This Windows 11 installation setting can cut your SSD performance in half. Here’s how to disable it.

BitLocker, which is Microsoft’s software encryption for SSDs, has run into its fair share of issues over the years since its release. And now there’s another potential problem looming over Windows 11 users with the upcoming version 24H2 update.

There’s a new report that Windows 11 version 24H2, also called the 2024 update, “may enable BitLocker by default during installation” across various versions of Windows including Home edition, according to German news outlet Deskmodder (reported on by Neowin). Why is this considered bad news? For several reasons.

What's the problem?

The first is that using BitLocker for encryption can seriously slow down your PCs’ performance by up to 45% in Windows Pro, and would most likely affect other versions of the OS similarly. This occurs due to Windows 11 constantly prompting encryption and decryption processes with data on your SSD while your computer carries out read and write operations.

The second issue is that a user unfamiliar with encryption in general or this specific issue with BitLocker could encrypt their data without knowing and then not be able to decrypt and recover their data due to misplacing or not saving the needed key.

There’s also a third issue with BitLocker in terms of security as well — according to YouTuber Stacksmashing, its encryption can be cracked remarkably easily. Their video demonstrates that if you’re using either a Windows 10 or Windows 11 Pro device with a dedicated external Trusted Platform Module (TPM), your encrypted data can be decrypted and read. You only need a $ 10 Raspberry Pi Pico, physical access to the target endpoint, and the knowledge of how to do it.

How to fix it

Of course, there is a simple way to fix this auto encryption. You only need to disable Device Encryption inside Privacy & security in Settings. Thankfully users have that option, but many casual Windows 11 users, especially those with Windows 11 Home, may not be aware of the situation, let alone how to fix it.

Hopefully, if this report is true, Microsoft will disable auto-encryption before the update launches. It’s not necessary and causes more problems than it really solves.

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The Microsoft Store gets a turbo boost in new update, promising speedier and sleeker performance

The Microsoft Store app has reportedly got a major performance upgrade that’s now available to all users. It doesn’t look like it brings any new features, but it does promise improved performance for the app.

The new and improved version was initially released through the Windows Insider Program in early April. The Windows Insider Program is a testing community run by Microsoft that allows interested Windows users and experts to try versions of the operating system and new features that Microsoft is working on. The new version of the Microsoft Store is now available in the 'Stable Channel' of the Windows Insider Program, the last round of testing before something is deployed in the Windows Update app for all users – which suggests that it could soon roll out to everyone. 

Rudy Huyn, a principal architect at Microsoft, publicized the changes in a series of posts on X, detailing the changes made in Microsoft Store version 22403 compared to its predecessor. He explains that product pages will load up to 40% faster in the newer version, the ‘Buy’ button will appear up to 1.5 times faster on average thanks to licensing optimizations, and a launch screen that appears more smoothly thanks to a modified splash screen. 

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How to make sure you have the latest Microsoft Store

Users running suitable versions of Windows can usually expect the Microsoft Store app to download this update on its own and update itself, but you can speed up the process if this doesn’t happen by opening the Microsoft Store app on your PC and clicking the profile icon which can be found in the top-right corner of the app. This should open a menu, and you need to click on ‘Settings’. If you scroll all the way down in the Settings screen, you should see a section with the ‘About’ heading. In the top-right corner of this section, you should see the version of the app that your system is running. 

If this doesn’t say ‘Version 22403…” then you can go to the ‘Library’ section of your Microsoft Store, which can be found in the navigation ribbon (mine runs vertically on the left-hand side of the app and the Library icon is towards the bottom). You can then select ‘Get updates’ which should prompt the update process.

The Microsoft Store isn’t the most popular of app stores out there – Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store see a lot more use. This is largely due to factors like its sluggish performance and comparative lack of apps. Changes like this are important steps if Microsoft wants to compete or even attract users of other systems, not to mention the fact that users want software and products that work well first and foremost.

