Microsoft forgot to remove Windows 10’s File Explorer from Windows 11 – here’s how to find it

An especially inquisitive Reddit user has worked out a trick that lets you use Windows 10’s File Explorer in Windows 11 without having to mess with your Windows Registry.

Windows 10’s File Explorer and overall user interface (UI) are some of the biggest reasons that many folks prefer the older operating system, so this will be regarded as quite the breakthrough in some respects. Mainly because other workarounds to be able to achieve the same end require that you tinker with your Windows Registry, requiring a degree of understanding and care (or a third-party tool, most of which are not free).

Now, thanks to Reddit user The_Blank_Spot, you can achieve the same thing a lot more easily. 

To fire up Windows 10’s File Explorer within Windows 11, follow these steps: 

1. Type ‘Control Panel’ into the search box in the Windows 11 taskbar and open the panel.

2. Click on ‘System and Security.’

A screenshot of the home screen of Control Panel, with an arrow pointing to 'System and security'

(Image credit: Microsoft)

3. Click on ‘Windows Tools.’

A screenshot of the 'System and Security' page, with an arrow pointing to 'Windows Tools'

(Image credit: Microsoft)

This should open the ‘Windows Tools’ folder, but here’s the trick: it opens in the classic Windows 10 File Explorer UI. From here, you can go on to navigate to different file locations or system drives, and those who have tried, including us, have observed that the interface won’t change while that window stays open.

In other words, you’ll have the Windows 10 File Explorer the whole time you’re working with this window, until you close it.

An easy workaround with seemingly no downside

This workaround seemingly doesn’t cause any issues with your OS and it also doesn’t replace the current Windows 11 UI. You can use the rest of Windows 11 as usual, and you can even use both File Explorers side by side at the same time (if you open any folder in Windows 11 as normal).

Using Windows 10’s UI here also means you get access to a feature that was cut in Windows 11 – though admittedly it’s coming back in testing – namely ‘drag and drop’ in File Explorer’s address bar. This allows you to select a file or folder that’s currently open in a location in File Explorer, then drag it to another location listed in the address bar to move it there. 

A commenter in the thread regarding The_Blank_Spot’s discovery, RockFox, pointed out that once you’re in ‘System and Security’ within ‘Control Panel,’ you can right-click ‘Windows Tools’ and use ‘Create shortcut.’ Then, you can right-click this shortcut and select ‘Pin to Start’ or  ‘Pin to Taskbar’ to place it in a convenient place in those parts of the Windows 11 interface, and rename it to whatever you want.

Many people might be delighted to find out about this, and I will probably take these steps on my own device, too. However, since this does appear to be a bug that Microsoft hasn’t caught yet, it’s likely the company might close this loophole when the next huge Windows 11 update, 24H2, is released later in 2024.



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Adobe Lightroom’s new Generative Remove AI tool makes Content-aware Fill feel basic – and gives you one less reason to use Photoshop

One of Adobe Lightroom's most used editing tools, Content-aware Fill, just got a serious upgrade in the AI-powered shape of Generative Remove. The Adobe Firefly tool is branded “Lightroom's most powerful remove tool yet” and after a quick play ahead of its announcement, I'd have to agree. 

Compared to Content-aware Fill, which will remain in Adobe's popular photo organizer and editor, Generative Remove is much more intelligent, plus it's non-destructive. 

As you can see from the gif below, Generative Remove is used to remove unwanted objects in your image, plus it works a treat for retouching. You simply brush over the area you'd like to edit – whether that's removing a photo bomber or something as simple as creases in clothing – and then the new tool creates a selection of smart edits with the object removed (or retouch applied) for you to pick your favorite from.

If I was to use Lightroom's existing Content-aware Fill for the same image in the gif below and in the same way, or even for a much smaller selection, it would sample parts of the model's orange jacket and hair and place them in the selection. I'd then need to repeatedly apply the tool to remove these new unwanted details, and the new area increasingly becomes an artifact-ridden mess.

Adobe Lightroom Generative Remove tool

(Image credit: Adobe)

Put simply, Lightroom's existing remove tool works okay for small selections but it regularly includes samples of parts of the image you don't want. Generative Remove is significantly faster and more effective for objects of all sizes than Content-aware Fill, plus it's non-destructive, creating a new layer that you can turn on and off.

