with eligible PCs to get the upgrade to Windows 11.

This kind of effectively long-winded nag – three full screens of selling the upgrade to Windows 11 – has been seen before, but it’s now appearing again as shown by Windows Latest.

The tech site observed that they stumbled on this sprawling pop-up after installing the optional update (in preview) for January 2024.

The first screen informs the user about the available free upgrade to Windows 11, and suggests allowing it to download in the background (while still using the PC).

As we’ve seen before, there are sneaky tactics with the buttons too – both available options in the center of the screen are saying ‘yes’ to the upgrade (the choice is either get it right now or schedule the upgrade for later). If you want to ‘Keep Windows 10’ that selection is sort of tucked away towards the bottom of the screen.

Clicking to keep the current OS, mind, means you still have to navigate through another two pages, the first of which tells you that the best choice is to switch to Windows 11, and the second of which makes you confirm that you want to stay on Windows 10.

We should note that Windows Latest calls this a four-page pop-up, but that’s not strictly true. There is a fourth panel, but you’ll only see that if you click the ‘See what’s inside’ button to learn more about Windows 11 (which most upgrade avoiders won’t, of course).

Analysis: Stop it already – or at least go more succinct

And that’s the point for the aforementioned upgrade avoiders, really – we all know what Windows 11 is by now, and we know if our PC is eligible for a free upgrade. Mainly because Microsoft has repeatedly told us so with overly lengthy ads for Windows 11 like this one. In fact, we’ve had something like 10 counts of badgering to upgrade our Windows 10 PC (at least), with the last three (or maybe even four) being this multi-panel effort that takes some clicking through.

So, why is Microsoft still doing this, given that this is definitely not new info at this stage of the game? Okay, so we get that Windows 11 is struggling to attract users, so there’s that obvious problem to rectify. But if you’re going to do this sort of thing, Microsoft, we suggest at least coming up with a new, more succinct nag screen to point out the upgrade (if you must).

Given that this pop-up appeared after installing the latest preview update in testing, it’s quite possible that Windows 10 users will experience this after installing the February cumulative update, which rolls out a week today (and is the finished version of that preview). So, steel yourself appropriately, and get that mouse index finger in training now in order to facilitate as fast a click-through the panels as you can manage.

That said, it’s not a foregone conclusion this will happen, of course, but these kind of sprawling pop-ups are appearing fairly regularly anyway on eligible Windows 10 PCs, as noted.

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Windows 10’s new Photos app brings cool new features while dropping old favorites

Despite Microsoft’s efforts, many users are stubbornly clinging on to Windows 10, rather than upgrading to Windows 11, and the upshot of that is that the company is still adding new features to the older operating system – with Windows 10 getting a new version of the Photos app. 

This was was an anticipated change after being spotted in a Windows preview by an X (formerly Twitter) user.

The new version of the Photos app for Windows 10 is basically the same as the one found in Windows 11, and offers new editing capabilities and a filmstrip view that lets you view all your photos and videos in a single window. 

You can also view your photos and videos in a mode called ‘multi-view’, a favorite feature of existing users of the app. Multi-view is another novel way to go through your photos and videos, allowing you to open them all within one window and easily compare them side-by-side, as detailed by Windows Latest

The new Photos app in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

What have users been saying?

However, despite all of these flashy new features, some users have complained that they prefer the old version of the Photos app for Windows 10. According to posts from both Microsoft’s Feedback Hub and the Microsoft Answers Forum, some users voiced that they’d like to see the “Clarity” and “Spot Fix” features returned to the newer Photos app. 

If you’d like to add your opinion on this issue, you can go to the Feedback Hub which is designed for users to submit their feedback directly to Microsoft. You can also speak to other users about the issue on the Microsoft Answers Forum, which is Microsoft’s dedicated community support forum.

A major complaint is that this new Photos app no longer has the “clarity” options that the older version had. The “clarity” capability in the older app was similar to that of Photoshop, and one user wrote that they aren’t interested in other effects, they just want their photos to appear more clearly. 

This particular feature was greatly praised because it could be used for more than just visual edits – it could also be used to clarify blurry photos to make features sharper, and if it included alphanumeric characters, easier to read. 

Young woman using a laptop inside at night

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The lasting popularity of older Windows features

Microsoft has been very keen to make Windows (and its features) more modern, but to be fair, there’s plenty it’s already gotten right. After all, there are reasons why Windows is still the most popular desktop OS around, so it shouldn’t be overly keen to jettison its older apps, especially if they remain popular. 

Microsoft often makes a point of saying it’s open to feedback and encourages users to submit it, and hopefully it pays attention, because there is clear demand for some of the older Photo app’s features. 

I understand why Microsoft keeps trying to push users to Windows 11 and its apps – I imagine it would like to focus its efforts on one primary OS, especially when it comes to security. That said, a lot of users really prefer Windows 10, and Microsoft needs to acknowledge why the older version remains so popular. Turning Windows 10 into Windows 11-lite won’t go down well for fans of the older OS.

