Microsoft steps up its Windows 11 file management game – get ready to say goodbye to WinRAR and &-Zip

If you’ve ever downloaded a 7-Zip file or RAR file (archive file formats that allow users to compress files to more portable, smaller sizes), you will probably find that you need an extra program or app or do something with them in Windows 11, but that’s about to change. Microsoft has announced native (as in, built-in) support for 7-Zip file and RAR file formats in Windows 11 22H2

According to BleepingComputer, Microsoft has stated that Windows 11 22H2 can now support almost a dozen archive file formats that it couldn’t before without a third-party app or program such as RAR, 7-Zip, Tar, and GZ archives. 

This update came as part of October’s optional KB5031455 Preview cumulative update. This means to have this new archive file capability, 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. 

That means Windows 11 will soon support all of the following archive file types: .rar, .7z, .tar, .tar.gz, .tar.bz2, .tar.zst, .tar.xz, .tgz, .tbz2, .tzst, and .txz. Password-encrypted files aren’t covered in this update, but that will come soon. BleepingComputer asked Microsoft about the lack of password-protected archive support, but Microsoft had nothing to share at this time. 

This development was first announced during the Build 2023 conference back in a May blog post that detailed Microsoft’s new Dev Home Windows control center.

Reportedly, Microsoft enlisted the open-source libarchive project, a library of file archive and file compression formats. Apparently, this open-source project also allows users to enable support for the LZH and XAR file formats, so we could see in-house Windows 11 support for these as well. If you’re familiar with the .gz archive file format, you’re probably a Linux user familiar with the GNU Zip (gzip) utility. This new Windows support for this file format will be helpful to those using the Windows Subsystem for Linux. 

Internet Archive

(Image credit: Shutterstock / 300 librarians)

How you can power up your Windows 11's file capabilities

Again, if you’d like this new capability for Windows 11 right now, you’ll need to manually install it. Otherwise you can wait until November’s Patch Tuesday, when there is a scheduled Windows 11 cumulative update. Either way, you will get all the new Moment 4 update features which includes a whopping seventy two new features for Windows 11 like a revamped File Explorer, a renewed Backup app, a new Passkey Manager, and the shiny jewel of the update, Windows Copilot

This is a welcome update, especially since the ZIP, 7-Zip, and RAR archive formats are widely used by users of Windows systems past and present. Since 1998, Windows has had native system support for ZIP archive files, and it’s good to see 7-Zip (.7z), RAR (.rar), and gz (.gz) files, get support in Windows 11, which should make using those files much easier – and means you won’t need to install any extra applications. 


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Samsung may be adding AI to its home appliances – I’m so ready to chat to my oven

Samsung is set to bet big on the AI hype and enhance a range of home appliances with AI capabilities – including premium and budget appliances across multiple categories, like smart TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and everything in between. 

According to DigiTimes, the tech giant intends to “equip all its new home appliance products with neural processing units (NPUs)” in 2024. Samsung’s Home Appliances Division is apparently working on updating various smart device chipsets, with the goal being to enable power-efficient, always-on AI tools that’ll assist users. 

This could mean a variety of new features will be made available to spruce up your home, like advanced voice recognition and a smarter version of Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby, which could answer questions and work with the rest of your smart home to help come up with lists or answer queries. 

Never burn a cake again!

As noted by Tom’s Hardware, one of the more exciting possibilities the proposed AI integration could lead to is smart ovens. As someone who regularly battles with my low-tech oven, a smart oven that can suggest cooking times, tell me when things are burning, or advise me that my dinner needs to be cooked a little longer would be great. 

AI integration may seem like it’s going off the rails a little bit with how quickly our day-to-day lives are getting boosted by artificial intelligence. But, if there’s one tech department that would greatly benefit from that intelligent upgrade, it’s smart home appliances.

That being said, the change may not be welcomed by everyone. There is the concern of privacy and security, and the strange new territory of giving a little more of our life to the bots. But if it keeps me from burning my cakes, I’m willing to let this one slide.

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The Vision Pro App Store will come with all your favourite apps, ready to go

According to an update from Apple, iPad and iPhone apps will automatically be imported to the Vision Pro “with no additional work required”, which means developers will only have to optimize their apps if they feel it's needed. 

Apple states, “By default, your iPad and/or iPhone apps will be published automatically on the App Store on Apple Vision Pro,” and “Most frameworks available in iPadOS and iOS are also included in visionOS, which means nearly all iPad and iPhone apps can run on visionOS, unmodified.”