From professionals wanting to speed up their workflow to simply removing distant photo bombers with better results, Generative Remove is next-level Lightroom editing and it gives you one less reason to use Adobe Photoshop. It is set to be a popular tool for photographers of all skills levels needing to make quick remove and retouching edits.

Generative Remove is available now as an early access feature across all Lightroom platforms: mobile, desktop, iPad, web and Classic.

Adobe Lightroom Generative Remove tool

(Image credit: Adobe)

Adobe also announced that its Lens Blur tool is being rolled out in full to Lightroom, with new automatic presets. As you can see in the gif above, presets include subtle, bubble and geometric effects to bokeh. For example, speckled and artificial light can be given a circular shape with the Lens Blur bubble effect.

Lens Blur is another AI-tool and doesn't just apply a uniform strength blur to the background, but uses 3D mapping in order to apply a different strength of blur based on how far away objects are in the background, for more believable results.

It's another non-destructive edit, too, meaning that you can add to or remove from the selection if you're not happy with the strength of blur applied or if background objects get missed out first time around – for instance, it might mistake a lamp in the image above as a subject and not apply blur to it.

Having both Generative Remove and Lens Blur AI-tools to hand makes Lightroom more powerful than ever. Lens Blur is now generally available across the Lightroom ecosystem. Furthermore, there are other new tools added to Lightroom and you can find out more on the Adobe website.

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Fed up with OneDrive in Windows 11? Microsoft clarifies that you can easily remove the cloud storage app

Windows 11 users can uninstall OneDrive – in case you weren’t aware of that – and Microsoft has made this clearer with a change to a support document.

Neowin picked up on this alteration Microsoft made to its guide on how to ‘Turn off, disable, or uninstall OneDrive’ which is part of its library of troubleshooting support documentation.

Now, as Neowin informs us, previously this document did not mention Windows 11 – it only referred to Windows 10. And that might have given some users the impression that it was only possible to remove OneDrive on Windows 10, and not Windows 11.

This isn’t the case, of course, and you can unhook OneDrive from Windows 11, removing it completely, just as you can with Windows 10. By mentioning both operating systems, Microsoft is now making it clear that this is the case.

Microsoft has also fleshed out this support document with further instructions on how to stop syncing OneDrive and other details relating to its cloud storage service.

Oddly, though, another support document on how to ‘Turn off OneDrive in Windows’ still only mentions Windows 10, and not Windows 11. However, it might be the case that Microsoft is in the process of updating this sprawling library of content, and just hasn’t reached that page yet.

Analysis: Removing OneDrive is a cinch

This is useful confirmation to get from Microsoft, as it was easy enough to make negative assumptions about hidden agendas here – when in truth the likelihood is the software giant just hadn’t got round to updating the support info (and still hasn’t with some articles, as we just noted). Although Neowin also points out, it’s possible that this updating process has been prompted by Microsoft now having to comply with new European regulations (the Digital Markets Act).

If you haven’t popped over to view the links to the support info, you may be wondering what the process for uninstalling OneDrive from either Windows 10 or Windows 11 is. Fortunately, it’s simple: just go to ‘Add or remove programs’ (type that in the search box on the taskbar, then click on it), scroll down the list of apps to find Microsoft OneDrive (it’s under ‘M’ and not ‘O’ just to clarify), and then select Uninstall.

This doesn’t mean that you’re completely nuking your OneDrive account, in case there’s any doubt. All your files will still be in OneDrive when you visit the site on the web (or from another, say mobile, app), just as normal – all you are doing is removing the app from Windows 11, and this way of accessing your files on your Windows PC (and any syncing or related features therein).

Some of the confusion about not being able to uninstall OneDrive in Windows 11 at all may have sprung from the fact that it wasn’t possible to remove the cloud storage app from Windows 8.1.

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Google Meet calls will now remove background noise, even if you dial in from your phone

Google Meet calls are about to get more serene for phone users, thanks to the expansion of the video conferencing software's noise cancellation feature.

As part of a sweep of updates to Google Workspace, the company's suite of productivity tools, those who dial into a meeting from their phone can now enjoy the same elimination of background noise as desktop users. 

Google says the technology “can remove background noises such as typing, closing a door, room echo, or the sounds of a nearby construction site” to enable the complete focus of participants without distraction. It will also make them easier to hear too.

Select customers

The tech giant says that it only filters out noises that are not clearly those of a human voice. So voices coming from other sources, such as a nearby TV or radio, or other people talking in the room, will not be filtered out.

