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Computeractive 593

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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!

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United Kingdom
Dennis Publishing UK
26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

I’m writing this 20 minutes after Boris Johnson announced the second national lockdown. I don’t know how society will respond this time, but I suspect many will turn once again to TV-streaming services for entertainment. That’s what happened earlier this year, as millions of viewers ventured beyond the BBC and ITV for the first time. Around that time I received plenty of emails from readers bewildered by the range of TV sticks available. Some had Chromecasts but wanted to know whether Amazon Fire was better. Others wondered if they should wait for Apple TV. But most had never bought one and just wanted a simple buyer’s guide that explained the differences in language they understood. I vowed then to publish such a guide. What I hadn’t expected is that it would coincide…

2 min.
errors appear after windows stops auto-installing drivers

Microsoft has stopped automatically installing some drivers for Windows 10, meaning you’ll see ‘Driver Not Found’ (DNF) error messages until you install them yourself. The change, which was implemented on 5 November, affects computers running either the May 2020 (version 2004) or October 2020 (20H2) update. Previously, when you first plugged in a device that requires drivers – such as a keyboard, mouse or webcam – Windows scanned your computer to check whether it had a driver installed that worked with the device. This method is known as ‘plug and play’ (PnP) because it lets devices work as soon as you plug them in, without you having to manually look for updates. If Windows was unable to find a compatible driver, it would then check in Windows Update for new drivers available from the…

1 min.
windows 1903 users updated after support ends

Users running version 1903 (May 2019 Update) of Windows 10 will soon be automatically moved on to a more recent version. This process was expected to begin in the summer but was pushed back, probably because Microsoft wanted to avoid further disruption on top of the coronavirus pandemic. Microsoft will stop supporting version 1903 on 8 December, so most computers should be updated before then. This is in line with the company’s policy of supporting feature updates for 18 months. Which version of Windows 10 you’ll be updated to will depend on your computer’s specifications. Microsoft will check how smoothly your PC can run version 20H2 (October 2020 Update), or 2004 (May 2020 Update). If it thinks your computer isn’t ready, it will instead update to version 1909 (November 2019 Update). Microsoft…

2 min.
bt pledges ‘simple solution’ to make uso broadband cheaper

BT has said it’s working on a “simple solution” to make it easier for customers applying for the Universal Service Obligation (USO) to share costs among their neighbours to make installation of broadband more affordable. It follows criticism that BT is charging customers too much for installation. Digital Minister Matt Warman said some customers faced “eye-watering” costs, while Ofcom is investigating whether BT is giving quotes that are “higher than necessary”. Many customers have been charged tens of thousands of pounds, with some receiving quotes in six figures. The highest quote so far was £1.1m for installing broadband in Strathconon in the Scottish Highlands. The USO gives you the legal right to request broadband if you can’t get a “decent” broadband speed, which is defined by Ofcom as 10Mbps while downloading and 1Mbps…

1 min.
quarter of cyber-attacks on uk are covid related

More than a quarter of threats dealt with by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in the past 12 months were criminals or nation states trying to exploit the coronavirus pandemic. In one “despicable” attack in July it worked with allies to prevent Russian spies stealing details of research into a vaccine. The NCSC revealed the scale of these attacks in its annual report, covering the period from September 2019 to August 2020. There were 723 incidents of all kinds, nearly 10 per cent more than in the previous period. Almost 200 of these were related to the pandemic. The report said that protecting the NHS and health-related research has been a priority. It has scanned more than one million NHS IP addresses to look for vulnerabilities that hackers could target, and…

3 min.
in brief

REMOVE LARGE FILES FASTER IN WHATSAPP WhatsApp has added new options for removing photos and videos that are taking up too much space. It now groups files into those that are larger than 5MB or have been sent to other members many times. To see these options, open WhatsApp then tap Settings at the bottom right. Tap ‘Storage and Data’, then Manage Storage. SUBSCRIBE TO APPLE SERVICES FOR £14.95 Apple has launched a monthly subscription that lets you use up to six of its services. Called Apple One, it comes in three plans: Individual, Family and Premium. Individual (£14.95) offers Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50GB iCloud storage. Family (£19.95) lets five other people use these services and increases storage to 200GB. Premium (£29.95) adds Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+, and…