Microsoft’s trick for speeding up PC games in Windows 11 works with only 12 games to start with – but far more are actually supported

We now know a lot more about how Microsoft’s Automatic Super Resolution (Auto SR) feature for speeding up gaming frame rates in Windows 11 will work, and what games it will initially support.

VideoCardz noticed a new entry in Microsoft’s support database on the topic of Auto SR, which underlines the requirements, as well as detailing what games will come as fully verified for the tech.

For those who missed it, Auto SR is an upscaling feature, meaning it runs a game at a lower resolution, upscaling to a higher one, so that you get a close-to-native-resolution image quality with a faster frame rate – using AI to pull off this trickery.

The notable catches are that you need a Copilot+ PC and indeed a Snapdragon X processor, one of the ARM-based chips that’ll power laptops launching next month. (You’ll also need Windows 11 24H2, which launches with those AI PCs).

As for the games which are verified and tested by Microsoft for Auto SR, the initial collection is as follows:

  • 7 Days to Die
  • BeamNG Drive
  • Borderlands 3
  • Control
  • Dark Souls III
  • God of War
  • Kingdom Come: Deliverance
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Resident Evil 3
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
  • Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Analysis: Useful clarifications – and caveats

It’s interesting to see the fully verified games, and even if it’s only a small selection of a dozen right now, there are some big-name titles. However, the really interesting bit is the clarification that Automatic Super Resolution is a sweeping upscaling feature that can be applied to any game (DX11 or DX12).

We always assumed it would be a system-wide feature – after all, that was the whole point, compared to more targeted upscaling solutions that require support from the game dev such as Nvidia DLSS – and indeed this is the case. It’s just Microsoft worried us with its mention of Auto SR just applying to a “curated set of games” last week when it launched the feature, but these are just the verified games guaranteed to work well.

The majority of games should be fine with Auto SR in theory, but some may be wonky, or some may not work at all, and to that end, Microsoft is collaborating with the website that lists games that can use the feature successfully – and also those that can’t use Auto SR for whatever reason. (This is the same website that also tells you whether your favorite PC game will run on Windows on ARM).

There are some nuances to note here, and the first is that verified games are set to work ‘out of the box’ with Auto SR, meaning the feature will be on by default. That could cause some confusion or conflict if a gamer is using another type of upscaling potentially – though you are told that by Windows that Auto SR is being enabled when the game is launched.

We guess Microsoft feels that less tech-savvy folks will benefit from having the feature automatically applied where it makes sense, in games that are fully tested to work well with Auto SR.

The Snapdragon X requirement is the other important point to note here, although we assume this will be widened to include future AMD and Intel laptop CPUs – those with a powerful enough NPU to qualify as the engine of a Copilot+ PC (as Auto SR will be for these PCs only).

However, we also noticed that Microsoft says Auto SR is only supported for games running on ARM64 natively or emulated x64 games (with the latter using Prism, the translation layer for running Windows games on ARM chips). Presumably that’s a reflection that currently (well, as of next month) only the new Snapdragon X can drive a Copilot+ PC, and that when AMD Strix Point or Intel Lunar Lake CPUs arrive for these AI-powered laptops, there’ll surely be fine with Auto SR.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Bereft ChatGPT fans start petition to bring back controversial ‘Sky’ chatbot voice

OpenAI has pulled ChatGPT's popular 'Sky' chatbot voice after Scarlett Johansson expressed her “disbelief” at how “eerily similar” it sounded to her own. But fans of the controversial voice in the ChatGPT app aren't happy – and have now started a petition to bring it back.

The Sky voice, which is one of several that are available in the ChatGPT app for iOS and Android, is no longer available after OpenAI stated yesterday on X (formerly Twitter) that it'd had hit pause in order to address “questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT”.

Those questions became very pointed yesterday when Johansson wrote a fiery statement given to NPR that she was “shocked, angered and in disbelief” that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman would “pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine” after she had apparently twice declined licensing her voice for the ChatGPT assistant.

OpenAI has rejected those accusations, stating in a blog post that “Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice.” But pressure from Johansson's lawyers, which NPR reports are demanding answers, has forced OpenAI to suspend the voice – and fans aren't happy.

In a fascinating example of how attached some are already becoming to AI chatbots, a popular Reddit thread titled 'Petition to bring Sky voice back' includes a link to a Change petition, which currently has over 300 signatures.

