Computeractive 616

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 号


from the editor

Where does choosing whether to upgrade to a new operating system stand in the hierarchy of life’s great decisions? Lower than who to marry or where to live, naturally. But it feels higher – or at least more interesting – than which bank to save with, or energy company to switch to (assuming there are any left by the time you read this). I’ve always savoured the dilemma. Some decisions were easy – I didn’t ponder long before upgrading to Windows 7 and 10. Others took a while. Could Windows 8 really be that bad? Yes, I concluded, a few months after launch. Now it’s time to consider Windows 11. To me, it feels like a very strong maybe, rather than an instant yes. Please tell me if our Cover Feature…

log into microsoft accounts without a password

You can now sign into all your Microsoft accounts on a Windows 10 computer without typing a password. The company has extended this option to home users, having previously made it available only for businesses. It lets you access your accounts using ‘passwordless’ methods of verifying your identity. Microsoft's recommended option is to use its Authenticator app (logo pictured right), which either sends you an approval request to tap, or shows a one-time code (pictured far right) that you have to type into your account. You can also sign in using Windows Hello, which recognises your face and fingerprint, a USB security key, or a two-factor authentication (2FA) code emailed or texted to you. Microsoft says all these methods are much safer than using a password because they can’t be stolen or guessed,…

what we think

The tech industry has a history of pushing innovations that the public isn’t ready for, and we wonder whether passwordless log-ins will be next. Few of us relish the challenge of remembering passwords – juggling letters, numbers and upside-down pound signs – but 2FA infuriates many people. You often tell us that you resent having to reach for your phone when signing in. It’s such an annoyance that in our next issue (out Weds 20 October) we’ll explain ways to make it easier – or avoid it completely.…

tributes pour in for spectrum creator sir clive sinclair

The world of computing has mourned the death of Sir Clive Sinclair (pictured below right), whose range of ZX devices helped to popularise home computers in the 1980s. Sinclair, who died on 16 September aged 81 following a long battle with cancer, released the ZX80 in 1980 as the UK’s first mass-market home computer for under £100. This was followed by the ZX81, but it was the launch of the iconic ZX Spectrum in 1982 (pictured) that triggered a generation’s interest in coding and playing games. It was released in eight different models over the next five years, selling five million units. Together with the Commodore 64, the Spectrum helped to establish the UK’s world-leading games industry. However, his C5 electric vehicle was an expensive flop, and in 1986 he sold much of…

eu wants to force apple to adopt usb-c ports

Apple may be forced to add USB-C charging ports to iPhone and iPads after the European Commission (EC) proposed a new law to create a universal charging option for devices sold in the EU. The EC said the change would reduce waste by encouraging consumers to re-use existing chargers when buying a new phone, tablet, laptop, smart speaker, digital camera, games console or headphones. Research from the EC estimates that 11,000 tonnes of waste are generated every year by people throwing away unused cables. However, Apple criticised the move, saying it would “stifle innovation”. Currently Apple uses its own Lightning port on iPhones, though some iPads do have USB-C ports (listed at Having to adopt USB-C within the EU would in effect mean doing so worldwide, because Apple would be unlikely to keep making…

in brief

OPENREACH’S AIR WAND BREAKS NEW GROUND Openreach is using machinery known as the ‘Air Wand’ (pictured) that uses compressed air or high-pressure water to make holes in the ground for engineers to install telegraph poles. It’s being tested in Derry/Londonderry, as a way of speeding up the rollout of FTTP broadband. Watch Openreach’s video at APPLE INCREASES iPAD MINI SCREEN SIZE Apple has released a new version of the iPad mini, its smallest tablet, increasing the screen from 7.9in to 8.3in. It works with 5G for the first time, and comes in four colours: Purple, Pink, Space Gray and Starlight. It’s available to buy now from, with prices starting at £479 for 64GB. We’ll review it in our next issue.…