App stores have become an industry standard for downloading and installing apps, and it would do Microsoft well to make the Microsoft Store a Windows highlight instead of being a sore spot, since the marketplace has historically been pretty poor compared to its rivals. Hopefully, Microsoft continues in this direction and users will feel a tangible improvement in their Microsoft Store app experience, expanding the choice of apps users can install and pursuing improvement in smoothing out its processes. 


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Windows 11 users are getting fed up with the performance of the OS – including an ex-Microsoft senior engineer

Windows 11 is receiving some flak for its reportedly poor show in terms of the performance of the OS on the desktop, where some interface elements are running pretty sluggishly – or even getting to a ‘comically bad’ state of affairs as one user describes it.

This isn’t just any user, but an ex-Microsoft employee, Andy Young, who was a senior software engineer at the company for 13 years, and shared some observations (noticed by Neowin) about Windows 11 performance on X (formerly Twitter).

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As you can see in the above tweet, Young has published a video of some woefully bad Start menu performance on a PC bristling with high-end components.

The clip has received a lot of attention, prompting Young to add that: “To be clear, I love Windows. I helped build parts of it. I want it to be as good as it once was. If data suggests the software you build frustrates a significant percentage of users, it means there’s work left to be done.”

And indeed, others chime in on that thread saying they’ve encountered frustrating performance hitches, or indeed been mired in Start menu molasses similar to what Young has suffered. A common observation is the Start menu loading the wrong app (or no app at all) as performance is so bad when it opens, that the initial keystroke doesn’t register (meaning instead of typing ‘Notepad’ for example, you end up with ‘otepad’ and a Bing web search for that term).

Albacore, a regular leaker on all things Microsoft, also chipped in here with an observation of delays when positioning windows or closing messaging boxes.

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Analysis: Time for a rethink, Microsoft?

It seems Microsoft is listening regarding the highlighted Start menu issues, and Young notes that ‘Jen’ sent a DM regarding reproducing and addressing the performance slowdowns observed. Presumably that’s Jen Gentleman of the Windows engineering team (who you may have seen introducing new Windows 11 test builds on Reddit as they emerge).

As was also observed among the feedback to Young’s post, technically this is not an issue with Start menu performance itself, but rather, Windows search as it’s integrated within the Start menu – an important distinction at least for the different teams in play with Windows 11 development here. Not that the end user will care much, mind.

This is not just about the Start menu, though, but rather the overall perception of Windows 11 being somewhat wonky or slow across various parts of the desktop, when it really shouldn’t be. In Young’s case, the likely culprit is the Start menu searching the web (as well as the PC) for what’s being typed, and probably hurdles and delays therein related to the network (connection or configuration, or maybe both).

In fairness to Microsoft, when it comes to Albacore’s case, it is a test build of the 24H2 update, so unpredictable behavior and slowdowns are to be expected. Still, should the OS really be stumbling over elements as simple as closing dialog boxes, or moving the windows that are the very core of Microsoft’s OS by definition? No, it shouldn’t, let’s face it.

For us, what all this strongly suggests is that perhaps it’s time Microsoft made more of a drive to shunt off legacy bits of code (and ancient features still hanging around, like the rusty old Control Panel – which is happening, just very slowly), and to tidy up the Windows 11 codebase in general, along with smoothing over existing features to fine-tune performance.

If we had to pay a price in fewer new features being actively developed (and fewer adverts popping up here and there, ahem), we’d take that – but sadly that’s not a route Microsoft’s likely to entertain. As the company needs a constant parade of shiny new things to persuade folks that Windows 11 is the best thing ever (TM).

There is, clearly enough, still a good deal of skepticism to overcome about Windows 11, as struggling adoption levels for the OS underline. However, Microsoft best not forget that regarding the basics, there’s “work left to be done” as Young makes clear, and maybe after 24H2 has released (and Germanium is in place under the hood) is the time to focus on that reality more.

