Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 544

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

No, don’t worry - Microsoft hasn’t released a new version of Windows during Christmas, sneaking it out while the rest of us were falling asleep on the sofa weighed down by turkey and brussels sprouts. In fact, Microsoft says it will never release another brand new version. It wants Windows 10 to be a continuous “service”, improved by twice-yearly updates, not a one-off operating system. That’s fine in theory, but will the updates (when they work) ever provide the same performance leap as from, for example, Vista to 7? Probably not. For that kind of improvement, you need to invent your own Windows 11, adding the tools it currently lacks. Start by installing the software recommended by Will Stapley in our Cover Feature (page 50). As 2019 begins, I’d like to remind readers…

3 min.
think twice about checking for windows 10 updates

Microsoft has revealed that users who check for Windows 10 updates could unintentionally install preview versions of the operating system, which include features that are still being tested. Writing online (www.snipca.com/30144), Michael Fortin, Corporate Vice President of Windows, said that clicking the ‘Check for updates’ button (see screenshot) during the second half of a month installs tools yet to be added to the official version of Windows 10. He said that only “advanced users seeking updates” should click the option during this period. To see the button, open Settings, then click ‘Update & Security’, then Windows Update. His announcement came as a surprise to many because Windows doesn’t warn you that you’re installing preview features when you click the button. In his blog post Fortin clarified that Windows 10 receives three types of monthly…

1 min.
bt’s wi-fi kiosks made easier for partially sighted

BT has upgraded its Wi-Fi street kiosks to make them easier to use for people with hearing and sight problems, though has been forced to close some in London because they had been taken over by drug dealers. The company’s InLink kiosks (pictured), which are replacing over 1,000 payphones across the UK, provide free Wi-Fi at speeds up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). They also let you make free 30-second phone calls, charge your phone, and show local maps on a touchscreen. The kiosks now have BT’s next-generation text (NGT) service, which lets callers type the words they want to communicate. These are then spoken by a ‘relay assistant’ to the person receiving the call, whose responses are typed by the assistant and sent back to the caller. Users will be able to access NGT…

1 min.
isps should tell you best prices when contract ends, says ofcom

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has said broadband providers should be forced to tell customers what their best deals are when their initial contracts are coming to an end, as part of its push to make sure loyal customers don’t pay more than they need to. These notifications would include special discounts available only to new customers. Ofcom also said companies should email their deals to customers once a year, so they are regularly told about cheaper packages they could switch to. As well as broadband, the new rules would apply to mobile, landline phone and pay-TV contracts. These proposals strengthen Ofcom’s existing proposals to protect customers whose contract is coming to an end. It previously called for companies to email or write to customers between 40 to 70 days before their contract ends, stating…

2 min.
in brief

BT LAUNCHES ‘COMPLETE WI‒FI’ HUB ROUTER BT has launched its Smart Hub 2 router (pictured), which offers the company’s new Complete Wi-Fi service, a form of mesh Wi-Fi that boosts coverage around the home. However, it’s available only to BT Plus customers - the company’s joint fibrebroadband and 4G package (www.snipca.com/30118), which starts at £54.99 a month. To use Complete Wi-Fi you’ll need to pay an extra £5 a month. We’ll review it soon. 123456 STILL MOST COMMON PASSWORD For the sixth year in a row ‘123456’ is the world’s most common password, beating ‘password’ itself into second place. Software company SplashData has been publishing annual lists since 2011, when ‘password’ was the most popular. Its results come from analysing five million passwords leaked online. New entries include ‘princess’ and ‘111111’. See the…

1 min.
uk spies given permission to hack foreign phone networks

British spies have been given permission to hack foreign groups at will, without needing to gain specific warrants for each case. In a letter submitted to the House of Commons library, Security Minister Ben Wallace said GCHQ should be allowed to use equipment that hacks a wide range of targets, rather than only focus on individual devices. It means spies will be able to use “bulk equipment interference” to attack the communications networks in other countries. Intelligence groups say such sweeping powers are needed because encryption makes it almost impossible to infiltrate specific devices. Mr Wallace justified the decision by claiming that since the Investigatory Powers Act (known as the Snooper’s Charter by critics) was passed in 2016 the communications environment “has continued to evolve”, leading to new types of hardware and software needing…