Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 508

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

Whatever you’ll be doing on 16 August 2022 – swimming with sharks, power-walking through the Alps or creosoting the garden fence – I hope you’ll still be using the same computer that you are now. Adverts may say otherwise, but you don’t always need the latest tech. Sometimes what you’ve got is good enough. The tricky bit is making your devices last longer than tech companies want. They’d much rather you go thousands overdrawn splashing out on everything shiny and new. I suspect they won’t like our Cover Feature in which we show you how to add five more years (and counting) to your PC’s life. Perhaps I should send a copy of this issue to Microsoft. Many readers have emailed me angered by the company’s decision to end Windows 10 support…

2 min.
sites to remove your data under tough new uk laws

You’ll soon be able to ask Google, Facebook and other websites to erase your personal data under new laws. The proposals, part of the new Data Protection Bill, will also ban pre-ticked boxes that grant websites legal permission to gather your personal information – and sometimes sell it to other companies. This should make it much easier for you to know when websites are asking for your data, and for what purpose. Furthermore, when websites want to use your personal data, they will have to obtain your “explicit” consent. It will be much more straightforward (and free) to ask websites to reveal what information they hold on you. The definition of personal data will be extended to include IP addresses, DNA and cookies. The Government said these new rules are urgently needed because…

1 min.
next w10 update to cause less hassle

You should suffer less disruption when installing the Fall Creators Update after Microsoft changed the way major updates are downloaded. It means you’ll be able to use your PC for longer as the update, due in October, is installed. All updates are installed during ‘online’ and ‘offline’ phases. During the former, you continue to use your computer while parts of the update process happen in the background. These include checking to see if an update is available, downloading it, then waiting to reboot your PC. More troublesome are the offline periods, during which the full update screen shows on your computer, leaving you unable to use it. To ease frustration, Microsoft has moved some update processes from offline to online, such as backing up your content and adding new Windows files. However, the change…

1 min.
mps demand refund for customers who suffer slow broadband

Broadband customers should receive compensation if they don’t get the speed they pay for, a group of MPs have said. The British Infrastructure Group (BIG), led by Conservative MP Grant Shapps, has called on regulator Ofcom to extend its proposals for compensation, which cover slow repairs and missed appointments, but not poor speeds. This is “unacceptable” BIG said in its new Broadbad 2.0 report (www.snipca.com/25140). BIG recommends that Ofcom considers applying the same rules to broadband companies that Ofwat does to water companies under its Guaranteed Standards Scheme. This forces water companies to automatically compensate customers when things go wrong with their service, such as low water pressure. Major internet service providers (ISPs), including BT, Sky and Virgin Media, have signed up to Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice, which allows customers to cancel…

1 min.
cut your bills with web-controlled fridges

You could soon save money on your electricity bills by letting power companies turn your appliances off and on via the internet, as part of a major shake-up of how electricity is delivered to the public. The Government hopes the measure will help power firms cope with periods of high demand on the national grid. By signing up to cheaper ‘time of day tariffs’, residents would, for example, agree that their fridge-freezers can be switched off for a few minutes at peak times, or their washing machines be turned on to maximise use of cheap solar power during sunny periods. To take part customers must have a smart meter installed to transmit usage data to the power company. As part of the plans, energy regulator Ofgem is to allow tech companies like Google and…

2 min.
in brief

NEW SITE SHOWS VEHICLE CRIME A new website shows you how many vehicle crimes took place in a particular area, helping you to choose somewhere safe to park your car. Park Smart (www.snipca.com/25116), from Co-op Insurance, displays crime statistics from between November 2016 and April 2017. Just type your postcode into the box to see a map of crime hotspots. It covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not Scotland. AUTO-PLAY VIDEOS COMING TO GOOGLE Google has added one of the most loathed elements of the modern internet to its search results – videos that play automatically. Some searches for films and TV shows now play videos in the right-hand sidebar of the results page. Several other popular sites, including Facebook and Twitter, have been criticised for showing auto-play videos. Google said it…