Microsoft’s greed is killing Windows 11 for me

Nothing in life really comes for free, and Windows 11 is a great example of that. While Microsoft’s latest operating system is offered as a free upgrade for many users (previous moves from older versions of Windows to newer ones would require you to pay for the privilege), behind the scenes, there are plenty of ways you end up ‘paying’ to use Windows 11.

This includes sharing increasing amounts of data with Microsoft – something that the company was forced to make clear during the setup process. Microsoft is also using Windows 11 to push you towards its own services. For example, you’re now asked to have a Microsoft account, which usually involves signing up for a Microsoft-owned email account. You’re also encouraged to use Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, rather than alternatives like Google Drive or iCloud.

And this is all before you even use Windows 11 for the first time. Once you actually boot into the operating system, things get worse. Microsoft’s Edge browser is installed by default, and while it’s come a long way since it first debuted in 2015 with Windows 10, many people (myself included) prefer to use other web browsers.

However, searching for and installing a different browser in Windows 11 using Edge results in numerous popups and messages from Microsoft pleading with you to give Edge a try. It’s annoying, and a little bit cringey, to be honest.

Still, you can at least ignore those, install your web browser of choice, and make it the default – which Microsoft has at least made easier to do after pressure from users.

While annoying, it was something I didn’t mind putting up with to use Windows 11, which is ‘free’, after all. However, Microsoft has been getting increasingly desperate – and even greedy – when it comes to trying to force its services on me, and it’s making me start to dislike the operating system.

Helping itself before it helps you

A particularly egregious example of this happened the other day. I’m one of those cool kids who still prefers to use a desktop PC, and I noticed that all of a sudden, my computer was losing internet access every 20 seconds or so.

Now, as a tech journalist, this led to me overthinking the problem. My PC is connected to my modem via an Ethernet cable and powerline adapters, so my first step was to restart and reconnect the adapters, which had caused a similar issue in the past.

When the problem persisted, I looked to disable then re-enable my network adapter in Windows 11. In previous versions of Windows, this was a pretty straightforward process, but Microsoft has now buried the option under several different settings screens – another annoying feature of Windows 11.

I then decided to try the built-in network troubleshooting tool. Again, in previous versions of Windows, this was easy to find, and as part of the troubleshooting process the operating system would disable then enable the network adapter, which has fixed similar issues in the past.

Using the Settings app, I found what I thought was something similar called ‘Troubleshooting network connection issues’. However, on clicking it, I discovered what was possibly the nadir of Microsoft’s greed when it comes to forcing its products and services on Windows 11 users.

Instead of launching the troubleshooting application like I’d hoped, Edge opened – despite not being my default web browser. This has been an annoyance of mine for a while now, as even if you set a different web browser as your default, Microsoft will regularly ignore that and use Edge instead.

Edge then loaded up Bing – Microsoft’s pretty much unloved search engine – and searched for ‘Troubleshooting network connection issues’, which brought up a Microsoft webpage.

Now, there’s a pretty glaring issue with forcing people to search the internet for solutions to their network connection issues, and that became apparent when I tried to click the link. Rather than showing the page, Edge told me I was offline, as it coincided with a time when my PC had lost connection.

Most people who are suffering from network connection issues cannot access the internet because of those very connection issues they are trying to fix, so making them have to go online to search for an answer is pretty ridiculous.

Because my network issues were intermittent, I was able to wait until my internet connection came back, then refresh the page to see what Microsoft suggested. If my network connection issues were severe enough to prevent me from connecting to the internet at all, I’d have never got to see the page.

As it turns out, that wouldn’t have been an issue, really, as the webpage was pretty useless, offering just vague suggestions that mainly centered around Wi-Fi connection problems – so nothing that applied to my situation.

In the end, I figured it out myself: I got down on my hands and knees and checked behind my PC. The Ethernet cable had been pulled out slightly. Pushing it back in solved the problem.

However, this little escapade didn’t just prove that I am an overthinking idiot, but also that it feels like Microsoft cares more about helping its services and products then it does its users. The only reason for getting people to go to a Bing search via Edge for network connection troubleshooting is to make people use those products. It doesn’t help fix any issue that the user may have with their network connection.

