Sticking with Windows 11 22H2? If you can dodge forced upgrades, you’ll still get new features… for a little while

Windows 11 users holding out on version 22H2, rather than upgrading to 23H2 which was released late last year, just got a reprieve that means if they stick with the older incarnation of Microsoft’s OS they’ll still get feature updates – at least for a time.

Previously, Microsoft had stated that as of February 27, only monthly security updates would be provided for Windows 11 22H2 – meaning feature updates (non-security efforts) wouldn’t be piped through.

However, Neowin noticed that Microsoft just updated the release info for the February patch for Windows 11 22H2 to change the dates for those feature updates ceasing to be applied for 22H2.

What this means is Windows 11 Home and Pro users will now continue to get these non-security updates going forward, but the deadline has only been extended slightly – to June 26, 2024. (Although enterprise users will get these updates until June 24, 2025).

Analysis: Listening to feedback

So, in other words, Windows 11 Home and Pro will get non-security updates for March, April, May and June (when they weren’t going to previously). After that, though, it’s just security updates only, going forward.

This is an interesting move by Microsoft as the company isn’t in the habit of making such extensions to support deadlines. It does happen, but not often, and not usually in this kind of last-minute fashion.

What’s revealing is that in the blurb announcing the new end date, Microsoft says the change was made based on user feedback. Which would seem to suggest that Microsoft had some unhappy punters on their hands with the end date as it was.

Whatever the case, all updates will be halted by October 8, 2024, including security patches, as that’s when support ends for version 22H2.

However, very few people should be left on the OS at that point, as Microsoft is already forcing upgrades to Windows 11 23H2 (using an AI-powered automated process that started just last week).

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Has ChatGPT been getting a little lazy for you? OpenAI has just released a fix

It would seem reports of 'laziness' on the part of the ChatGPT AI bot were pretty accurate, as its developer OpenAI just announced a fix for the problem – which should mean the bot takes fewer shortcuts and is less likely to fail half way through trying to do something.

The latest update to the ChatGPT code is “intended to reduce cases of 'laziness' where the model doesn’t complete a task” according to OpenAI. However, it's worth noting that this only applies to the GPT-4 Turbo model that's still in a limited preview.

If you're a free user on GPT-3.5 or a paying user on GPT-4, you might still notice a few problems in terms of ChatGPT's abilities – although we're assuming that eventually the upgrade will trickle its way down to the other models as well.

Back in December, OpenAI mentioned a lack of updates and “unpredictable” behavior as reasons why users might be noticing subpar performance from ChatGPT, and it would seem that the work to try and get these issues resolved is still ongoing.

More thorough

ChatGPT voice chat

ChatGPT is pushing forward on mobile too (Image credit: Future)

One of the tasks that GPT-4 Turbo can now complete “more thoroughly” is generating code, according to OpenAI. More complex tasks can also be completed from a single prompt, while the model will also be cheaper for users to work with.

Many of the other model upgrades mentioned in the OpenAI blog post are rather technical – but the takeaways are that these AI bots are getting smarter, more accurate, and more efficient. A lot of improvements are related to “embeddings”, the numerical representations that AI bots use to understand words and the context around them.

ChatGPT recently got its very own app store, where third-party developers can showcase their own custom-made bots (or GPTs). However, there are rules in place that ban certain types of chatbots – like virtual girlfriends.

It also appears that OpenAI is busy pushing ChatGPT forward on mobile, with the latest ChatGPT beta for Android offering the ability to load up the bot from any screen (much as you might do with Google Assistant or Siri).

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Windows 11 has a bunch of little changes underway to make your life easier

Windows 11 has got a new preview build (yes, another one – they’re coming fast these days across all the different testing channels) which makes some interesting changes to Windows Spotlight, notifications, and the Start menu (with a caveat in the latter case).

All this, and a good deal more, comes packaged in the new build 23511 for the Dev channel.

First up, you may recall Microsoft has been experimenting with different ways of implementing Windows Spotlight (images for the lock screen background, which can also be used on the Windows 11 desktop if you wish). The company has decided on the way forward, picking a single Spotlight experience out of those tested.

Microsoft tells us the new Spotlight (shown in the below image) includes “previewing images at full screen, multiple opportunities to learn more about each image and a minimized experience.”

Windows Spotlight in Dev channel test build

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Elsewhere, there’s a change for the system tray in the taskbar whereby notifications have been switched to a bell icon. That bell will be just an outline if there are no notifications pending, and when there are, it will be filled in (with a color based on your system accent color). Microsoft has also done away with the number that shows the tally of notifications queued up for you to peruse.