In fairness, many of the Reddit comments and signatures predate Johansson's statement and OpenAI's reasoning for pulling the Sky voice option in the ChatGPT app. And it now looks increasingly likely that the voice won't simply be paused but instead put on indefinite hiatus.

But the thread is still an interesting, and mildly terrifying, glimpse of where we're headed with convincing AI chatbot voices, whether they're licensed from famous actresses or not. One comment from Redditor JohnDango states that “she was the only bot I spoke to that had a 'realness' about her that made it feel like a real step beyond chatbot,” while GaneshLookALike noted mournfully that “Sky was full of warmth and compassion.”

That voice, which we also found to be one of ChatGPT's most convincing options, is now on the backburner while the case rumbles on. 

What next for ChatGPT's Sky voice?

See more

It doesn't sound like ChatGPT's 'Sky' voice is going to return anytime soon. In her statement shared with NPR, Scarlett Johansson said she'd been “forced to hire legal counsel” and send letters to OpenAI asking how the voice had been made. OpenAI's blog post looks like its response to those questions, though it remains to be seen whether that's enough to keep the lawyers at bay.

Johansson understandably sounds determined to pursue the issue, adding in her statement to NPR that “in a time when we are all grappling with deepfakes and the protection of our own likeness, our own work, our own identities, I believe these are questions that deserve absolute clarity.” 

While there's no suggestion that OpenAI cloned Johansson's voice, the company did reveal in March that it had developed a new voice synthesizer that could apparently copy a voice from just 15 seconds of audio. That tool was never released to the public due to concerns about how it might be misused, with OpenAI stating that it was investigating the “responsible deployment of synthetic voices”.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman also didn't exactly help his company's cause by simply posting “her” on X (formerly Twitter) on the eve of the launch of its GPT-4o model, which included the new voice mode that it demoed. That looks like a thinly-veiled reference to Spike Jonze's movie Her, about a man who develops a relationship with an AI virtual assistant Samantha, which was voiced by none other than Scarlett Johansson.

For now, then, it looks like fans of the ChatGPT app will need to make do with the other voices – including Breeze, Cove, Ember and Juniper – while this fascinating case rumbles on. This also shouldn't effect the rollout of GPT-4o's impressive new conversational voice powers, which OpenAI says it will be rolling out “in alpha within ChatGPT Plus in the coming weeks”.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 update delivers a fix for broken VPNs – but also sees adverts infiltrate the Start menu

Happy Microsoft Patch Tuesday May 2024 to all who celebrate! Yesterday saw a new update for Windows 11 that brings fixes for existing issues, along with other changes, as part of Microsoft’s monthly patch cycle. Version KB5037771 is now available to Windows 11 users, and it brings some notable developments like new Start menu features and a fix for a previously reported VPN-related issue. 

To get the new update, check your Windows Update app. Your system might have already downloaded the update and prepared it for installation, but if not, click on ‘Check for Updates.’ Note that this is a mandatory update that Microsoft would strongly urge you to install for security reasons, and it’s available for Windows 11 23H2 and 22H2 users.

Windows Update panel

(Image credit: TechRadar España)

One of the changes that update KB5037771 delivers is adverts embedded in the Start menu, as previously witnessed in preview builds (including last month’s optional update for Windows 11). The ads are presented as recommendations, highlighting certain apps from the Microsoft Store from a group of selected developers. 

Explaining the rationale behind this move, Microsoft says it’s intended to help users discover apps that they might find useful or entertaining that they may not be aware of. If you don’t find a particular ad (sorry, ‘recommendation’) helpful, Windows Latest observes that you can dismiss it by right-clicking on it. 

You can go further and block these ads for recommended third-party apps in your Start menu by going to the following location: 

 Settings > Personalization > Start

Here, you can switch off the toggle next to the ‘Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more’ option, and this will prevent these promotions or recommendations, or whatever you want to call them (adverts, ahem), from appearing.

Further note that in the Recommended section of the Start menu, Microsoft has also started showing apps that you use frequently but don’t have pinned in your Start menu or taskbar.

These changes to the Start menu are due to begin rolling out to users in the coming weeks, but some people might not be shown the ads depending on the region they’re in, Windows Latest reports – noting that those in Europe may not get the adverts (lucky them).

A close up of a person sitting at a table and typing on a computer (a laptop)

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff)

A long-awaited fix for some VPN users

The update also incorporates a fix for a problem that caused VPN connection failures, which were seemingly a side-effect of the April 2024 cumulative update. Some users reported issues with certain VPN connections, and Microsoft has since acknowledged the problems and added that they should be resolved after this new May 2024 update.