It left me feeling annoyed by Microsoft, and far less fond of Windows 11 and the general direction the operating system is going in. Microsoft’s desire to get more people to use its services is understandable, and in some ways is the price we pay to get Windows 11 for free, but the heavy-handed way it’s going about doing this smacks of greed and a disregard for its users’ needs.

This has got to change, otherwise even when free, Windows 11 will not be worth it.

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Microsoft’s greed is killing Windows 11 for me

Nothing in life really comes for free, and Windows 11 is a great example of that. While Microsoft’s latest operating system is offered as a free upgrade for many users (previous moves from older versions of Windows to newer ones would require you to pay for the privilege), behind the scenes, there are plenty of ways you end up ‘paying’ to use Windows 11.

This includes sharing increasing amounts of data with Microsoft – something that the company was forced to make clear during the setup process. Microsoft is also using Windows 11 to push you towards its own services. For example, you’re now asked to have a Microsoft account, which usually involves signing up for a Microsoft-owned email account. You’re also encouraged to use Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, rather than alternatives like Google Drive or iCloud.

And this is all before you even use Windows 11 for the first time. Once you actually boot into the operating system, things get worse. Microsoft’s Edge browser is installed by default, and while it’s come a long way since it first debuted in 2015 with Windows 10, many people (myself included) prefer to use other web browsers.

However, searching for and installing a different browser in Windows 11 using Edge results in numerous popups and messages from Microsoft pleading with you to give Edge a try. It’s annoying, and a little bit cringey, to be honest.

Still, you can at least ignore those, install your web browser of choice, and make it the default – which Microsoft has at least made easier to do after pressure from users.

While annoying, it was something I didn’t mind putting up with to use Windows 11, which is ‘free’, after all. However, Microsoft has been getting increasingly desperate – and even greedy – when it comes to trying to force its services on me, and it’s making me start to dislike the operating system.

Helping itself before it helps you

A particularly egregious example of this happened the other day. I’m one of those cool kids who still prefers to use a desktop PC, and I noticed that all of a sudden, my computer was losing internet access every 20 seconds or so.

Now, as a tech journalist, this led to me overthinking the problem. My PC is connected to my modem via an Ethernet cable and powerline adapters, so my first step was to restart and reconnect the adapters, which had caused a similar issue in the past.

When the problem persisted, I looked to disable then re-enable my network adapter in Windows 11. In previous versions of Windows, this was a pretty straightforward process, but Microsoft has now buried the option under several different settings screens – another annoying feature of Windows 11.

I then decided to try the built-in network troubleshooting tool. Again, in previous versions of Windows, this was easy to find, and as part of the troubleshooting process the operating system would disable then enable the network adapter, which has fixed similar issues in the past.

Using the Settings app, I found what I thought was something similar called ‘Troubleshooting network connection issues’. However, on clicking it, I discovered what was possibly the nadir of Microsoft’s greed when it comes to forcing its products and services on Windows 11 users.

Instead of launching the troubleshooting application like I’d hoped, Edge opened – despite not being my default web browser. This has been an annoyance of mine for a while now, as even if you set a different web browser as your default, Microsoft will regularly ignore that and use Edge instead.

Edge then loaded up Bing – Microsoft’s pretty much unloved search engine – and searched for ‘Troubleshooting network connection issues’, which brought up a Microsoft webpage.

Now, there’s a pretty glaring issue with forcing people to search the internet for solutions to their network connection issues, and that became apparent when I tried to click the link. Rather than showing the page, Edge told me I was offline, as it coincided with a time when my PC had lost connection.

Most people who are suffering from network connection issues cannot access the internet because of those very connection issues they are trying to fix, so making them have to go online to search for an answer is pretty ridiculous.

Because my network issues were intermittent, I was able to wait until my internet connection came back, then refresh the page to see what Microsoft suggested. If my network connection issues were severe enough to prevent me from connecting to the internet at all, I’d have never got to see the page.