It therefore advises that if other sounds are needed in your call, such as the playing of musical instruments, for example, then noise cancellation should be turned off in order for them to be picked up. This is perhaps why for those subscribed to one of the educational tiers of Google Workspace, the feature is off by default.

To toggle noise cancellation on or off on, you need to tap or click the cog icon that open up the settings when on Google Meet. For iPhone and Android device users, they should see a noise cancellation option that they can tap to activate or deactivate. Desktop/ laptop users will find this option under the audio section of the settings. 

However, it appears that for those calling into a meeting with their phone, noise cancellation is activated depending on whether your organization has it turned on or off beforehand. 

Noise cancellation for phone users is now available for the following Workspace customers only: Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Plus, the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Frontline”.

Noise cancellation in general is currently unavailable to those in “South Africa, UAE, and the immediately surrounding areas”. Google also mentions that those using an electrolarynx should have the feature turned off, and that Pexip device users have it on by default, and should refer to the device documentation to turn it off. 

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This Photoshop alternative for Mac now lets you remove colors easily

The latest update to popular photo editor Pixelmator Pro gives macOS users another reason to avoid defaulting to Photoshop.

Codenamed Mosaic, version 3.3 of the photo editing app for Mac has introduced a raft of new features – with the Remove Color adjustment taking center-stage. The tool lets users strip out solid colors from images and videos just by selecting the color with an eyedropper tool. 

According to the developer, users can adjust how much of a selected color is taken out using three controls: Color Range, Luminance Range, and Intensity sliders. Showcasing its use in a YouTube demonstration, the developer detailed how creatives can use the latest addition to remove a green screen in videos.  

What’s new in Pixelmator Pro 3.3?  

Remove Color, which apparently deploys “a state-of-the-art texture-aware algorithm”, isn’t the only update to make its way into version 3.3. 

The Clarity, Selective Clarity, and Texture adjustments first made their way into the company's mobile photo editing app Pixelmator Photo, and now they are set to join the Photoshop alternative; while Shadows, Highlights, Exposure, and Brightness adjustments have also seen enhancements for creating more natural-looking edited images.  

For illustrators and artists, the drawing software sees a significant bump in stroke styles and options for customizing them. Sidecar file support has also been introduced: by attaching a Pixelmator Pro document to images, users can open, edit, and save images in the original file format, while saving any non-destructive edits and layers to Mac or iCloud.

“Images with sidecar edits look and behave just like regular images. For example, you can easily share such images online or open them in other apps without having to export them first,” the firm explained. 

Elsewhere, the graphic design software, which includes logo maker tools and a RAW image editor, received a new Pattern fill style and the ability to use shortcuts when applying LUTs, color adjustments, effects, and auto-color adjustments to videos. 

Pixelmator Pro 3.3 is free to all existing users. New users can download it from the App Store by clicking here

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6 types of Windows malware to watch out for – and how to remove them

Windows is the most prevalent desktop operating system in the world, and therefore PCs running Microsoft’s OS are most often targeted by cybercriminals and their various strains of malware.

While desktop users on other platforms shouldn’t be complacent – even though that might be tempting with less commonly used and more locked-down OS alternatives – it’s true enough to say that those running Windows certainly need to consider security as a priority.

With that in mind, in this article we’re going to look at the most common types of malware which could possibly strike a Windows 10 or 11 system, discussing what they are, how they work and what they might do to any PC that’s unfortunate enough to be infected. Then to conclude, we’ll look at the tools you can use to detect and purge these various intruders, like malware removal software and antivirus and how to go about that process.

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1. Viruses/Malware

The term ‘virus’ is quite often employed in a general sense to denote anything malicious which has infected a computer, but really, the umbrella term for that is actually ‘malware’. A virus is a specific type of malware, and in fact it’s the oldest family of malicious software around.

A computer virus, much like a biological one, exists with the aim of spreading itself. It hides in a file (like the EXE for an app, or a Word document), and infects the system when that file is opened, triggering the payload (the nasty things done to your machine, which vary widely).

The key element here is that it then tries to spread itself to other files, and should those files off your machine reach another PC, it then infects that (when the file is run), spreads again, and so the cycle continues.

2. Worms

A worm is much like a virus, and spreads itself in the same way, but with a key and very dangerous difference.

Worms directly attack and infect the system they come into contact with. In other words, you don’t have to open a file to trigger the infection; it happens with no interaction from the user required. In this case, there’s no chance to even, say, get suspicious about a Word document’s title and origin, and decide to leave it well alone – the infection just happens.