Turning to the Start menu, we see the appearance of something that was previously discovered hidden in the background of Windows 11 – a rich preview pane that pops up when you hover the cursor over files in the ‘Recommended’ section. This furnishes extra details such as the file's location, when it was last edited, and a thumbnail image preview in the case of a photo.

The catch with these Start menu file previews is that they’re only available to business users right now (those signed into Azure Active Directory or AAD, running Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise).

There’s quite a lot going on with build 23511, and some of the other highlights include Microsoft reenabling suggestions for Snap Layouts. These had previously been rolling out but were turned off due to bugs that caused crashes. Those glitches have been fixed, so the rollout is once again happening (not everyone will see this yet, as a result).

Another interesting tweak is for webcams, with pop-ups now warning you if you’ve accidentally got your privacy shutter closed, or if there are other streaming issues with the camera such as it failing to work.

A final one to mention: when deleting a large collection of files and packing them off to the recycle bin, the ‘calculating’ process that happens has been made speedier, so you won’t have to wait as long overall for the files to be binned.

Microsoft’s blog post on build 23511 has the full and rather exhaustive details on the tweaks and additions going on with this preview.

Analysis: Moving in the right direction with the interface

There are a lot of useful refinements here, and it’s good to see suggestions with Snap Layouts are progressing again. This is a nifty area of the UI that is underused, and Microsoft is looking to make it a more tempting proposition by providing suggested layouts (templates) for snapping to in a jiffy, and showing icons to indicate which windows will contain what apps in the snapped layout. Neat.

The Start menu change is also an interesting one. Previously this was hidden in the background, as noted, but Microsoft now has the functionality live, which is great – albeit only for business users. This is a hint that the feature is very much on its way, though, and we don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t come to consumers on Windows 11 eventually. As we’ve said in the past, it’s going to be particularly handy for image files, as you can use the preview to check you’re opening the right pic.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t a TikTok machine and I’m a little disappointed

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is not ready to be my TikTok creation platform.

That’s right, I TikTok. Don’t look at me like that. There are lots of middle-aged people lip-synching, dancing, showing off hacks, and demonstrating oddball skills on the wildly popular social media platform.

My channel is not filled with dances or songs. It’s mostly a hodgepodge of conversations with myself, visual tricks, tech stuff, and a lot of me experiencing the latest trending filter. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of filters, which rely on augmented reality to transform my face into animals, movie characters, optical illusions. They’re harmless fun.

While I can find filters that do work, some of the newest, coolest and maybe most sophisticated ones do not work on Samsung’s premier smartphone.

TikTok fail screens

TikTok filter fail screens on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

This came as something of a surprise to me. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is an excellent and powerful Android 12 phone. It has a great collection of powerful cameras, including two 10 MP telephotos, 108MP wide and 12Mp ultrawide on the back, and a 40MP camera on the front.

It’s that last camera that I rely on for TikTok work. It’s more than capable of shooting standard TikTok videos. However, every time I try to use a new, trending filter like Raindrop control (which lets you freeze raindrops by using hand motions), or SYMMETRY (which lets you see what you’d look like if both sides of your face were exactly the same – for me the answer was Voldemort), the app informs me, “This effect doesn’t work with this device.”

Even simple filters like the “Your Decade,” which guesses your birth decade theoretically based on how you look (though I think it may be random), don’t work.

Listen, I like to spend a portion of each evening losing myself in the TikTok stream. It’s mind-numbing, entertaining, and kind of relaxing. When I see a fun filter, I like to try it out. I don’t always post the often-embarrassing results, and my draft folder is filled with unpublished efforts.

There’s real joy in consuming TikTok video on the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s high-definition 6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz-capable display, which only intensifies the frustration when I can’t test drive a new filter.

But why?

From a technical perspective, this, at least on the surface, makes little sense. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 40MP front-facing camera is capable of some light AR work. There’s literally an AR Zone in the Camera app that lets me doodle in AR on my face, turn my whole head into an AR emoji, and do other AR-based tricks.

There are, when it comes to the front camera, limitations. In the AR Doodle, it will only support face doodles. Plus, even though the phone can plop a dinosaur head emoji on my body that can follow my head's movement and some facial expressions, it’s not that precise.

AR options in Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

AR options in Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

If I were to compare what’s possible with Apple’s TrueDepth Module on the front of its iPhone 13 line with what the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s single front-facing camera is capable of, I’d call the Samsung effort a 1.0 version.

