One of the most persistent Windows 11 bugs ever keeps telling users they’ve changed their location, when they haven’t – but it’s getting fixed

Windows 11 has a new bug (that’s also in Windows 10) whereby the operating system keeps telling users that their time zone has changed, when it hasn’t – and repeatedly doing this, driving some users to the point of distraction by all accounts.

Windows Latest flagged up multiple complaints about this bug, which has been acknowledged by Microsoft, and the company is now working on a fix.

Indeed, the tech site notes that it has experienced the glitch itself, whereby a dialog box pops up, warning that “due to a location change a new time zone has been detected.”

Then the user has the choice of clicking ‘Ignore’ to dismiss the prompt, or ‘Accept’ to be taken to the Date & Time settings where there’s actually nothing amiss (the time zone and location aren’t changed, just to clarify).

Essentially, the prompt is appearing by accident, but the real problem is that affected users don’t just see this once. It’s occurring repeatedly and in some cases multiple times per day, or even hour, which is going to get seriously tiresome.

A user hit by the problem complained in Microsoft’s Feedback Hub: “This is the 2nd system where this pop-up about me changing time zones has occurred. After I set the date and time (Central time zone), why does Windows think that I have moved 455 miles to the East? Fix your darn OS Microsoft.”


Analysis: A rare bug apparently – but a seriously annoying glitch

This is a bit of an odd one, to say the least, and while it’s a relatively benign bug – an errant pop-up that doesn’t actually throw anything of a spanner in the works (unlike some of the showstoppers we’ve seen in the past) – if it’s happening regularly, then it’s going to be a headache.

The good news is that Microsoft says the bug is rare, and so presumably the set of Windows 11 and 10 users who are subject to it happening particularly regularly is even rarer. That said, it needs to be fixed, and the problem has been around for a few weeks now.

According to Windows Latest, the fix is already in the pipeline and should (most likely) be applied as a server-side solution, meaning that it’ll happen on Microsoft’s end, and you won’t need to wait for an update to contain the cure if you’re affected by this issue. Fingers crossed that this resolution arrives swiftly, then.

Meantime, if you’re getting these head-scratching time zone notifications, there’s nothing you can do but keep dismissing them.

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Haven’t activated Windows 11? Then you might find yourself locked out of some Microsoft Edge browser settings

If you’re running an unactivated version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10), your access to Microsoft Edge’s settings might be restricted in the future. This is already the case when it comes to things like Personalization settings for Windows 11 in an unactivated installation, as well as constant reminders prompting you to activate the OS.

If you don’t mind those constraints and plentiful reminders, you can install and run Windows 11 and Windows 10 without activation for free.

However, it seems like Microsoft has added multiple flags in testing that allow for blocking certain browser capabilities in an Edge preview build – if you’re using Windows 11 (or Windows 10) and it’s unactivated. The three flags in question in Edge spotted by Windows Latest are:

  • msEdgeActivatedStateCheckAndUpdate
  • msEdgeNonActivatedOSTrigger
  • msEdgeLockSettingsInNonActivatedOS

Looking to see the effects of each of these flags being enabled, Windows Latest tried running the Edge Canary test build with one flag enabled at a time. Windows Latest turned on the ‘msEdgeLockSettingsInNonActivatedOS’ flag successfully, which resulted in some of Edge’s settings being locked. Then, when Edge’s settings page was opened, it displayed a banner that stated:

“We notice your Windows is not activated, some customization has been limited.”

Pushing further, Windows Latest explored other parts of Edge settings and also discovered that the ‘When Edge starts’ panel (which allows for configuration of what happens when the browser launches) was blocked due to Windows 11 not being activated.

An unwise move?

This is an interesting strategy that doesn’t entirely make sense to me, because as Windows Latest points out, the policy seemingly only targets Windows – Edge users on Mac devices and mobiles don’t see this kind of interference. That makes me think, well, Microsoft is mulling this move simply because it can, and if you want Windows enough to install it, then you want the OS enough to tolerate measures like this. 

Considering how clearly desperate Microsoft is for more people to use Edge, having instigated multiple instances of aggressively pushing users to make Edge their browser of choice, this strategy is even more puzzling since it could drive people away (having finally gotten what Microsoft wants, apparently!).

If you want to continue using Windows unactivated, you could just switch to Chrome, Firefox, or another of the best web browsers that doesn’t have these restrictions. It’s worth remembering that this development is still in the early testing stages, though, and hopefully won’t make it to the final version rollout – but I wouldn’t put it past Microsoft. 

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Haven’t activated Windows 10 or 11 yet? Your Microsoft Edge settings may soon be blocked off entirely

Users with an unactivated version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10) may need to start considering activating their operating system – as it looks like Microsoft could start cracking down again, starting with the Edge web browser.

According to Windows Report, the change is currently contained to Edge Canary, a build of Edge that Windows Insiders have access to to try out and test potential upcoming changes, and it seems Insiders have spotted a lockdown on Microsoft Edge settings. 