As it turns out, that wouldn’t have been an issue, really, as the webpage was pretty useless, offering just vague suggestions that mainly centered around Wi-Fi connection problems – so nothing that applied to my situation.

In the end, I figured it out myself: I got down on my hands and knees and checked behind my PC. The Ethernet cable had been pulled out slightly. Pushing it back in solved the problem.

However, this little escapade didn’t just prove that I am an overthinking idiot, but also that it feels like Microsoft cares more about helping its services and products then it does its users. The only reason for getting people to go to a Bing search via Edge for network connection troubleshooting is to make people use those products. It doesn’t help fix any issue that the user may have with their network connection.

It left me feeling annoyed by Microsoft, and far less fond of Windows 11 and the general direction the operating system is going in. Microsoft’s desire to get more people to use its services is understandable, and in some ways is the price we pay to get Windows 11 for free, but the heavy-handed way it’s going about doing this smacks of greed and a disregard for its users’ needs.

This has got to change, otherwise even when free, Windows 11 will not be worth it.

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Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

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Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

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Warning: this fake Windows 11 upgrade is filled with malware

Security researchers have found a fake Windows 11 upgrade website that promises to offer a free Windows 11 install for PCs that don’t meet the minimum specifications, but actually installs data-stealing malware.

Windows 11 has some… interesting… requirements to run, and its most famous demand is for Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0 support. This has led to perfectly capable, and powerful, PCs and laptops being unable to upgrade to Windows 11, as they did not meet the minimum specifications.

Understandably, this annoyed people with relatively new hardware that couldn’t upgrade to the latest version of Windows, and many looked at ways of circumnavigating the TPM 2.0 requirement to install Windows 11 on their unsupported devices.

It’s these people that this new threat is targeting, as Bleeping Computer reports.

Looking legitimate

While the website’s address (URL) should be a red flag (we won't mention it here), as it’s clearly not a Microsoft website, the actual website itself does look like it’s an official Microsoft website, using logos and artwork that makes it difficult to tell it apart from a real Microsoft page.

However, as security researchers CloudSEK discovered by clicking the ‘Download now’ button, the website downloads an ISO file that contains malware.

This malware, called ‘Inno Stealer’, uses a part of the Windows installer to create temporary files on an infected PC. These create processes that run and place four additional files on your PC, some of which contain scripts that disable various security features, including in the Windows registry. They also tweak the built-in Windows Defender anti-virus, and remove other security products from Emisoft and ESET.

Other files then run commands at the highest system privileges, while yet another file is created in the C:\Users\AppData\Roaming\Windows11InstallationAssistant folder, and it’s this file that contains the data-stealing code, named Windows11InstallationAssistant.scr. This then takes information from web browsers, as well as cryptocurrency wallets, stored passwords and files from the PC itself. This stolen data is then sent to the malicious users who created the malware.

Pretty nasty stuff.


Analysis: Be careful what you wish for

Hacker

(Image credit: Pixabay)

The scale of the infection here, and what it’s able to steal from you, is very scary, but the good news is that it’s easy to avoid.

No matter how desperate you are to install Windows 11, you should only download ISO files from sources you are absolutely certain are legitimate. While the makers of this malware have put in a lot of work to make the website look legitimate (like many so-called ‘phishing’ attacks), there are some tell-tale signs, such as the aforementioned URL, which highlights that this is not a genuine Microsoft website.

If your PC is eligible for a Windows 11 upgrade, you’ll be alerted via Windows Update, a tool that’s built into Windows operating systems. This is the safest way to ensure you are downloading and installing a genuine copy of Windows 11.

If your PC isn’t eligible, due to not meeting the TPM 2.0 requirements, then there are some safer ways to install Windows 11 without TPM anyway. But we don’t really recommend any of them, especially as Microsoft is making it harder to run Windows 11 on unsupported systems, which could mean you miss out on important updates, security fixes and features in the future.

Above all, however, you should never attempt to download and install a Windows 11 ISO file from any website that isn’t run by Microsoft itself.