The Vision Pro headset is Apple’s first mixed-reality headset that’s been years in the making. It may look like a fancy pair of ski goggles or a futuristic pair of sunglasses, but the Vision Pro is an extraordinary piece of technology. It was the standout product during Apple's WWDC 2023 event earlier this year, and we expect it to again dominate the conversation on it's release early next year.

This means app developers won’t have to worry about rebuilding their apps to fit the brand new operating system to work with the mixed reality device. But, they will still be able to build new apps using Apple’s visionOS software development kit. Apple started taking applications for the kits in July of this year.

From a consumer perspective, this is great news as it means people who can pay the steep price for the headset ($ 3,499 in the US) won’t be receiving the hardware without optimal software. It also means you can expect to see your favorite apps ready to go when you start using the headset. 

As we wait for the headset to make its debut, we’re taking updates like these as a good sign that Apple is investing a considerable amount of time and energy into the new product. With the recent news that we may be seeing a cheaper version of the Vision Pro and the instant accessibility of apps, the future looks promising for the headset. 

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Ready to be interviewed by AI for your next job? You might have to be

In the near future, it’s seemingly a fair bet that coming on for half of all job interviews will be conducted by AI rather than a person.

We’ve been hearing plenty of stories about how job seekers are using AI to hone their applications and even to create resumes, but a ZDNet report takes a different perspective: that of employers, and how they’ll be leveraging artificial intelligence on their side.

The article highlights a survey carried out by Resume Builder which offered up a rather staggering figure – namely that 40% of corporate recruiters will use AI to conduct job interviews by 2024.

On top of that, according to expert estimates, 15% of recruiters will rely entirely on AI for all hiring decisions “from start to finish”, we’re told.

The survey also found that 46% of job hunters were now using ChatGPT to write their resumes and cover letters. Furthermore, a very high percentage – 78% – indicated that they got a higher level of response from companies (and secured an interview) when using AI to do their job applications (at least in part, though to what extent isn’t clarified by the report).

Analysis: Flirting with disaster?

We find this pretty scary, to be honest. The indication – and mind, it is just that – that one in seven recruiters (actually a touch more) feel confident that by next year, AI could seemingly handle the entire hiring process, seems like a recipe for, well, if not disaster, then something skirting close to calamitous.

We get that a first round of short interviews that are AI-powered might serve as a useful wheat-from-chaff elimination process, but to go much further than that, as suggested, and have an entirely AI-driven recruitment selection (more or less), well, that’s a different ballgame.

Sometimes these kinds of surveys can be rather overblown with their findings, of course, but the way AI is being developed, and the pace it’s being pushed out in general, does not make this seem like an entirely unrealistic prospect.

It’s certainly something that could unnerve job candidates. How would you feel about your future (or at least, future employment) being judged by AI, and maybe even AI alone in some cases? We think that if we were being interviewed by an AI, then we’d be prone to thinking more in terms of covering key words or phrases, rather than acting naturally – and be less relaxed as a result (and likely perform worse).

On the other hand, there may be folks out there who’d be more comfortable being interviewed by an AI rather than a human, perhaps feeling that the former would be less prone to judge them (or at least be more likely to judge them based on their skills and abilities, rather than anything else)? Or maybe that AI would be easier to pull the wool over the eyes of, in some respect, even? We’re not sure either of those things would be true, mind, but still…

Whatever your thoughts on having a job interview with a chatbot rather than an actual person, it seems like that from next year, this is a reality we’re going to have to deal with more and more. Meaning that interview preparation could be quite different in some cases, though the experts recommend you simply regard a bot as a human, and don’t act any differently in an interview – and we can see the wisdom there.

Alternatively, you could ask your preferred flavor of chatbot – Bing, Bard, ChatGPT – how best to prepare for an interview with AI, and get the inside track, as it were. This further raises the prospect of getting an AI to answer the interviewing AI (at which point, our head explodes).

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Spotify is finally ready to save you when you forget to download a playlist

Spotify is currently working on a new playlist that will automatically download recently played songs to your device for when the internet connection is spotty.

This information comes from the platform’s own CEO, Daniel Ek, who posted a screenshot of the upcoming feature called Offline Mix to his Twitter account. Details are slim as Ek doesn’t mention any other specifics about the playlist, but there are a couple of clues. First, one of the intended use cases of Offline Mix seems to be on flights where phone signals are basically nonexistent. Secondly, you'll be able to download hours of music onto smartphones. The image Ek provided shows the service can store up to three and a half hours of offline content.

It is already possible to download songs from Spotify for offline listening. The main difference between the two is the current method requires you to manually get tracks one by one whereas this new method removes all the busy work. Basically, Offline Mix is Spotify’s version of smart downloads on YouTube Music. That tool allows the YouTube Music app to “automatically download up to 500 songs” that can then be listened to anywhere with or without a connection.  


