Windows 11 hack keeps your PC alive (sort of) after a Blue Screen of Death crash

A Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) in Windows 11 is when the PC locks up entirely, with no possible recourse – except to reboot there and then – unless you’ve hacked the operating system, that is.

Tom’s Hardware reports that NTDEV, the maker of Tiny11 (a lightweight version of Windows 11) flagged up on X (formerly Twitter) that NSG650 has a project on GitHub which is a driver that modifies the normal BSOD behavior, firing up a Linux emulator when a crash occurs.

In other words, instead of just having the option to reboot, you get a RISC-V Linux emulator popping up post-crash. How is this done? It leverages the bugcheck callback feature in Windows – which is part of the BSOD process, and allows for code to run after a crash – and in this case, the code inserted brings up the emulator.

Now, all the Linux emulator consists of is a basic command line (like the old days of DOS, just a text interface), and you can’t really do anything with it – it’s just showing what can be done (see the video clip below), rather than actually implementing anything useful.

Analysis: An opportunity for Microsoft?

With this methodology discovered, this raises the question that with some work, could something more advanced be concocted along these lines? Something that does allow you to do useful things after a BSOD, like plug in a USB drive and back up files, for example, if you’re worried they might be corrupted. Or maybe to run some kind of lightweight recovery utility.

Having seen this in action, though, it’s entirely possible Microsoft will patch this out, as it could be seen as a security risk in Windows 11 (and Windows 10 for that matter).

However, we can but hope that it might inspire Microsoft to look at doing something more useful, as mentioned, with the BSOD, and allowing at least some post-crash options, if indeed it’s possible to work anything meaningful in that way – which we don’t know, we should add.

For the moment, this little trick remains an interesting novelty, with a tantalizing possibility that it could become more than that in the future. Whatever the case, even if nothing happens along those lines, we think Microsoft could definitely improve BSODs in other ways – though if you happen to encounter one, at least we have a Blue Screen of Death survival guide.

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Google Maps Immersive View just keeps getting better

Google Maps’ best feature, Immersive View, just got a whole lot better. You can now explore 3D maps of four new cities and over 500 new landmarks thanks to Google’s AI.

Immersive View is Google Maps’ souped-up 3D map, and it’s a solid free tool for helping to plan trips. Using AI, Google has fused billions of images together to create fairly realistic 3D maps of cities (including the newly released Amsterdam, Dublin, Florence, and Venice) and hundreds of landmarks (such as Sydney Harbour Bridge and Boston’s Faneuil Hall).

While you're soaring over these virtual locations Google Maps will highlight nearby locations such as cafes, restaurants and hotels. This more immersive perspective provides an easy-to-understand sense of size and scale compared to using regular Google Maps. You can even go inside some locations, using a Google AI called NeRF – this allows you to peek into select restaurants and cafes before you book online.

We particularly like Immersive View’s timeline tool. This feature will show you the expected weather – complete with virtual clouds, sun, or rain – and how busy you should expect the destination to be over the following days. Google Maps has always had this data, but Immersive View makes it a lot less tedious to scan through it to find the optimal times to visit particular locations on your trip.

The new landmarks and cities should be rolling out from today to Google Maps users on Android and iOS.

More Maps updates on the way 

Immersive View isn’t the only Google Maps feature getting an update.

Glanceable directions will be rolling out globally on iOS and Android later this month. Once you opt in to the service (Google doesn’t explain how you'll do this, but it’ll likely appear as a popup once the update goes live, and later will be found in your settings), you just need to call up directions and start walking, cycling, or driving to your destination – without hitting Start for in-depth directions or Live View for AR navigation.

Google Maps Glanceable Directions in action, your icon moves along the route, takes a detour and almsot a wrong turn before correcting it and arriving at the destination.

(Image credit: Google Maps)

As you move, your location marker will travel with you, and your ETA will update in real time, and you can even swap to a different route if you decide to travel a slower but more scenic way. Google says this tool is aimed at people who are familiar with where they’re going; they don’t need constant callouts saying ‘Turn here’, they just need to occasionally glance at their phone to make sure they’re still headed in the right direction. 

Next month, Google Maps users on desktop should look out for an update to Recents. Previously, this feature would show you the most recent destinations you’ve looked up in your current Google Maps session, but when you closed the Window this info would be lost. The upcoming update will enable you to see your recently visited locations from previous sessions, which should make it much easier to research potential places to visit on your next trip.

You can research hotels, landmarks, and other attractions across multiple sessions, then make a custom route or saved list when you've decided where you'd like to go. Plus, as you whittle down places to visit, you can remove them from your Recents list so that they aren’t cluttering up the list.

Looking for more ways to use Google Maps? Check out this list of 10 things you might not know Google Maps can do.

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