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The Apple Vision Pro is compatible with Intel Apple Macs – even if the performance may not be the same

The Apple Vision Pro has finally launched, and if you were thinking you may have to upgrade your Mac or MacBook to use the new headset (piling on another expensive purchase onto an already very pricey device) there is some good news, as it seems like the Vision Pro headset is compatible with Intel-based Macs, potentially opening the door for users with older models. 

A support page on the official Apple website, explaining how to use the headset with a Mac as a display, reveals that support for this feature is not limited to Apple Silicon Macs (such as recent MacBooks with the M1, M2 or M3 chips). The post explains that if you happen to be using a Mac with an Intel processor, you can still use the Vision Pro as a workspace, however, you’ll be working with resolutions capped at 3K rather than 4K as you normally would with an Apple Silicon-powered Mac. 

You’ll still be able to resize the Virtual Display window and use the computer's keyboard and trackpad. That being said, if you’re looking to take advantage of the Virtual Display feature, your Mac will need to be running on macOS 14 Sonoma or newer, so if you are planning on giving it a go you’d probably have to upgrade your operating system. Very old Macs and MacBooks may not be compatible with macOS Sonoma, which means you won’t be able to use the Vision Pro as an additional screen with those products.

Cool, but not very useful.

While I am glad to see support for older Macs, I’m not sure I see the point. Of course, Intel-based Macs are still good computers despite their age, but with the cost of the Apple Vision Pro, you could buy yourself an M3 iMac and have plenty of cash to spare. 

Of course, I’m sure plenty of people may have an older iMac collecting dust at home that would like to give it a go, but again the Apple Vision Pro isn’t exactly a product you buy on a whim. I wouldn’t really encourage anyone to buy the headset if they exclusively work on an Intel Mac since you won’t get the full 4K experience. You’d be better off just upgrading your device to a new MacBook, Mac mini or iMac and buying a Vision Pro later… if at all. 

There’s also no guarantee that this support on the Intel Macs will last forever – now that the M3 iMac has launched I wouldn’t be surprised if we started to see support for newer accessories or features being limited. So, if you are in the position to try out the Vision Pro with your older Mac, I suggest you get on it soon and decide if you like the pairing enough to justify upgrading to an Apple Silicon Mac – because you might have to in the future. 

Via 9to5Mac

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Getting a new M3 Mac? Apple is already pushing out a macOS Sonoma update to optimize performance

If you’re planning on being the owner of any of the new M3, M3 Pro, or M3 Max MacBook Pro or iMac models that were announced during Apple’s October Scary Fast event, you’ll need to install an update for macOS Sonoma immediately when you get your device.

All of the new devices are expected to arrive with a custom version of macOS Sonoma 14.1, build 23B2073. Once you begin to set up your new device, you should then follow that up by downloading the newer version, build 23B2077, and install it. Apple released macOS Sonoma 14.1, the very first update for macOS Sonoma, on October 25 just ahead of the Scary Fast event, and the current macOS Sonoma version that freshly-built Macs will ship with is build 23B74.

As explained by AppleInsider, Apple has not yet put out release notes for the custom update macOS Sonoma build. However, it’s expected that it’ll include the most up to date bug fixes and performance upgrades probably to do with the M3 processor chip.

No cause for alarm, just business as usual

This isn’t a cause to panic according to MacRumors, because we see what are known as day one updates fairly often. Day one updates just mean updates that are released upon the launch of a product (on day one of users having them). This happens because as the devices are being manufactured, they have to be prepared, packaged, and shipped with what ends up being a slightly older version of macOS. 

In the future, it’s feasible that new Macs will automatically check for an update as soon as they’re booted up for the first time, or even while still in the box. Reportedly, Apple has engineered a way to do this for the very newest iPhone models, which can upgrade their software to the newest iOS versions before leaving the Apple store.