Much of Offline Mix’s capabilities remain a mystery. We don’t know how many songs people will be able to download and whether or not a Spotify Premium subscription is required. It is worth noting that a couple of Twitter users claim to have received the feature. One person even complains Spotify failed to download most of the songs on their playlist. Although it’s possible the platform is rolling out Offline Mix to a select few as part of its tests, we urge you to take these claims with several grains of salt. There hasn't been any official confirmation of any public tests.

We reached out to Spotify to see if the company was willing to make a statement or perhaps share some details about the feature like its launch date. Hopefully, it's soon as the playlist has been in the works for some time now. Notable industry insider Jane Manchun Wong on Twitter was among the first to mention Offline Mix to the public in 2020, back when it was called Offline User Mix. This story will be updated if we hear back from Spotify.

In the meantime, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best music streaming services for 2023.  

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Get ready to take your Bing AI chat from the desktop to mobile, without starting over

Microsoft is working on yet another sizable update to Bing AI with this round going to mobile. The latest batch comes just weeks after a previous announcement of various desktop improvements and we have a lot to cover.

Starting off with the Bing app itself, users will be able to add a Bing Chat widget to their “iOS or Android home screen”. This gives you direct access to the AI with the option to either type in your query into the text window or select the microphone icon to ask the question verbally. You can start fresh with a new chat or continue with an old one as Microsoft is enabling the frequently requested “continuous conversations across platforms”. So now a conversation held with Bing on the desktop can continue on mobile devices and vice versa.

The last Bing app update sees the AI gaining new support for multiple countries and languages, which opens it up to more people around the world. Unfortunately, a list of all the newfound support was not included in the post (although we did ask). Microsoft also claims it “improved the quality for non-English chats.” However, the company didn’t provide any details on the level of improvement. 

Expanding support

Moving on to the second app, SwiftKey will have a Compose feature to help you write texts “according to the parameters you suggest”. These parameters include the subject matter, tone, length, and format with the final one being useful for drafting emails. Of course, you can edit those drafts. Two new tones are being added to SwiftKey as well – Witty and Funny – bringing the total to six. So, if you want to have Bing create some eye-rolling dad jokes, you can (just be sure you use this power wisely). To top it all off, the AI-powered Translator on Android will be migrating over to iOS “within the next week” or so.

The Edge browser app is getting Contextual Chat allowing users to ask Bing a question based on the content they’re viewing. The example given is you can ask the AI what the best wine would be to pair with a recipe you're looking at or have it write up a summary of an article you're looking at. Learning will also be made a bit easier thanks to Selected Text Actions. Highlighting a piece of text will open a conversation with Bing where it will then explain that topic in detail complete with “cited sources”.

And last but not least, every single group chat in Skype will have access to the generative AI. All you have to do is tag it by entering “@Bing” into a discussion. 

Bing AI update on mobile apps

(Image credit: Windows)


The release dates of all these features are all over the place which is why it wasn’t mentioned earlier. The Skype update, SwiftKey Compose tool, and the Bing widget are releasing this week (week of May 14, 2023). Next week, we’ll see continuous conversations alongside the Translator tool. Everything else is unknown other than a vague “soon”. 

We asked Microsoft if it could provide us with dates for the unmentioned features plus a list of the newly supported countries and languages. This story will be updated at a later time.

While we have you check out TechRadar’s list of the best AI tools for 2023 to see what the technology is capable of. It’s not just assistants or content generators.

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Windows 11 preview shows a File Explorer ready to recommend what you open next

Microsoft is currently rolling out new File Explorer features via Insider Preview Build 23403 on Windows 11 with a big focus on streamlining work.

One of the more interesting features of this package is File Recommendations.  As the name suggests, the File Explorer will begin suggesting which files you should open on the home tab. It appears Microsoft created this tool for business-centric users, at least initially. The tool will only recommend cloud files associated with a particular account, “either owned by the user, or shared with the user.” You also have to be signed in to your Azure Active Directory account otherwise it doesn't work. Additionally, the company is limiting the number of people who will get to try out File Recommendations at this time. Microsoft states it wants to keep a close eye on feedback “before pushing it out to everyone.”

Less restricted are the new Access Keys for File Explorer. They’re simple, single keystroke shortcuts for “quickly [executing] a command.” For example, hitting the “O” key opens a file whereas pressing the “B” key sets it as a desktop background. To use this feature, you’ll have to first click on a file in File Explorer and then press the Menu key on your keyboard to make Access Keys pop up. If you don’t have a Menu key, hitting Shift and F10 at once does the same thing.