The browser is still likely to work on unactivated Windows, and normally you can use Windows 10 and 11 without having to activate your license key – but with limitations. People using unactivated Windows are likely to have a prompt to activate pop up often in their settings and have limitations with their personalization options. 

While this is inconvenient, it does at least allow people to use their machines without activating Windows 10 or 11 – a far cry from previous Windows releases which would not let you install the operating system without a valid product key. However, if this change to how Edge runs does make it past the Insiders stage of development you may find all your settings regarding Microsoft Edge locked entirely, presumably until you activate your version of Windows. 

Cruel but fair? 

Why would Microsoft want to take such a harsh approach to getting people to activate their operating system? Without activation, you are very likely to miss out on security updates, protect yourself from viruses and cyber threats, and be bothered consistently by pop-ups. Activation also proves that you paid for that version of Windows and that it is legitimate.

With all the new AI advancements stuffed into Microsoft Edge, there are probably a lot more people using Edge now than before, and this could just be a good opportunity to force as many people as possible to activate their Windows by threatening to tamper with their newly boosted, feature-filled web browser. 

I can appreciate why the tech giant would want to prompt people to make their devices more secure by activating them, while also making sure people aren’t using pirated or ‘cracked’ versions of its software. 

Hopefully, if we do see this development make it out to a public release Microsoft will give users time to activate their operating systems, rather than just taking everything away first and expecting users to figure it out later. 

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Haven’t got round to installing Windows 11 23H2 yet? You’ll soon be forced to get the latest update

The 23H2 update is coming, whether you're ready or not, for those holdouts who have yet to upgrade their Windows 11 installation from 22H2 (or indeed 21H2).

Tom’s Hardware noticed that Microsoft updated its Windows 11 23H2 status document to let users know what’s happening, and that eligible Windows 11 devices will be automatically upgraded to version 23H2.

That means you’ll have no choice in the matter, of course. Updating to Windows 11 23H2 is mandatory at this point, with the caveat that this automatic upgrade process may not come to your PC all that soon.

Microsoft uses AI to “safely roll out this new Windows version in phases to deliver a smooth update experience,” and therefore some PC configurations may find it’s still a while before they have 23H2 foisted on them.

Alternatively, you may find the upgrade is piped to your machine imminently. It’s a roll of the hardware (and software) configuration dice, in short.


Analysis: Staying safe

Automatic upgrades being forced on Windows users is nothing new, of course. This happens whenever an update has been around for a good deal of time, and Microsoft feels everyone who is running an older version of Windows 11 (or Windows 10) needs to step up and move away from it (because it’s running out of road for support, or indeed has run out).

Regarding Windows 21H2 users (the original version of the OS), you may be thinking – didn’t they already get forced to upgrade to 22H2? Yes, they did. So why are some folks still on 21H2 then? Well, there may be a small niche of users remaining on 21H2 as anomalies, basically (we spotted a couple on Reddit), and they will be transferred direct to 23H2 instead. (Hopefully, anyway – though it’s possible that not having been offered an upgrade at all so far could be the result of a bug).

Microsoft needs to push upgrades like this for security reasons. If a Windows 11 user remains on an unsupported version, they won’t get monthly security updates, which is bad news of course – their PC could be vulnerable to exploits. Hence the big updates become mandatory eventually.

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AMD’s Wraith coolers for Ryzen CPUs haven’t been upgraded – there are fakes out there

AMD’s Wraith Prism cooler, which comes bundled with some of its latest 3rd-gen Ryzen processors (and the Ryzen 7 2700X), is suffering from a surprising problem – namely fakes of the cooling solution are floating around.

Initially, it was thought that the respected RGB stock cooler had been upgraded by AMD, and just not announced yet, when photos of a very similar-looking model to the Wraith Prism emerged over at XFastest – except this one had six heat pipes, rather than the four that the standard model has.

However, AMD quickly took to Twitter to clarify that these cooling solutions with six heat pipes are illegitimate fakes designed to look like the Wraith Prism, and that they (obviously) have not been tested and validated by AMD.

Thermal trickery

So instead of speculation about how good this six pipe cooler might be, now the speculation is about what on earth is going on here. And indeed if this cooler is bundled with an AMD CPU, could there be something amiss with the chip itself?

Obviously something shady is happening, and it raises the prospect of an operation perhaps buying OEM chips, and pairing them with the fake cooler, to sell at full retail price (or possibly even fake chips – which we’ve seen in the past with Ryzen – with the fake cooler).

Although if this is the idea, quite why the cooler would be slightly different with the additional heat pipes, well, that’s anyone’s guess (in terms of not raising the profile of this counterfeiting).

Regardless, obviously you should be careful about this new counterfeit product. While it might be tempting to think that with the two extra heat pipes, this could be a better cooling solution than the official AMD-produced Wraith Prism, if it’s been made as a third-party knockoff, there’s every chance there could be all manner of things amiss in terms of the innards. Even if externally, it looks like a good copy of the original.

Via PC Gamer

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