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Windows 11 updates are failing to install with this weird error

Windows 11 users are reporting some installation failures when trying to update the OS, with an uninformative error not throwing much light on the cause of the apparent problem – although it’s an issue that Microsoft is ‘closely monitoring’.

Windows Latest reports that an error code 0xc1900101 is being produced for some folks when trying to update, and the operating system then rolls back to the previous build with no further details on the cause of the issue being provided.

This is apparently happening mostly with preview builds of Windows 11, and other error codes have been witnessed as well, Windows Latest notes, but the aforementioned one is the most commonly seen and reported on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub.

One user posted to the Hub: “All my physical machines updated ok, but on a virtual machine running either Hyper-V, VMWare, or VirtualBox, it almost gets to the end of the update, and then rolls back. Worse, on VMWare and VirtualBox, the virtual machine software crashes at the end of the update.”

Another observed: “Mine has the same problem. The first time I update the pc to the latest build it showed an error about my graphics driver so it rolled back. I was suspecting that the windows update corrupted my graphic driver as after rolling back my graphics card was not working, it just works after I reinstall driver. I reinstall the update later and it was a success.”

Microsoft has confirmed that it knows about the error which it describes as a ‘generic’ failure and an area that the company is watching closely.

Microsoft advised one affected user: “Thanks for taking the time to report this – error code 0xc1900101 is a generic error displayed when an update fails and rolls back for some reason. This is an area we monitor closely and can have different root causes depending on which build you were attempting to upgrade to and your setup.”

No firm advice was given, then, as to how someone might get around this gremlin in the works, but Microsoft does say that users should try updating to the very latest preview build (if they were attempting to upgrade to a previous version, of course).


Analysis: Some possible workarounds, but the waiting game might be best

There are various theories about the cause of this – and similar – update failure errors, including suggestions of app compatibility or driver issues (as we saw above), or even low disk space. But as Microsoft mentions, this is a ‘generic’ error and one which could have a number of different causes.

If you encounter this problem, aside from making sure you are attempting to install the very latest build, there are a few things you can try. It certainly won’t hurt to ensure that you aren’t running low on drive space, and maybe run a disk clean (it’s a good idea to do this periodically anyway). Also, we’ve seen another user report that disabling their antivirus resolved the installation failure of a recent preview build, and there are some further suggestions of potential action to take in this thread from the Microsoft Tech Community.

What’s also worth noting here is that this error has been a problem in the past, for example with Windows 11 preview build 22504 (back in November 2021). At the time, Microsoft’s advice was that users “may want to pause updates until we release a fix”, although in the past Microsoft has also said that those encountering this error code with Windows 10 should try to install the update again after a clean boot (find instructions here – and interestingly as observed above, another potential mitigation mentioned is to disable your antivirus temporarily).

In short, while you may get some joy from the potential solutions floated in the links above, your best bet might be to simply wait for the issue to resolve itself, providing you don’t have an urgent need to get the update in question up and running.

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Windows 11 updates are failing to install with this weird error

Windows 11 users are reporting some installation failures when trying to update the OS, with an uninformative error not throwing much light on the cause of the apparent problem – although it’s an issue that Microsoft is ‘closely monitoring’.

Windows Latest reports that an error code 0xc1900101 is being produced for some folks when trying to update, and the operating system then rolls back to the previous build with no further details on the cause of the issue being provided.

This is apparently happening mostly with preview builds of Windows 11, and other error codes have been witnessed as well, Windows Latest notes, but the aforementioned one is the most commonly seen and reported on Microsoft’s Feedback Hub.

One user posted to the Hub: “All my physical machines updated ok, but on a virtual machine running either Hyper-V, VMWare, or VirtualBox, it almost gets to the end of the update, and then rolls back. Worse, on VMWare and VirtualBox, the virtual machine software crashes at the end of the update.”

Another observed: “Mine has the same problem. The first time I update the pc to the latest build it showed an error about my graphics driver so it rolled back. I was suspecting that the windows update corrupted my graphic driver as after rolling back my graphics card was not working, it just works after I reinstall driver. I reinstall the update later and it was a success.”

Microsoft has confirmed that it knows about the error which it describes as a ‘generic’ failure and an area that the company is watching closely.