Ever since Apple introduced that depth-sensing module, its front-facing camera’s AR capabilities have grown substantially. When the iPhone 13 Pro paints my face with Mardi Gras makeup, the effect is realistic and disturbing. As I’m sure you know the camera is fully capable of supporting all of TikTok’s latest filters and effects.

Need some answers

I’ve contacted Samsung for more details on why the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t support all these filters and will update this post with the company’s response. Perhaps they’ll tell me it’s just a matter of a software update, but I doubt it. That lone camera can only do so much with software to understand the real-world depth and create a realistic marriage between artificial reality and my face.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s rear camera array includes a laser to assist with autofocus. It does that by reading the depth information of a subject and their environment. I’d have to assume that if Samsung had drilled one additional hole in the screen next to the 40MP front camera for a laser, it might also have brought that depth info to the front of the phone, and then better support all those TikTok filters.

So, while you’re passing harsh judgment on my TikTok activities, maybe spare some for a brand-new, innovative phone that somehow forgets to fully support the world’s most popular social media platform.

As for me, I guess I’ll stick to my iPhone 13 Pro in my unending quest to become TikTok famous.

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Microsoft Office is getting a simple little video editor

Microsoft is adding a video editor to its mobile app for Office that will allow users to create more than just documents using its office software.

According to a new post in the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, a simple video editor will begin rolling out to the Office mobile app for Android beginning this month.

Microsoft's new video editor in Office will enable users to create short video clips and of course edit them before sharing them with the people in their network.

While there are already plenty of video editing apps for Android such as KineMaster and PowerDirector, the company's new update for Office will make it possible for its customers to create short video clips using an app they already have installed on their Android smartphones without the need to download additional software.

Stock Images

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Premium creative content

If you're looking to add a bit of visual flair to your projects in Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint, last year Microsoft announced the addition of premium creative content to Office. With this feature, Microsoft 365 uses can easily add high quality, curated images, stickers and icons to both their personal and professional flies. 

To get started, simply select Insert, scroll down to Pictures and click on the Stock Images option. From here, you'll be able to pick from a wide variety of content in addition to stock images including Cutout People, Icons and Stickers.

Microsoft also recently added Cartoon People in Office to allow users to create artwork and tell stories using a diverse set of characters and scenery. Cartoon People can be found in the premium content library under Icons and they can easily add a bit more to your documents and presentations.

While Microsoft Office is nowhere close to Adobe's Creative Cloud, the addition of a video editor and premium creative content in the software giant's office software makes it possible for users to channel their inner visual creativity in a place where they wouldn't normally expect to be able to do so.

We've also rounded up the best online collaboration tools, best free office software and best productivity tools

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Pay as little as $2.75 a month to protect yourself online with CyberGhost’s VPN deal

Thanks to the fact that many of us are now stuck at home, it's only natural that we'll be using our computing and mobile devices more than ever – whether that be for work or play. That means that it's even more important to ensure your online life is safe and sound, and that's where getting a VPN becomes crucial.

Fortunately, VPN provider CyberGhost currently has a scarily good deal for new customers on its 36 months plan. Sign up now and you pay as little as an effective $ 2.75 (£2.10) a month for 3 years of the service, plus the provider is throwing in an extra two months absolutely FREE!  

Click here to get this fantastic VPN deal from CyberGhost

On top of that, CyberGhost has a 45-day money back guarantee – so you can always try it and then cancel it within that generous period if you change your mind.

Not only is this an incredible VPN deal, it's coming from one of the best providers out there. CyberGhost unblocks Netflix and iPlayer, has speedy customer support and boasts an effective kill switch.

If you need more information or you want to know more about CyberGhost, then make sure you keep scrolling as we've got this deal and the service detailed below for you.

  • Not sure if CyberGhost is the VPN for you? Check out our best VPN guide


Read more about this fantastic VPN deal:

Is CyberGhost a good VPN provider?

In one word – yes! We rank it in our top five best VPN services, which given all the thorough tests and analysing we do on VPN services, is pretty ace position to sit in.

If your concern is streaming – CyberGhost unblocks both Netflix and BBC iPlayer meaning there's a whole new world of content for you. Or if privacy is your main reason for purchasing a Virtual Private Network, then you'll be happy to know that it has an effective kill switch, blocks malicious ads, trackers and websites. 

Not to mention the automated HTTPS redirection will ensure you have the most secure connection possible to every website you visit. 

If you need more information on the provider, make sure you check out our full CyberGhost review.

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  • Discover more of the world's current best VPN deals

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