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Windows 11 is getting one of Windows 10’s most divisive features

Windows 11 has a new preview build which reintroduces the weather widget to the taskbar, plus it adds new voice features on the accessibility front.

Windows 10 users are familiar with the ‘News and interests’ widget, which shows the local weather (and temperature) on the taskbar, and by default when hovered over, highlights a full weather report, breaking news, sports and other miscellany which can be customized (or you can turn it off).

This was ditched from the taskbar with Windows 11, but now with the latest preview build 22518, Microsoft has brought back a weather widget, which is billed as a new ‘entry point’ for widgets on the taskbar.

It sits on the far-left of the default taskbar, and displays the weather just as with ‘News and interests’, and when hovered over pops up the widgets board, complete with whatever widgets you’ve loaded up, plus the headline news panel underneath.

This replaces the old (default) scheme of things with Windows 11, whereby the widget board had a normal-sized icon grouped with the Start button in the middle of the taskbar. Shifting it to the left to sit on its own, and giving it a full weather display, makes it far more prominent as was the case with Windows 10.

Other changes brought in with build 22518 include voice access, a feature that allows for control of core elements of Windows 11 using just your voice. So you can give voice commands to open/close or switch apps, to search via your web browser, plus they can be used to interact with buttons or menus, or to control the mouse, or dictate text.

There’s a lot of functionality here, and Microsoft has provided a full list of voice controls you can peruse. Note that this is only available to testers with Windows display language set to English-US.

Finally, Microsoft has brought the Spotlight collection to the desktop, so those enticing pics you get on the Lock Screen can appear as your background, and these will be switched for other “beautiful new desktop pictures from around the world” every day.

Analysis: Unnecessary clutter returns… But voice features are great

The ‘News and interests’ widget proved pretty controversial on Windows 10, and not popular with some folks, so there will likely be a number of Windows 11 testers grimacing to see its effective return to the taskbar. While it’s tucked away on the left, it’s quite a large presence on the taskbar, and sometimes an annoying one when you accidentally brush the mouse over it, and the panel pops up briefly.

Of course, it’s still only in testing, and might not make the cut for release based on feedback – we shall have to see. And you can still hide the widgets icon if you prefer, so there are options to deal with it, as ever. (It reverts back to a small icon if you’re using a left-aligned taskbar, sitting next to the Task view icon, by the way, as it would obviously be way too jarring for it to displace the Start button in that layout).

While the weather widget may remain divisive, implementing a whole new level of voice control with Windows 11 is great to see. Many of the controls here, incidentally, appear to have been brought over from Nuance’s Dragon speech recognition package; if you recall, Microsoft bought Nuance back in April 2021. This looks like the start of Microsoft really ramping up voice controls with Windows 11.

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Windows 10’s latest troublesome update is now reportedly causing boot failures

Microsoft has run into more trouble with Windows 10 updates, as a recent important security patch which had previously been problematic by failing to install for some folks, is now causing serious crashes – and even boot failures – in some reported cases.

Windows Latest spotted the fresh problems with update KB4528760 for Windows 10 May 2019 Update and the November 2019 Update, which has been failing to install for a number of users, providing only unhelpful error messages.

Worse still, it would now appear that these issues are not only widespread – with in excess of 100 complaints on Microsoft’s help forum – but for some folks, KB4528760 is causing grief like the dreaded blue screen of death and boot failure.

One user on the Windows 10 Feedback Hub observed: “The recent KB4528760 update for Windows 1909 [November 2019 Update] seems to be causing issues with some computers and stopping them from booting. Presenting the error code 0xc000000e. Increasing number of machines hitting this issue after installing this update.”

Connect flaw?

As to what might be going on with the KB4528760 update, one theory floated by a volunteer moderator on Microsoft’s help forum is that the majority of the users who are encountering update failures (or worse) – even when attempting a manual install as a workaround – have “manually removed the Connect app from Windows”.

Connect is a default Windows 10 app which facilitates wireless display connections (allowing you to, for example, mirror your phone screen to the PC), but it’s not clear if this is what’s truly at fault – although this application has been blamed in previous Windows 10 update failures.

Indeed, another theory we’ve seen floated on Reddit is that those folks running AMD Ryzen processors might be more likely to be affected (in terms of this update failing, and previous patches for that matter). But take that with a hefty pinch of salt.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Microsoft keeps messing up with these cumulative updates, and has been doing so since that infamous long run of patches last year which kept causing new problems while fixing the old ones.

In order to avoid a situation where Windows 10 users are going to start dreading installing cumulative updates for fear of what might go wrong, Microsoft needs to pull its patching socks up and do better than this.

The situation is worse than normal in this particular case, seeing as KB4528760 is an important fix for a glaring security hole.

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