Other changes that KB5037771 brings include upgraded MSN cards on your lock screen and new widget animations.

It feels like a broken record at this point, writing about Microsoft pushing forward with this advertising strategy in Windows 11. Is there any chance the software giant will rethink this policy? It doesn’t seem likely, and if anything, I can see Microsoft continuing to integrate ads into more and more places in Windows 11.

Okay, so in this case, the adverts can be turned off, which is at least something – but I fear that Microsoft is going to continue in this direction, unless it starts getting a lot of negative feedback.


TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Apple might start developing its own AI chips – here’s what that means for Mac lovers

New leaks coming from Chinese social media have claimed that Apple is planning to start development of its own dedicated AI chips in the near future – but it’s not the hotly-anticipated M4 chip that I’m talking about here.

Although Apple has been making waves in the AI space recently with its upgraded Neural Engine (a dedicated neural processing unit for handling AI-related tasks on Apple devices) as seen in its powerful new M3 chip, this leak makes specific reference to server AI processors – in other words, chips to power datacenters that run cloud-based AI tools. Popular online chatbot ChatGPT, for example, runs the bulk of its operations in the cloud rather than directly on your device, which is why it requires an internet connection to use.

Apple looks to be hedging its bets when it comes to AI – investing both in cloud AI technology and on-device machine learning capabilities, with the M4 chip promising to bring the entire Mac range up to speed in today’s world of ‘AI PCs’. But what does this actually mean for consumers?

AI for the Apple guy

Well, the current rumor (which originates from well-known Apple leaker ‘Phone Chip Expert’ on the Chinese site Weibo) states that Apple is working with chipmaker TSMC to develop the AI chip on a new 3nm process, but that production isn’t likely to start until the latter half of 2025 at the earliest. Basically, we shouldn’t expect to see this making a huge impact straight away.

The upcoming range of new M4 Mac products likely won’t be affected by this decision, with Apple still aiming to remain competitive with Intel and Qualcomm’s AI PC efforts

However, Apple users of all sorts could stand to benefit from the company’s new interest in cloud-based AI – with its own powered-up servers for offloading AI workloads on iPhones, iPads, and Macs combined with more powerful on-device AI capabilities, Apple could be poised to become a market dominator offering best-in-class AI services to everyday users.


Apple’s on-device AI ventures actually started way back with the iPhone 8 in 2017, long before ChatGPT exploded in popularity. (Image credit: Future)

You might be surprised just how much AI there already is in your iPhone 15 or MacBook Air. Apple’s Neural Engine tech has been lurking in its phones since the A11 Bionic chip seen in the iPhone 8, powering staple iOS features such as Face ID and Animoji. As AI-powered software becomes more common – it’s already wormed its way deep into Adobe Photoshop, for example – the need for competitive hardware in both consumer devices and data centers is on the rise.

As always with leaks such as this, it’s wise to take it with a pinch of salt – while Phone Chip Expert is a relatively reputable leaker, that doesn’t instantly guarantee that this information is legit. 

Still, I reckon it’s at least somewhat accurate; while a development like this will no doubt cause further struggles for TSMC’s already-burdened manufacturing and supply lines, the fact is that local on-chip AI isn’t yet powerful enough to properly handle high-level large language models – so investing in its own AI servers is the perfect way to deliver the best possible AI experience to users.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Bad news, Windows 11 users: ads are coming to the Start menu, but there’s something you can do about it

Microsoft seems intent on pushing its luck with its users, as it’s just released an optional Windows 11 update (KB5036980) which adds yet more adverts to the Start Menu – a move that hasn’t gone down at all well with many people.

The update is available for users running Windows 11 version 23H2 and 22H2 in Windows Update, and it’s also available to download directly from its Update Catalog.

If you’d like to install the update using Windows Update, follow these steps:

1. Go to Settings > Windows Update.

2. Click ‘Check for updates.’

3. After your system detects the availability of the update, click ‘Download & Install.’

The patch should appear with the full name “2024-04 Cumulative Update for Windows 11 Version 23H2 for x64-based Systems (KB5036980).”

For the moment, this is an optional update that will advance Windows 11 23H2 to Build 22631.3527 and Windows 11 22H2 to Build 22621.3527. This release is the last patch in Microsoft’s April 2024 update cycle, and if you forgo the optional update, you will get what’s included in a mandatory update on May 2024’ ‘Patch Tuesday’ – a monthly event where Microsoft releases a variety of software updates for its products.