Microsoft advised one affected user: “Thanks for taking the time to report this – error code 0xc1900101 is a generic error displayed when an update fails and rolls back for some reason. This is an area we monitor closely and can have different root causes depending on which build you were attempting to upgrade to and your setup.”

No firm advice was given, then, as to how someone might get around this gremlin in the works, but Microsoft does say that users should try updating to the very latest preview build (if they were attempting to upgrade to a previous version, of course).


Analysis: Some possible workarounds, but the waiting game might be best

There are various theories about the cause of this – and similar – update failure errors, including suggestions of app compatibility or driver issues (as we saw above), or even low disk space. But as Microsoft mentions, this is a ‘generic’ error and one which could have a number of different causes.

If you encounter this problem, aside from making sure you are attempting to install the very latest build, there are a few things you can try. It certainly won’t hurt to ensure that you aren’t running low on drive space, and maybe run a disk clean (it’s a good idea to do this periodically anyway). Also, we’ve seen another user report that disabling their antivirus resolved the installation failure of a recent preview build, and there are some further suggestions of potential action to take in this thread from the Microsoft Tech Community.

What’s also worth noting here is that this error has been a problem in the past, for example with Windows 11 preview build 22504 (back in November 2021). At the time, Microsoft’s advice was that users “may want to pause updates until we release a fix”, although in the past Microsoft has also said that those encountering this error code with Windows 10 should try to install the update again after a clean boot (find instructions here – and interestingly as observed above, another potential mitigation mentioned is to disable your antivirus temporarily).

In short, while you may get some joy from the potential solutions floated in the links above, your best bet might be to simply wait for the issue to resolve itself, providing you don’t have an urgent need to get the update in question up and running.

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Microsoft could soon improve this divisive Windows 11 feature

Windows 11 looks like it might soon support third-party widgets, as another clue that they could be imminent has popped up courtesy of an eagle-eyed Twitter user.

FireCube did some digging and spotted that the widget manifest has been updated to reference downloading widgets – tiny apps that provide at-a-glance info, such as the current weather, or local traffic – from the Microsoft Store.

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The text informing users that they can “download new widgets and widget updates in Microsoft Store” is another piece of evidence that the eventual plan is to let developers put their third-party widgets in the Store, and allow Windows 11 users to download whatever they want.

The widgets panel would then be more useful, of course, with a bigger range of options and plenty more scope for customization, compared to the current situation where people can only use Microsoft’s own widgets in the panel.

As Windows Central, which spotted this, points out, its own Zac Bowden – a prolific source of Microsoft leaks – has previously said that the widget panel is expected to be getting third-party efforts, plus new features, and indeed that developers have already been briefed as to how third-party widgets will function. Previous leaks have pointed to third-party widgets being inbound, too.


Analysis: Expanding the widget panel in more ways than one

Bowden made those comments in December 2021, four months ago now, and with this latest spotting of a nugget of evidence that Microsoft is preparing to implement third-party widgets, it seems a firm enough possibility that they will debut at some point in 2022.

Would that be with the big H2 2022 (Sun Valley 2) update? Maybe, but given that Microsoft has been adding stuff to Windows 11 as and when it likes so far this year – witness the recent arrival of some big interface changes outside of major feature updates – then maybe this clue turning up now is a sign we could be installing third-party widgets in the OS sooner rather than later.

As for the other plans Microsoft has for the widget panel, at its recent Windows 11 reveal, we did catch a glimpse of a full-screen panel; so that could be in the pipeline too (and it’d provide more screen real-estate to populate with third-party widgets).

The widget panel is, of course, a divisive feature, and some folks really don’t appreciate it, viewing it as a rather pointless element of the UI. Its usefulness is certainly limited in its current form, being restricted to Microsoft services (like OneDrive, for example, and the likes of MSN weather).

Opening up the ability to add a huge range of new widgets from all over the shop would certainly help to make the panel a more compelling feature for Windows 11, and markedly improve the perception of this part of the interface.

