Computeractive 619

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
26 Issues

in this issue

1 min
from the editor

One of the biggest mistakes of my life, second only to leaving my iPhone within arm’s reach of my toddler son in the bath, was going to Harrods on the morning of its Boxing Day sale. It took 20 minutes to get out of the Tube, a further 30 minutes queuing outside, and two hours inside to realise I had no idea what I wanted to buy. That was over a decade ago. It didn’t put me off browsing the high street, but for sales I stick to the internet – and in particular to Black Friday, which has quickly grown into a pre-Christmas shopping bonanza. You’re less likely to get elbowed in the face by fellow shoppers, but there’s still the problem of knowing which items will be discounted, and whether…

2 min
microsoft lets more computers install windows 11

Microsoft is releasing Windows 11 to more computers after deciding that they are ready to run the new operating system. It’s using machine learning to check which computers have the specifications required to run the system smoothly. The company said on its ‘Release health’ page ( that the upgrade will be offered “to an expanded set of eligible devices”. To check if you can install Windows 11, open Settings (press Windows key+I), then ‘Update & Security’ followed by Windows Update, then select ‘Check for updates’. You may also see an upgrade message appear on your desktop (see screenshot above right), giving you the option to ‘Download and install’ Windows 11 1, or ‘Stay on Windows 10 for now’ 2. All PCs to get Windows 10 21H1 If you stay on Windows 10, your computer…

1 min
what we think

Windows 11 has so far been a successful release. The problems have been fixable glitches, not disasters forcing Microsoft back to square one. It makes sense then to roll out the system to more computers, particularly because Microsoft itself has explained how older machines without TPM 2.0 can run the system (see Issue 618, page 38). There are plenty of reasons why you may or may not want to upgrade, but one thing you don’t need to worry about is Windows 11 being too different to Windows 10 (see Star Letter, page 13).…

1 min
bring windows 10 start menu to windows 11

You can now bring the Windows 10 Start menu to Windows 11 by using Stardock’s Start11 program, which has been released fully following several preview versions. The tool – which costs £5.99 for one computer and £13.99 for five – lets you tweak the Start menu in “nearly every detail”, such as changing its colour, transparency and position. You can use it also to move the taskbar to the top of your screen (pictured). Stardock offers a free 30-day trial to see whether you like the changes it can make. To download the tool, visit then click the green ‘Get it Now’ button. You may also be able to upgrade to Start11 from Start8 or Start10 at a discounted price. To check your eligibility, visit the site, then scroll down to the…

1 min
sell your old phones to amazon in return for vouchers

You can now trade in old smartphones and games consoles on Amazon in return for vouchers to spend on the website. This is an expansion of the scheme that until now has let you trade in only Amazon products, such as Kindle, Echo smart speakers and Ring doorbells. You need an Amazon account to use the service, though you don’t need to pay for a Prime subscription. Visit Amazon’s Trade-In page (, pictured) to select the device you want to sell, then answer Amazon’s questions about its condition. Next, you’ll be given an estimated quote, plus an indication of how much more or less you could get as your final quote once Amazon has checked the device. Any breaks, dents, cracks, missing buttons or other defects beyond acceptable wear and tear will reduce…

1 min
ofcom approves more phone boosters inside your home

Getting a decent phone signal inside your house may soon be easier after Ofcom said it will change the regulations that govern repeaters. In 2018, the regulator approved the sale of indoor mobile repeaters, typically called ‘signal boosters’, as long as they met certain technical requirements so they don’t cause electrical interference. These devices work best when there is a good outdoor signal that can be boosted indoors. You’re allowed to install them without a licence. However, Ofcom’s rules are so strict that so far it has approved only Nextivity’s Cel-Fi repeaters (pictured). To address this, in early 2022 the regulator will “increase the range of devices you can buy and use legally”. This will cover two types of device: provider-specific repeaters and multi-operator repeaters. Both of these can amplify the frequencies of…