A man looking thoughtfully at a computer in an office

(Image credit: Shutterstock/dotshock)

The most talked about part of the update

This optional update has already proved controversial because it brings ads to the Start Menu – seemingly for all users. Windows Latest writes that Windows 11 users can expect adverts to begin appearing  at the tail end of May. 

A screenshot of the optional update shared by Windows Latest shows the Start Menu featuring a new ad for a third-party app, the Opera browser, neatly tucked in the Recommended section. There’s a little disclaimer underneath that says “Promoted” and an Opera tagline, “Browse safely.” Apparently, a similar ad for another service, Password1 Manager, was also spotted.

You might already be feeling uneasy about this, but there is some reassuring news. If you dislike seeing the ads, you can turn them off by doing the following: 

1. Go to Settings > Personalization > Start.

2. Turn off “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more” by switching the toggle off. “

Microsoft logo outside building

(Image credit: gguy / Shutterstock)

Questioning Microsoft's strategy

This optional update also adds app recommendations to the Start menu, and this section will include ‘promoted’ apps that are essentially more adverts. This ‘Recommended’ section is supposed to show the best apps from the Microsoft Store that might enhance users’ experience. 

The optional update will also include a new taskbar widget icon that will no longer appear pixelated and more options for lock screen management, giving users greater control over lock screen widgets in particular.

I’m not too fond of this move from Microsoft, but I guess it’s not as egregious as it could be. That’s not me trying to encourage Microsoft to push its luck further, and I think this move could already cause a lot of bad will with users, but at least you can turn it off.

Microsoft is also testing putting Xbox Game Pass ads in the Settings app, and some observers have called the approach billboard-like. Features like the Start menu and the Settings app are key parts of Windows 11, and having to see ads in important places like that can feel intrusive and disruptive. I personally hope Microsoft considers reversing its decision on this, as I don’t like that Windows 11 is becoming just one more aspect of my life where I can’t escape advertisements – and I’m sure I’m not alone. 


TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft could make a big change to part of the Windows 11 Start menu – one you might love or hate

Microsoft could be reworking a major part of the Start menu in Windows 11, or at least there are changes hidden in testing right now which suggest this.

As flagged up by a regular contributor of Windows leaks, PhantomOfEarth on X (formerly Twitter), the Start menu could end up with a very different layout for the ‘All apps’ panel.

See more

Currently, this presents a list of all the applications installed on your system in alphabetical order, but if this change comes to fruition, the panel will be switched to a grid-style layout (as shown in the above tweet) rather than a long list.

Note that this move is not visible in preview testing yet, and the leaker had to dig around in Windows 11 – a preview build in the Beta channel specifically – to find it (using ViVeTool, a configuration utility).

Analysis: 10X better?

What this means is that you’ll be able to see a lot more of the installed software in the ‘All apps’ panel at one time, with a whole host of icons laid out in front of you in said grid, rather than having a list with a very limited number of icons in comparison.

On the flipside, this looks a bit busier and less streamlined, with the alphabetical list being neater. Also, some have noted the resemblance to Windows 10X with this hidden change (which might provoke unwelcome OS flashbacks for some).

As ever, some might lean towards the list of installed apps, or some may not, and prefer the new grid-based view instead – which leads us to our next point: why not offer a choice of either layout, based on the user’s preference? A simple toggle somewhere could do that trick.

We shall see what happens, but bear in mind that this grid layout concept might go precisely nowhere in the end. Microsoft could just be toying with the idea, and then abandon it down the line, before even taking it live in testing.

If we do see it go live in Windows 11 preview builds, odds are it’ll be incoming maybe with Windows 11 24H2 later this year – fingers crossed with that mentioned toggle.

Via Windows Latest

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 update applies a bunch of fixes for a Start menu glitch, video chat bug and more

Windows 11 just received a new update which comes with a whole load of bug fixes for versions 23H2 and 22H2, including the resolution of an issue affecting video chats, and a problem with the Start menu.

Patch KB5034204 just became available, but it’s worth noting upfront that this is a preview update, so it’s still in beta effectively.

As mentioned, one of the more important fixes here is the smoothing over of a bug relating to video calls – now this one has been squashed, these calls should be more reliable. (So if you were having problems with video chat stability in one way or another, hopefully that’ll no longer be the case after this update).

