Pipes Feed Preview: gHacks Technology News

  1. Fix Windows 10 can't be restored after you install an update

    2019-05-19 05:31:20 UTC

    Windows 10 administrators who install Windows 10 on a computer may receive a stop error when they attempt to restore the system after installing updates. Updates may be installed automatically or manually […]

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    Windows 10 administrators who install Windows 10 on a computer may receive a stop error when they attempt to restore the system after installing updates.

    Updates may be installed automatically or manually after Windows 10 is installed on a device. These updates bring the operating system to the newest version and they may patch security issues and introduce other improvements.

    Windows 10 users who run into issues after update installation may use System Restore to restore the system to an earlier version.

    Microsoft notes that it may happen that Windows 10 cannot be restored to an earlier version and that users receive the Stop error (0xc000021a) instead.

    Consider the following scenario:

    1. You install Windows 10 on a clean computer.
    2. You turn on system protection, and then create a system restore point that is named "R1."
    3. You install one or more Windows 10 updates.
    4. After the updates have finished installing, you restore the system to the "R1" restore point.

    In this scenario, the system is not restored to the "R1" restore point. Instead, the computer experiences a Stop error (0xc000021a). You restart the computer, but the system cannot return to the Windows desktop.

    The cause

    Windows stages the restoration of files that are in use during a system restore process. The information is saved to the Windows Registry and the restoration completes on the next start of the PC.

    In this particular situation, Windows 10 loads the current drivers before restoration and that leads to a driver mismatch and the stop error. The restoration process is stopped because of that.

    The fix

    windows 10 system restore fails

    Microsoft proposes two fixes for the issue: the first explains how systems may be recovered that failed to start while the second suggests an option to avoid the issue completely.

    If Windows 10 fails to start during recovery

    Administrators need to enter the Windows Recovery Environment to fix the issue. The environment should be loaded automatically after several failed restarts.

    1. Select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > More Recovery Options > Startup Settings > Restart Now.
    2. The list of startup options is displayed. Select Disable Driver signature enforcement (F7).
    3. Follow the instructions. Windows should be able to resume the system restore process and finalize it this time.

    To avoid the issue altogether

    Microsoft suggests that system restore is run using the Windows Recovery Environment and not through the Settings application.

    1. Use Windows-I to open the Settings application.
    2. Go to Update & Security > Recovery.
    3. Select Restart Now under Advanced Settings.
    4. When Windows restarts, select Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > System Restore.
    5. Follow the instructions to select a system restore point and restore the system.

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  2. Gmail tracks all your purchases, it is difficult to delete them and impossible to stop

    2019-05-18 05:49:31 UTC

    Google uses its email service Gmail to track purchases that customers of the company made, even on third-party websites like Amazon. Gmail scans emails for receipts and collects these automatically.  The purchases […]

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    Google uses its email service Gmail to track purchases that customers of the company made, even on third-party websites like Amazon.

    Gmail scans emails for receipts and collects these automatically.  The purchases are neatly listed on a hard to find Purchases page on Google's My Account portal.

    There you find the list of purchases that you made sorted chronologically. The listing goes back to 2015 in my case, and it includes application purchases, Google hardware purchases, and items that I bought on third-party sites like Amazon or the Lego store.

    google gmail purchases

    Some purchases are displayed with the correct title, others just with a number on the startpage. A click on any purchase may display detailed information such as the vendor, time and date, order IDs, items that you bought, or the delivery address.

    Some purchases come without detailed information, likely when Gmail had difficulties parsing the receipt.

    gmail remove purchases

    There is no easy way to delete information either. While you find a "remove purchase" option attached to any purchase listed on the website, activating that option reveals that you need to delete the emails to remove purchases. Apart from that, there is no option to clear all the data.

    Most Gmail users may not want to delete receipts that they received in emails. It is certainly possible to backup the emails and delete them then to get rid of the purchase listing that Google maintains, but it is not comfortable either as you'd have to delete each email manually to clear the listing. Also, and that is another issue, it won't block future purchases from being listed again.

    There appears to be no option to delete purchase information only but keep emails in Gmail.

    google delete email

    Google notes that the Gmail account owner is the only one who can see the orders on the page. The company told CNBC that it does not use any information found in emails to serve advertisement. Google stopped reading emails for advertisement purposes in 2017.

    A help page suggests that Google customers may see and delete the data at My Activity, but that does not appear to be the case. Even more problematic than that is that purchase information is still collected even if you disable any tracking feature on the My Activity website. Granted, Gmail is not even listed there under management options.

