Tech & Gaming

Computeractive 554

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

Sometimes you just have to admit defeat. I’ve got a prehistoric Windows XP that’s been gathering dust faster than a thousand Dysons. I’ve been determined to re-use it in some way, but when it stubbornly refused to turn on a few weeks back I said a little prayer and placed it on the recycle pile. It’s a rare setback. I’ve found so many uses for old devices that it feels like I’m running a charity for ageing tech that’s not yet ready for retirement. There’s a Windows 7 laptop that’s enjoying a second life as a monitor; a router that’s whizzing my Wi-Fi into unmapped corners of the loft conversion; and a printer that I set aside for printing everything other than paper. Those are lots of old dogs that I’ve taught new…

2 min.
farewell, passwords? sign in online with your face

It will soon become much easier to sign into your web accounts without passwords, after Windows 10 received the backing of the security group that sets standards for biometrics like fingerprints and facial recognition, as well as security keys like YubiKey. The FIDO Alliance, whose aim is to “help reduce the world’s reliance on passwords”, named Windows 10 Hello – Microsoft’s biometric tool – a “Certified authenticator” of its latest standard FIDO2. It applies to the May Update of Windows 10 (version 1903), due in late May. Microsoft says the FIDO2 approval means you’ll be able to use Hello to sign into Outlook.com, Office 365, Skype, OneDrive, Cortana, Edge, Microsoft Store and Bing. It also means software developers will be able to build tools, such as browser extensions, that let you use Hello…

1 min.
faster searching in file explorer

Microsoft is planning a major revamp of File Explorer to show you suggested files as you type, making it quicker to find what you’re looking for. You’ll be able to open a file by clicking it within the suggestions box, or open the file location by right-clicking. Also, when you click the search box in File Explorer (or press CTRL+E), you’ll see your search history in a dropdown menu. It will make File Explorer work in a similar method to the search box next to the Start button, which already suggests results as you type. The results will include files you’ve stored online in OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud-storage service. In an example given online (www.snipca.com/31589), Microsoft showed how typing microsoft pre suggests PDFs of several Microsoft Press ebooks (see screenshot). The tool has arrived too…

1 min.
uk’s average broadband speed breaks 50mbps barrier

Average broadband speed in the UK has broken through 50Mbps for the first time, according to Of com’s latest annual Home Broadband Performance report (www.snipca.com/31552). However, the gap between speeds in urban and rural areas remains significant. The regulator said the average speed rose from 46.2 to 54.2Mbps, a rise of 20 per cent, based on tests last November using specially modified routers in nearly 5,000 homes across the country. That’s a threefold rise in just five years (see box below). Virgin’s Vivid 350 cable package provided the fastest peak-time (8-10pm) download speeds with 360Mbps, followed by BT (300Mbps). Upload speeds also increased, rising from 6.2 to 7.2Mbps, letting people share content online faster than before. Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband, where cables run all the way from the local exchange to the home,…

1 min.
listen to podcasts in google search results

You’ll soon be able to listen to podcasts directly from within Google search results, or save them to listen to later. Google is indexing podcasts in its search database, which means you’ll be able to search for episodes based on their content, not just their titles. It was one of several new search tools announced by Google at its I/O developers conference in early May in California. The company also confirmed that search results will include more details about news stories, using the ‘Full Coverage’ tool that Google added to its News section last year. This will show you how the story is being reported by different sources, as well as videos related to it and a timeline of how the story has developed. You’ll also see any podcasts covering the story. As an example,…

2 min.
in brief

FIREFOX UPDATED TO FIX ADD-ON PROBLEM Mozilla has released an update for Firefox (version 66.0.4) to partially fix a problem that prevented add-ons from working or being installed. Writing online (www.snipca.com/31538), it said it was trying to fix further problems with the browser. Firefox will update automatically, unless you’ve disabled this option. Check your version by clicking the menu (three horizontal lines), the question mark at the bottom, then About Firefox. NEW LAWS TO MAKE ‘SMART’ DEVICES SAFER The Government is proposing new laws to make web-connected devices around the home more secure. Fears have grown that these gadgets, often called the ‘Internet of Things’, don’t have the same level of security as computers and phones. Manufacturers would have to make sure devices come with unique passwords, and state for how long security…