If you own a pair of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Audio earbuds, you may have experienced the sound dropping out when streaming music – that has also been resolved with KB5034204. Also, a problem with Bluetooth phone calls – where the audio fails to route through your PC, when you answer the call on the computer – has similarly been stamped out.

Another bug Microsoft has cured is search functionality failing to work on the Start menu.

Microsoft has also addressed a problem where troubleshooters fail – not very useful given that you only run a troubleshooter when you’re already trying to solve an issue with your Windows 11 system. That bug happens when using the Get Help app, we’re told.

There are a whole host of other fixes, too, including one for Gallery in File Explorer that means you can’t close a tooltip (a small flaw, but an annoying one). For the full list of fixes implemented, check out Microsoft’s support document.

Analysis: Take a chance – or not?

Should you download a preview update? This is a topic we’ve discussed before, and the short answer is probably not – unless you really need one of the fixes provided.

As mentioned, by its very nature, a preview update is not yet finished – that’s why these are marked as optional, and aren’t automatically piped through to your PC (you have to manually download them from Windows Update). In short, there’s more chance of things going wrong with a preview update.

However, if you’re one of the Windows 11 users who are experiencing a more aggravating issue, like video calls or your streaming music playback being ruined, then you might decide installing the update is likely worth the risk (which should be a limited risk, after all – these updates are nearly done at this stage).

That’s the other point to bear in mind, though – as they’re nearly done, you won’t have to wait long for the fully finished cumulative update to arrive next month. In this case, this preview will become the February update for Windows 11 released on February 13, so that’s only a few weeks away now.

Generally speaking, it’s probably worth holding out unless there’s something that’s really bugging you (pardon the pun) in Windows 11 right now, and it’s one of those listed fixes.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Time to start saving – the Apple Vision Pro looks set to launch very soon

It’s time for AR aficionados to start saving, if you haven’t been already, because Apple is getting everything ready to launch the Apple Vision Pro headset in February according to a new report. This follows rumors that it might be delayed until March.

Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg (article behind a paywall) that if things go according to plan, the first wave of consumer units will be ready to ship at the end of January, with a retail release planned for February – sticking to the “early” 2024 release window Apple gave during WWDC 2023 when the headset was unveiled.

It’s apparently not just the product that’s being prepared for an upcoming launch. The report adds that developers creating mixed reality software have recently been told to “get ready” for the Vision Pro, and in January at least two staff members from every US Apple Store branch are supposedly heading to its headquarters for training.

The training is to help them understand the complex Apple gadget. The headset has a lot of customizable components that need to be calibrated and boxed up in-store (online purchases supposedly won't be available) when someone buys one. If there are any problems with the process, potential buyers may walk out the door, or even take home and unbox a subpar experience – something completely unacceptable for a gadget that starts at $ 3,499 per headset (around £2,800 / AU$ 5,300).

But even if the Vision Pro does materialize on shelves in February 2024 you’re unlikely to actually get your hands on one.

A person views an image on a virtual screen while wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset.

Will the Vision Pro replace your TV? (Image credit: Apple)

A February launch for the lucky few

Not simply because the Apple mixed reality headset is priced out of most people’s budgets, but because Apple won’t have many available. 

According to rumors, Apple is only expected to produce 150,000 headsets in 2024. This lack of availability may be why the device will only be sold in the US at launch. And that 150,000 figure is for the whole of 2024; far fewer devices would be available on its release date – so even if you live in the US there’s a good chance you still won’t see one for a while.

The Meta Quest 3 on a notebook surrounded by pens and school supplies on a desk

The Meta Quest 3 is the main Vision Pro rival. (Image credit: Meta)

That is, unless the gadget is wildly unpopular.

While this seems almost impossible for an Apple product, a combination of price and novelty may put people off – even the company’s most rabid fans. What’s more, the headset is certainly the best VR headset ever made from a raw hardware perspective, but Apple has yet to show off software that puts these specs to use in ways that the far cheaper Meta Quest 3 can’t – even its iPhone 15 Pro’s spatial video can play on Quest hardware

It also has some frankly ridiculous problems such as a measly two-hour battery life and (according to some people who have tried it) an uncomfortable design. As I said above, with a $ 3,499 price tag there isn’t any wiggle room – it has to be perfect.

All that said, I’m fully expecting the Apple Vision Pro to be perpetually sold out. This will be Apple’s first new product line in a while, and even if it does wind up being an overpriced folly, Apple collectors will desperately want to get their hands on this piece of tech history.