Apple opened up ordering for the new Mac M3 devices after its Scary Fast event and you can order one now. The first M3 Macs are expected to start arriving to customers on November 7, namely the MacBook Pro 14-inch (M3), MacBook Pro 16-inch (M3) and iMac (M3). However, certain configurations of MacBooks Pro laptops will be delivered later in the month. 

This was first discovered by known Apple observer and code investigator, @aaronp613, on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

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It’s good to see Apple looking out for users, and frequent updates have become an industry standard for operating systems and browsers, as well as other software – and as I mentioned earlier, a day one patch doesn’t necessarily mean a problem has been found at the last minute. Instead, it can ensure your new device has all the latest features and is fully protected as well.


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The latest Windows 11 update won’t install for some users, and tanks gaming performance even if it does

Windows 11 users are experiencing issues with the update KB5031455, with some systems not installing the update, others encountering installation problems and some seeing error messages as well as gaming issues if the update does install successfully. 

According to Windows Latest, several users have complained to the site about the Windows 11 update, stating the installation would “run and fail, then reboot, run and fail again.”

Another user commented on problems with gaming performance after the update, saying that the build “broke a few games.” According to the user, some games available from Epic Games Store, such as Fortnite and Horizon Zero Dawn, crashed and refused to start. More comments like these have been left on the Windows Latest site. 

This is not the first time a string of issues has been presented due to preview updates.  KB5030310, a preview update for those using Windows 11 22H2, caused issues with File Explorer that led to buggy behaviour and slower run times.

If you’ve yet to install the KB5031455  update, we recommend you hold off a bit longer until these issues are addressed by Microsoft. But, if you’re feeling brave and want to go ahead anyway, you’ll need to go to Settings, then to Windows Update, and select ‘Check for Updates’. Once your device finds the new optional update, click the ‘Download and install’ button.

It’s worth bearing in mind that Windows Latest has tested the update on its own machines and noted the same problems listed above, so once again, we recommend you proceed with caution if you plan to install the update.

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The latest Oculus Quest 2 update comes with a serious performance boost

The latest software update for the Oculus Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro is here, and it’s bringing some serious performance upgrades to both of Meta’s VR headsets.

Meta teased this update following the Meta Quest 3 announcement where a press release revealed that the Quest Pro and Quest 2 would see their CPU speed rise by up to 26% each. What’s more, the Quest 2’s GPU will, according to Meta, improve by up to 19%, while the Quest Pro’s GPU will improve by 11%.

These hardware upgrades are achievable via a software update because Meta’s new update is allowing the CPU and GPU in each headset to run at a higher clock speed. Previously both headsets ran underclocked systems – read: maximum performance is being held back – in order to prevent the headsets from getting too hot and causing discomfort for the player. Clearly, Meta decided that it was a bit too conservative with its underclocked approach, so now it's releasing a bit more power.

On top of its faster processing, Meta has announced that the Quest Pro is getting a boost to its eye-tracking accuracy. While the update post doesn’t go into much detail we can’t help but feel like this is Meta’s first step to helping the Quest Pro catch up to Apple’s newly unveiled Vision Pro headset – which threatens to usurp Meta’s spot at the top of the best VR headsets list.

The Apple Vision Pro headset on a stand at the Apple headquarters

What will Meta learn from the Apple Vision Pro? (Image credit: Future)

One innovation Apple’s headset has is that it uses eye-tracking to make hand-tracking navigation more accurate. Rather than awkwardly pointing at an app you just have to look at it and then pinch your fingers.

The Quest Pro’s improved eye-tracking accuracy could allow Meta to implement a similar system to the Apple Vision Pro – and help make its eye-tracking technology more useful.

More minor changes

Beyond these performance boosts, the Meta Quest v55 update brings a few minor software improvements.

Now when using Direct Touch hand tracking, you’ll be able to tap swipe notifications away or tap on them like buttons as you can with other menu items. If this doesn’t make interacting with your headset feel enough like using a smartphone, Meta has also said that the full Messenger app will now launch on the Quest platform – allowing you to call and message any of your contacts through the app, not just the people that use VR.