File Recommendations on File Explorer

File Recommendations on File Explorer (Image credit: Microsoft)

New updates

Moving past File Explorer, the rest of the features affect other native Windows 11 apps, namely the language side of things. For starters, Live Captions will be available in more languages including Japanese, and French, as well as other English dialects like Australian English. Speaking of which, the Voice Access app will now support those different dialects. Upon activating the app, “you will be prompted to download a speech model” for a specific dialect. Microsoft also redesigned Voice Access to make it more streamlined and easier to use. Each command will now have a description explaining what it does next to an example of how it can be used.

For the rest of the build, it’s all a collection of small tweaks; nothing really major. Changes include a VPN icon now appearing in the System Tray if you have one active, a new copy button for “quickly copying [2FA] codes in notification[s]”, and some bug fixes. If this piques your interest, you can try out Preview Build 23403 by joining the Dev Channel of the Windows 11 Insider Program.

It's worth mentioning that Microsoft has been working on overhauling File Explorer for some time now. It's unknown exactly what it'll have, but we’ve got a few hints like File Explorer being redesigned to make it more user-friendly. However, it’ll probably still be a while until we see the final product. If you don’t feel like waiting til then, be sure to check out our list of the best file managers for Windows

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WhatsApp is ready to help most of you silence annoying spam calls

WhatsApp is taking a more proactive approach to filtering out spam as it may soon begin automatically silencing calls from unknown numbers.

The feature is fittingly called Silence Unknown Callers, according to WABetaInfo, giving users the choice of whether or not they want phone calls from people outside of their contacts. It’ll find its home in the settings menu where it can be toggled on or off at any time. Once activated, WhatsApp will no longer alert users to calls from random numbers, but the Caller ID can still be found in both the calls list and notifications center if you really want to know who it was.

As WABetaInfo points out, Silence Unknown Callers could also be addressing a flaw in WhatsApp’s Communities feature. The problem is anyone in a group can get other people’s numbers pretty easily either by contacting the Community creator or an admin to then start spam calling everyone. On the flip side, the full list of participants in a Community and their numbers are visible to the creator so even they can take advantage of the situation. Reporting and blocking certainly work, however, there’s nothing in the way to stop the first wave of spam; at least for now.

You can try out Silence Unknown Callers yourself by downloading the latest WhatsApp beta for Android which you can do by joining the Google Play Store beta program. It’s unknown at this time whether or not the feature will make its way to iOS nor do we know its official launch date.

In the works

Alongside Silence Unknown Callers, WhatsApp is currently testing a variety of other new features for Android. The big one is a new split view on tablets allowing the chat list to appear when opening a chat, status tabs, or making a call. It looks similar to the browser version of WhatsApp. Additionally, the beta will allow users to try out the redesigned Status tab now supporting Newsletters, the platform’s other big upcoming feature. 

There are a few changes for WhatsApp for iPhones, but they’re a lot less impactful. Arguably the biggest change in the iOS beta is the redesigned chat attachment menu which is already present on the Android app. And a new sticker maker tool that turns images into stickers. Not much for iOS owners right now, but at least you recently got an exclusive picture-in-picture mode for video calls.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated list of the best antivirus apps for Android if you want to know how you can boost security. 

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This Microsoft Teams rival you’ve never heard of is ready for expansion

Alibaba has announced some new features for DingTalk, an enterprise-focused alternative to Microsoft Teams that has over 500 million users. 

DingTalk is part of Alibaba Cloud, one of the world's leading cloud providers by market share, and the service combines messaging, task management, audio and video conferencing, live-streaming, real-time translation and more. 

According to The Register, the service is currently available to Chinese SMBs for no cost, and an English language version is also available Malaysia. But now, Alibaba is looking to attract a wider selection of customers, with new avenues for extensibility and additional subscription plans.

The company says the free basic version will remain available as before, alongside three paid tiers with extra features, and a new commission model will be added for software and hardware vendors.

The race for corporate messaging 

Corporate messaging apps have taken off during the pandemic, as almost all businesses moved to an online model for working.

Zoom was the early winner, offering best-in-class video tools, but Microsoft was quick to expand and upgrade Teams, its all-in-one offering, and the company's pre-existing relationship with enterprises was a huge bonus. 

On top of that, a host of other services, such as Slack, have catered to remote needs. 

Given the Chinese internet is distinct from the Western internet, it makes sense that Alibaba – one of its largest companies, alongside Tencent – offers the same services for a domestic audience. 

Alibaba says over 19 million organizations use DingTalk already, a formidable number, and one-third of customers have over 2,000 employees. Around 1.9 million developers offer over 2.4 million add-on features.

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