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Windows 11 could get this popular macOS feature

Windows 11 would appear to be bringing in a popular feature from macOS, or at least a rough equivalent to Apple’s Quick Look capability is reportedly in testing at Microsoft.

Windows Latest claims that the feature is being considered for inclusion in Windows 11 – and Windows 10 for that matter – via the PowerToys suite of tools, and it’ll supposedly be called ‘Peek’.

Like the Mac’s Quick Look, the idea is that you can highlight a file – say an image – and tap a key to see a preview of that pic pop up on the desktop (then you can tap the key again to dismiss that preview). As the name makes clear, it’s a way of quickly peeking at a preview of the file in question.

Windows Latest reckons that this feature was experimented with during a hack week at Microsoft, and was well-received, so the functionality has been drafted into internal builds of PowerToys at this stage.

Whether or not it’ll make the cut and actually get released – and how much truth there is to this report, which remains speculation, of course – we’ll just have to see.


Analysis: You can already do this in Windows (sort of) 

It’s certainly true that this is a feature that a good number of Windows users have been longing for in the past. Indeed, there’s already an app for Windows 10 called ‘QuickLook’ (ahem) which can be grabbed from the Microsoft Store, and enables swiftly previewing files (or at least some files – ‘tons’ of formats are supported, the developer claims) by tapping the spacebar.

Having an official solution, rather than a third-party app, would of course be a much more preferable situation and a generally neater state of affairs.

The power of Peek or Quick Look is to be able to quickly glance at an image to, say, check if it’s the right one you want to upload somewhere, rather than having to fully open the photo and wait for an app to fire up. It’s a highly convenient way of working for certain situations.

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Windows 11 looks like a flop with gamers compared to Windows 10

Windows 11 is not proving all that popular with gamers if you go by the stats pulled from the most recent Steam hardware survey.

Obviously, this is just a limited snapshot of the gaming community who use Valve’s platform, but Steam is a major presence in the gaming world, of course, and the survey for March shows a rather paltry uptick of 1.25% compared to the previous month.

In February, Windows 11 adoption among Steam gamers was 15.59%, so it has now risen to 16.84%. It seems like a real slowdown is setting in when it comes to the number of Windows gamers who are making the transition to Microsoft’s latest desktop OS, as we can see looking back to January of this year, and December 2021.

In January, Windows 11 gamers stood at 13.56%, and that was up 3.41% compared to the previous month – a major gain. But since then, we’ve seen more modest increases of 2.03%, now slowing to 1.25%.

Windows 10 still holds a 74.69% share of Steam gamers, with Windows 7 on 4.14%, and away from Microsoft, macOS has a 2.43% adoption, while Linux slipped just a touch to bang-on 1%.


Analysis: Slow burn adoption could well pick up in the future, though

While we have to take Steam’s figures with a pinch of salt as mentioned – or any such individual report like this, which obviously has a limited capability to inform on the entire PC market – Microsoft is likely going to be disappointed with these most recent figures.

Mainly because as mentioned, when 2022 kicked off, it looked like Windows 11 was starting to gain some serious momentum with gamers, but those larger strides forward appear to have morphed into smaller steps.

Most worryingly, the overall progress of Windows 11 adoption for gamers remains way, way behind what we witnessed for Windows 10. As PC Gamer, which highlighted the release of the latest Steam survey, points out, seven months after release – which is where we are with Windows 11 now – Windows 10 hit a tally of 36.97% of Steam PCs. So that’s more than double Windows 11’s current 16.84% market share on Steam.

Let’s be frank – that’s not really a great advert for how adeptly Windows 11 is managing to tempt the gaming fraternity. That said, with Windows 11 being less of a major upgrade – and more of a case of building on and refining Windows 10 – it’s not too surprising that more folks are taking a wait-and-see approach.

As far as gamers go, there’ll certainly be some seriously compelling reasons to consider a switch eventually, when gaming-focused tech like DirectStorage is supported by more games in the future. (While DirectStorage will be available for Windows 10 users as well, it’ll have much more impact thanks to the storage optimizations found in Windows 11 – and the tech will be about much more than just speeding up load times, too).

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