So if you want to get your hands on one, be ready to book an appointment and head to your local Apple Store as soon as you can. Otherwise, you might have to wait for the Vison Pro's successor to get your hands on an Apple VR headset.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Check your Windows 11 Start menu for an HP app that’s mysteriously installing itself without permission

Windows 11 and Windows 10 users are reportedly experiencing a puzzling situation whereby an unwanted HP app is being installed on their systems without their knowledge.

Windows Latest flagged up this rather peculiar problem that affected the writer’s PC, as well as others according to reports.

The application in question is HP Smart, and we’re told it’s being errantly installed from the Microsoft Store. It’s an app which allows for controlling HP printers or MFDs (multifunction devices that also scan), and it’s being installed on non-HP PCs and also  those not connected to an HP printer, which is pretty mystifying.

It isn’t clear why this installation is happening, but there are reports of it occurring on Windows 11 23H2, 22H2, and Windows 10 (on Reddit and elsewhere, as well as from Windows Latest).

Windows Latest has been in touch with Microsoft about the problem, and the software giant said it was aware of these reports, and will be in touch soon to share further details on the matter.

Analysis: Not so smart move

This is an odd one, for sure, but it seems Microsoft has an investigation underway and we’ll get the results of that soon enough. Stay tuned.

If you’re curious about whether you’ve been affected, you can just jump into the Start menu and scroll down to the ‘H’ section of the app list to see if HP Smart is present. If so, the cure is simple enough – just right click on the entry for the app, and select uninstall. (The app may also be present under the ‘recently added’ section at the top of the menu).

Whether the app could end up being installed again after you remove it isn’t made clear. At any rate, we’d imagine Microsoft will have the solution to this one before long.

It should be noted that in the past there’ve been complaints of the HP Smart app being installed on PCs when people have, for example, taken their computer to a friend’s house and gone on a network that has an HP printer. In other words, Windows detects the presence of the HP printer and then automatically grabs the app. So perhaps what’s going on here is a false detection of HP hardware triggering the installation, but we’re just guessing here.

Really, there should never be a case where software is installed without the user’s knowledge, and there should always be a prompt to show what’s about to happen, and to check that it’s okay to go ahead with the installation.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft wants to make this unpopular Windows 11 Start menu feature slightly less hated

Microsoft is considering a change to Windows 11 that would declutter one part of the interface in the Start menu.

The tweak has only been applied in testing right now, in the recent build 23575 deployed to the Dev channel, and it pertains to the Recommended panel in the Start menu.

What Microsoft has done, as Windows Latest reports, is to introduce a grouping system for the recently added apps that appear in this Recommended section.

As it is, these apps show up as single entries, but in the new interface, they are all shoved into a ‘Recently added’ folder in the section, thereby decreasing clutter.

It’s certainly a useful touch to streamline this part of the Start menu, although note that the rollout of this to testers is a phased one, meaning only some of those in the Dev channel will see it to begin with.

Elsewhere in build 23575, Microsoft has fixed a bunch of bugs including crashes with File Explorer, problems with some PC games, and an issue where Copilot disappeared from the taskbar (an AWOL AI, if you will).

Analysis: More customization options please, Microsoft

Hopefully, we’ll see this move progress from Dev to Beta channels, and then eventually the release version of Windows 11, because it’s certainly a useful addition to the Recommended section. Eventually, it’s possible Microsoft may organize other parts of this panel using grouping in folders.

However, there are broader concerns about the Recommended section. In its article, Windows Latest also pointed out a post on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub called: “I would like to be able to turn off the Recommended section in the Start menu and have the whole area disappear in Windows 11.”

The idea of being able to ditch the feature entirely from the Start menu has now been upvoted nearly 10,000 times on the hub. Most folks would appreciate the ability to customize all parts of the Windows 11 UI further, wherever possible, and we’d agree wholly with that sentiment.

If Microsoft feels this is complicating things, any customization options could be hidden away somewhere, so only advanced users would bother to hunt them out.

We have aired concerns about the Recommended section for some time, particularly around flagging up websites as suggestions for Windows 11 users to visit – and where the lines may be drawn in terms of nudging and advertising. These suggestions are something that appears to be coming through for release, even though it’s an area Microsoft has experimented with in the past and then abandoned.

All in all, the Recommended panel is one of the bits of Windows 11’s interface we feel could definitely use some work, although at least the potential change coming in with this new preview build does make things better.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More