Trojan malware

(Image credit: wk1003mike / Shutterstock)

3. Trojans

You’re surely familiar with the myth of the Trojan Horse, and the name of this kind of malware is a direct reference to the fact that it pretends to be a legitimate app or file. Most commonly, it’ll be a fake program that you might download thinking it’s the genuine article – maybe from an authentic-looking website – but when you run it, your machine will become infected (unlike a virus, though, it won’t attempt to spread itself).

There are various ways in which a Trojan can be destructive, for example, opening a backdoor on your system to allow the malware author access to do what they want, or it might sit on your PC and steal your passwords.

4. Adware

Adware is one of the less vicious subcategories of malware, in that it won’t engage in something really nasty like nuking your data. Rather, it just serves up adverts as the name suggests (note that it could, however, track you online and targets ads too).

So, it’s more annoying as opposed to actively destructive, but clearly, it’s still not something you want hanging around on your Windows PC. Particularly not when in some cases it can result in a veritable avalanche of pop-up ads assaulting your desktop – which really isn’t pleasant and could hamper the performance of your Windows laptop or PC.

Spyware gathers data to send to a malicious actor

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Spyware

Again, this is a type of malware named after what it does – namely sit quietly in your system, spying on you, stealthily gathering data. The information harvested is transmitted to the malicious actor behind the spyware, and then bent to whatever dark purpose they have in mind.

It’s similar to adware, and it’s not outright destructive – the whole idea is that you never realize its presence, of course – and adware is generally considered a subcategory of spyware.

However, where spyware is different is that it poses more of a threat than adware, and a potentially major danger to your personal data and security. It could possibly be collecting info such as the passwords for your online accounts, for instance.

6. Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the nastiest kinds of malware, one which effectively takes over your machine.

If it infects a PC – like most malware, it may be hidden in a file perhaps emailed to you, or picked up via a dodgy web link – it systematically goes through your files and encrypts them (or at least some of the more critical ones). It then demands a ransom to be paid for the key to decrypt that data. Essentially, it locks away files so you can’t get to them, and threatens to throw away the key unless you pay up, usually in Bitcoin or an alternative cryptocurrency.

Of course, even if you do pay up, there’s no guarantee that the malicious party behind the scam will free your files from their encrypted chains. You are trusting an inherently untrustworthy third-party that this will actually happen.

Malwarebytes Scan Threat Results Screen

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

How to remove malware from your Windows PC

Let’s say the unfortunate happens and you get infected by one of the above threats. You may be certain of an infection, or you might just suspect it. In the latter case, perhaps your computer is suddenly behaving oddly, running really slowly, or popping up random messages at you that don't make sense.

The first question to ask is: are you running an antivirus app? Remember, Windows has its own Microsoft Defender built-in, so you don’t have to install a third-party app if you don’t want to. Assuming you are running an antivirus, if you’re not sure – but suspect – that malware is present, run a manual scan (the option to do a ‘full scan’ should be easily accessible from the app’s main menu). This scan should pinpoint anything malicious, and then deal with the offending party automatically.

If you are certain you’ve been infected, and you’re running an antivirus already, this shows that these apps aren’t always totally bulletproof. It’s at this point you may want to ask yourself whether you’re running one of the best Windows antivirus apps, with a more accurate antivirus engine? If not, then switch over to one of these top-rated products to get better protection and run a scan.

Malwarebytes being used to remove malware from Android phone

(Image credit: Malwarebytes)

If your antivirus doesn’t find anything, then you can enlist another line of defense: anti-malware (or, if you don’t have an antivirus, and don’t want to install one at all, you can skip straight to this step). Our recommendation as the top pick in this case is Malwarebytes. Once installed, start the app and click on ‘Scan’ to initiate the scanning process. If the apps finds a threat, it’ll deal with the malware (the software may also flag up potentially suspicious programs that you may or may not wish to get rid of). We have a full tutorial giving step-by-step instructions on how to clean up your Windows PC with an anti-malware tool.

In short, the combination of an antivirus and/or anti-malware should hunt out and destroy any malware present.

As a final note, there may be especially problematic malware, and here we’re mainly thinking of ransomware, which is a particularly thorny type of infection. In some cases, you might be locked out of your PC, or need specialist help, although don’t forget there are ransomware decryption tools out there from major security vendors that could help  – you could check out Kaspersky and Avast’s resources for starters.

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