Computeractive 607

Computeractive is the UK’s best-selling computer magazine and your friendly guide to PCs, gadgets and the web! It includes regular news updates, project ideas, help and advice on popular reader queries, articles on anti-virus software, features on consumer rights, and a whole lot more to help you get the very best out of your computer. Get PC advice in plain English today – get Computeractive!

United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min
from the editor

We’re not meant to get excited about ports. The tech industry wants us to develop unhealthy obsessions with phones, smartwatches, gaming consoles and foldable doo-dahs, but I have a hunch that many of you are more interested in those mysterious holes dotted along the back and side of your computer. That said, up to USB-C, computer ports were asymmetrical beasts resembling grimacing mouths or eyes that refuse to blink. They were ugly and intimidating. But USB-C’s reversible design is a thing of beauty. It’s just dawned on me that I actually get pleasure from connecting it to my laptop. But, ahem, enough of my Freudian nonsense. Will Stapley is far more pragmatic in his excellent Cover Feature, explaining what every port is used for – splitting them into audio, video and data…

2 min
microsoft fixes high-pitched wail in new 21h1 update

Microsoft has fixed a problem with the new Windows 10 Feature update that was causing a high-pitched noise when running certain programs. The glitch was in the 21H1 Feature Update, which Microsoft released on 18 May. It also affected both Feature updates that were released in 2020, named 2004 and 20H2. Microsoft acknowledged the bug in its ‘Known Issues’ page (, saying it was affecting 5.1 surround-sound audio on computers. If you have an HDMI port, then you’ll be able to play 5.1 audio through speakers such as the Razer Leviathan (£165 from Amazon: Hello camera, goodbye roaming The 21H1 version of Windows 10 is one of the smallest Feature updates since the operating system was released in 2015. Its only significant new feature relates to Windows Hello, which is Microsoft’s biometric system…

1 min
what we think

Feature updates are normally more likely to produce deep rumbling groans than high-pitched beeps, so at least Microsoft is keeping us on our toes. Thankfully, it quickly fixed this bug, and in any case not too many people were affected. More significant is Microsoft’s confirmation that Windows 10X will never find its way on to your desktop. It’s the right decision. We don’t need a stripped-back version of Windows; we just need a system that’s easy to use and can be tweaked to individual tastes.…

1 min
google’s new ai tool will help identify skin conditions

Google plans to release a tool that tries to identify skin, spot and hair conditions based on photos of your body that you take with your phone’s camera. The ‘dermatology assist’ tool uses artificial intelligence to compare the image with photos on its database. Google said it can recognise 288 skin conditions, but added that it’s not a substitute for medical diagnosis and treatment. Google explained how it works in its blog ( When you take a photo 1, Google will analyse it and then show matching images 2 to help you identify what the condition might be. It will also provide information from skin experts and answers to commonly asked questions. The tool – due to go live later this year – took Google three years to build, and is based on…

1 min
increase your home phone signal with new boosters

You may soon be able to buy a wider range of devices to boost your phone signal indoors under new Ofcom proposals. In 2018 the regulator authorised the use of ‘indoor mobile repeaters’ – sometimes called ‘signal boosters’ – without a licence, provided they met specific technical requirements. Until then, it was illegal to use a repeater that wasn’t approved by a mobile firm because they can interfere with other networks used by people nearby. However, at the moment only the Cel-Fi products from US firm Nextivity ( meet Ofcom’s standards. Its Cel-Fi Prime model (pictured), which is designed for flats and small homes and works with EE and Three only, costs £580. The Cel-Fi Solo model, for larger homes, costs £1,249 and works with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. The regulator hopes that…

2 min
in brief

EBAY NOW PAYS INTO BANK ACCOUNTS EBay is now paying sellers directly into their bank account rather than PayPal, and taking fees at the point of sale rather than ina monthly invoice. The new system, which began on 31 May, charges sellers 12.8 per cent of the final value fee (including delivery), plus 30p per order. PayPal will no longer take a cut, leaving sellers fractionally better off. Buyers can still use PayPal to purchase items. 77 MORE AREAS TO DITCH COPPER PHONE Openreach has named the next 77 UK exchanges where it will replace the old copper-based analogue phone service with a VoIP network. Download a spreadsheet of locations by visiting, then look for places in column E marked ‘29-Apr-22’-which is when the copper service will be switched off. It brings…