Two new virtual environments will be made available too. The Futurescape – which was featured in the 2023 Meta Quest Gaming Showcase – combines futurism with nature, while the Great Sand Sea is a vast desert world that’s an exclusive space for people who have preordered Asgard’s Wrath 2. To change your current environment to either of these options you’ll need to go into your Quest headset Settings and find the Personalization menu. You should see the option to change your environment to either one of these new spaces or the previously released virtual homes. 

Check out our interview with one of the developers to find out how Asgard's Wrath 2 will bring out the best of the Oculus Quest 2.

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Our favorite free video editing software gets unexpected performance boost from new macOS Sonoma

One of the big announcements at Apple’s WWDC 2023 was macOS Sonoma (we looked it up; it means “Valley of the Moon”). 

Apple claims the new operating system has a sharp focus on productivity and creativity. It says “the Mac experience is better than ever.” To prove it, the company revealed screensavers, iPhone widgets running on Macs, a gaming mode, and fresh video conferencing features. 

But the new macOS has another surprising feature for users of our pick for best free video editing software.  

The final cut 

Beyond WWDC’s bombshell reveal – yes, Snoopy is an Apple fan now – the event served up more than enough meat to keep users happy. There’s a new Macbook Air 15-inch on the way, said to be the “world’s thinnest.” The watchOS 10 beta countdown has started. And the Vision Pro is dividing opinion. Is the VR headset the future or will it lose you friends?

The reveal of the new Mac operating system, meanwhile, feels quieter somehow. Muted. Perhaps new PDF editor functionalities and a host of “significant” updates to the Safari browser aren’t as eye-catching as a pair of futuristic AR/VR ski goggles.  

However, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said, “macOS is the heart of the Mac, and with Sonoma, we’re making it even more delightful and productive to use.” 

What he didn’t say, but the company later revealed, is that Sonoma adds an extra bonus for video editors. 

Designed for remote and hybrid in-studio workflows, the operating system brings a high-performance mode to the Screen Sharing app. Taking advantage of the media engine in Apple silicon, users are promised responsive remote access with low-latency audio, high frame rates, and support for up to two virtual displays. 

According to Apple, “This mode empowers pros to securely access their content creation workflows from anywhere – whether editing in Final Cut Pro or DaVinci Resolve, or animating complex 3D assets in Maya.” It also enables remote colour workflows that previously demanded the best video editing Macs and video editing PCs

It seems Final Cut Pro is getting a lot of attention lately. May saw the launch of Final Cut Pro for iPad – how did it take so long? – and now better support in the operating system. What next? Perhaps that open-letter from film & TV professionals pleading for improved support really did focus minds at Apple Park.  

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Nasty AMD driver bug tanks RDNA 3 GPU performance in Windows 11

AMD’s new GPU driver is reportedly causing serious performance issues with RDNA 3 graphics cards under Windows 11, though the bug is a rare occurrence from what we can tell.

Another point to note carefully here is that apparently the problem is only affecting 3DMark runs, specifically the TimeSpy benchmark (we’ll come back to that later).

VideoCardz broke the news that a software engineer at Google (Osvaldo Doederlein) running an RX 7900 XTX with the most recent version 23.3.1 of the Adrenalin driver ran into trouble with much lower TimeSpy results than should have been produced.

Indeed, Doederlein’s results came out at more than 50% slower than normal, a massive performance loss.

One of the developers at UL (which makes 3DMark) replied to Doederlein to say that they raised the issue with AMD, and it appeared to be related to the latest driver version.

The dev observed: “We also looked at our [3DMark] database to compare results on the previous driver vs. new driver on any result using 7900XT or XTX and can confirm that this appears to be a real, if very rare issue.

“Among all results with the new driver, approximately 3% of the results show abnormal (very low) scores on Time Spy. No similar group of very low scores appear on the results with the previous driver version.”

