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Computeractive

Computeractive 603

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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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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Dennis Publishing UK
Frequency:
Biweekly
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26 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
from the editor

I knew I was going to enjoy editing this issue’s Cover Feature when I saw that the first tip explained how to turn off Aero Shake in Windows. I’m a fidgety mouse user, all fiddly fingers and twitchy thumbs, so I know how easy it is to trigger this spectacularly pointless tool, and its sibling Aero Snap. The only Aeros I like are the chocolate kind (peppermint, preferably). The feature reveals the best tools in Winaero Tweaker, which despite its name covers more than Aero and makes changes that feel deeper than tweaks. An alternative name could be Registry Avoider, because it lets you improve Windows without having to leave its interface. My next favourite tip is making scrollbars thicker, so I can aim my arrow cursor with more precision, unlike my…

1 min.
microsoft disables edge tool that actually breaks edge

Microsoft has temporarily disabled a tool designed to make Edge load more quickly after admitting it was causing “frustrating” problems with the browser. The ‘Startup boost’ feature, released in January as part of version 88 of Edge, keeps the browser running in the background with “minimal processes”, so that it can launch faster when you open it from the taskbar, desktop, or from links in other programs. Microsoft claims that tests show the tool can improve startup times by 29 to 41 per cent. But the company has now turned off ‘Startup boost’ while it fixes a problem that repeatedly relaunches Edge immediately after you close it, and shows you a message about reopening tabs. Microsoft acknowledged the problem on its ‘Startup Boost FAQ’ page (www.snipca.com/37724), and said it would update the page…

1 min.
new icons for file explorer revealed

New-look icons are coming to File Explorer, Microsoft has confirmed. It has released a preview build of Windows 10 showing new designs for several icons, including the recycle bin, documents folders (pictured right), and disk drives. In a blog post (www.snipca.com/37726), Microsoft said that the changes bring “greater consistency” across its tools, making it easier to “tell them apart at a glance”. It has been updating Windows icons since last year, having already released previews of new designs for Windows Security (www.snipca.com/37727), Narrator (www.snipca.com/37728) and Notepad (www.snipca.com/37729). The new designs appear in Build 21343, available now to users signed up to the Windows Insider Programme. However, Microsoft may still tweak the icons before releasing them fully, possibly as part of the major redesign of Windows 10 expected in the autumn. You’ll like this… The…

1 min.
sales of pc monitors break records in 2020

Worldwide growth in sales of PC monitors broke new records in 2020, as people bought new models to use at home during the lockdowns. Analyst firm IDC found that sales rose by 8.3 per cent compared with 2019, the biggest rise ever recorded. The final quarter of the year (October to December) saw a particularly big jump of 16.9 per cent, with 39.2 million monitors sold–the highest numbers since 2011. IDC also said that shortage in components led manufacturers to beat price rises by building stocks of monitors, meaning there were plenty of models available for sale. Dell led the way with 19.3 per cent of sales, followed by Chinese company TPV, HP and Lenovo. However, it was Samsung who enjoyed the biggest growth, with sales rising by 30.6 per cent, taking it…

1 min.
add real-time captions to videos in chrome

Chrome now adds real-time captions to videos as they’re being played online, though the feature is turned off by default. To activate it, click the three vertical dots top right, followed by Settings. Next, click the Advanced menu on the left, then Accessibility. Now click the slider next to Live Caption so it turns blue (see screenshot 1). Chrome will now download ‘speech recognition’ files, which takes just over a minute. Once it’s turned on, you’ll see captions in a small box at the bottom of the browser 2. You can reposition the box by clicking and moving it. Captions, which appear only in English for now, will continue to appear should you turn the volume down or mute it, letting you ‘read’ videos or podcasts without irritating others near you. Previously Chrome…

1 min.
in brief

CHEAP VODAFONE DEALS FOR ‘DISADVANTAGED’ Vodafone has launched discounted mobile-broadband packages to tackle “digital poverty” and help “disadvantaged people” access the internet. The ‘communities.connected’ deals are available to schools, colleges, universities, local authorities and charities, which will be able to offer them to people in need. Prices start from £15 a month for a SIM-only, unlimited data contract. Read more at www.snipca.com/37659. FREEVIEW PLAY ON ALL NEW LG TVs Freeview Play will be available on all LG smart TV sets released in 2021, after being absent from last year’s models. The service, used by nine million people in the UK, offers 85 channels and nine on-demand players, including BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, ITV Hub and UKTV Play. There is no information yet about whether it will be added to TVs sold in 2020.…