Doederlein went on to clarify that they are running a test version of Windows 11 (Release Preview – so the most stable build), which the 3DMark dev noted isn’t supported by the benchmarking suite.

The developer added that AMD did eventually manage to reproduce this severe performance glitch and that “it is starting to look more and more like a driver issue,” with the best course of action for those bothered by the gremlin being to roll back to the previous driver. Or alternatively to just sit tight and wait for the fix to be deployed.

Analysis: More than meets the eye

There’s a bit more to this than meets the eye, as further in the thread on the Steam forums replying to the original complaint from Doederlein, there’s an RX 6800 GPU owner saying they’re affected – so maybe it’s not just an RDNA 3 issue – and that rolling back to the previous AMD driver version did not help. (The 3DMark dev seems pretty sure that the problem does pertain to the most recent AMD driver, though).

Furthermore, a couple of Nvidia RTX 4090 owners have chimed in saying they have been hit, too – but that’s just two scattered reports, so add seasoning there. Still, the commonality here appears to be running test versions of Windows 11. Indeed, one of those RTX 4090 owners lays the blame at the feet of the preview version of the next big update for Windows 11 (Moment 2).

Despite that, AMD still believes this bug to be a driver issue, so we’ll stick with that as the most accurate diagnosis so far – although it’s possible that the problem is also wrapped up in using a preview version of Windows 11, too.

The more positive news is that whoever is being affected here, it’s seemingly a rare bug. The broader concern for those encountering this issue is that maybe it’s slowing down games as well as 3DMark benchmarks, and it’s easy to see how folks might get paranoid about that possibility.

It’s certainly something that occurred to Doederlein, who as a result ran a whole bunch of tests on games. That included benchmarking with Guardians of the Galaxy, Horizon Zero Dawn, Dying Light 2, Batman Arkham Knight, Returnal, and more, but Doederlein found no performance hit whatsoever with any of them. So it does indeed seem like a benchmarking-only issue only, fingers crossed – hopefully AMD will shed more light on the bug in due course.

What we can rule out is that it’s any kind of 3DMark problem, because as the dev clarifies, the TimeSpy benchmark “has not been modified for ages”, so the misbehavior is clearly down to the AMD driver or Windows 11 (or both in combination perhaps, as mentioned).

Via Neowin

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Nvidia fixes a weird GPU driver bug that tanked CPU performance

Nvidia’s GPU driver was recently found to have a bug that was spiking processor usage after quitting out of a game, but the good news is this problem has been fixed in a freshly released hotfix.

Neowin reports that the affected GeForce driver version, 531.18, now has a hotfix (531.26), and it cures two issues including the gremlin that was eating CPU resources.

This was an odd bug which saw an Nvidia Container process hang around after you’d stopped playing a game and exited. Going into Task Manager, gamers were seeing CPU resources being eaten up to the tune of 10% or even 15%, causing some slowdown to the host gaming PC.

If you didn’t open Task Manager and notice this process, then manually close it, your machine could run rather sluggishly and you’d have no idea why.

Still, the cure has arrived now, and if you were holding off updating to version 531.18 due to the presence of this bug, you can now go ahead.

Analysis: Notebook crashing blues also fixed

This fix has been deployed quickly, which is good to see. Nvidia chose the route of a hotfix because that can be pushed out immediately to those with GeForce graphics cards, rather than having to wait for a cure bundled with the next version of Team Green’s graphics driver.

The hotfix also comes packing a resolution for a second problem. Namely a random crash (stop error) happening with some laptops that have GeForce GTX 10 Series, or MX 250 / MX 350 mobile GPUs.

Both of these are quite nasty little glitches, so it’s good to see them stamped out by Nvidia in a swift manner. Indeed, because there was apparently some noticeable slowdown evident with the persisting Nvidia Container bug, slightly more paranoid types may even have wondered if something had happened malware-wise, as sudden system slowdown or lack of responsiveness can be a symptom of infection – so they may have worried unduly.

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