    Closing Words

    Gmail is a treasure trove for Google as email contains lots of personal information including who you communicate with and what you buy online. Since there is no way to block Google from parsing the information right now, you may want to consider using a different email account for important activity or switching to a new account entirely.

    Email providers such as ProtonMail, StartMail, or FastMail, all promise that they don't track you, don't show ads, or read your emails.

    If you need to stick with Gmail, you could download all emails regularly using Pop3 and delete them from the server afterward.

    Now You: Which is your preferred email provider?

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  3. Translate anything instantly in Firefox with Translate Man

    2019-05-17 12:35:45 UTC

    Translate Man is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that you may use to translate anything that is displayed on a webpage. While Mozilla has been working on integrating a translation […]

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    Translate Man is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that you may use to translate anything that is displayed on a webpage.

    While Mozilla has been working on integrating a translation service into the Firefox web browser, nothing has come out of that up until now. Extensions introduced support for Google Chrome's translate functionality in Firefox. One of the first, gTranslator for Firefox, replicated Google Chrome's translate feature but with the difference that users had to take manual action. The extension, as well as others such as Translate This, are no longer available.

    Mozilla started to work on a translation feature in 2014 and integrated some functionality in Nightly versions of Firefox. Mozilla revived the project in late 2018 after years of inactivity targeting Firefox 63 as the stable release for the translate feature. Firefox 63 came but the feature did not make it.

    Translate anything in Firefox

    firefox instant-translations translate man extension

    Translate Man is a translation extension for Firefox that you may use to translate anything on-the-fly. The extension works a bit different to how Chrome's translation feature works, but it uses the Google Translate API for its translations.

    It supports the translation of individual words, phrases, paragraphs and longer text structures. First thing you may want to do is click on the extension's icon in the Firefox address bar to make sure the desired output language is correct.

    You may use the extension in different ways afterwards:

    • Double-click on any word to translate it instantly. An option to have it pronounced is available as well.
    • Highlight any text to have it translated. Just use the mouse to select text and you get a translation in an overlay next to the selection.
    • Use the Ctrl-key modifier to translate text.
    • Translate on hover automatically. The option is disabled by default.
    • Enable automatic pronunciation of the selected text.

    firefox translations

    You may enable or disable any of these options individually. If you don't want translations when you highlight words, maybe because it is getting into the way of your copy operations, you can disable that option but keep the Ctrl-key modifier one available to use it whenever you need to translate something.

    Translations pop up nearly instantly on the screen when you use one of the available methods provided by Translate Man. It works really well  and there is little to criticize. An option to blacklist languages might be useful to some users but the extension does not get into the way of the user that much anyway.

    Closing Words

    Translate Man is a great browser add-on for the Firefox web browser. Firefox users who use translation services at times may find it useful the most, obviously.

    Now You: Do you use translate extensions?

     

     

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  4. Latest Windows 10 updates break access to some UK Government websites

    2019-05-17 08:42:50 UTC

    If you have installed the latest round of cumulative updates for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, you may have noticed that some official government sites in the UK are no longer accessible […]

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    If you have installed the latest round of cumulative updates for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, you may have noticed that some official government sites in the UK are no longer accessible in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.

    Microsoft released security updates for all supported versions of Windows 10 on Tuesday on the company's monthly Patch Day. On Thursday, Microsoft added a known issue to the update KB4494441  for Windows 10 version 1809 revealing that it may install twice on some user devices.

    edge ie issue windows gov.uk

    Today, another issue was added to the list of known issues; this time, for all updates for Windows 10 released on the May 2019 Patch Day.

    After installing the May 14, 2019 update, some gov.uk websites that don’t support HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) may not be accessible through Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge.

    The issue affects connectivity to some UK government websites (those ending in gov.uk). Microsoft notes that the issue affects sites that don't support HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security), and that the issue affects Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge only.

    One of the changes in the released updates added gov.uk to the HTTP Strict Transport Security Top Level Domains (HSTS TLD) for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.

    While that improves security when connecting to these sites, it breaks gov.uk sites that don't support HSTS.

    Microsoft notes that it is working on a resolution for the issue and plans to release an update quickly to resolve the issue in all supported versions of the operating system.

    Windows 10 users who run into the problem may want to use a different web browser to access these government sites in the meantime as the issue affects Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge only. If that is not possible and access to these sites is essential, it is only possible to uninstall the cumulative update to resolve the issue.

    Affected versions of Windows 10 and Windows Server:

    Closing Words

    The number of broken UK government sites is unknown but it is important enough for Microsoft to add it to the list of known issues. The latest issue highlights again that Microsoft's approach to testing and verifying updates needs to be improved.

    Did Microsoft generate a list of uk.gov websites and test connectivity to those in IE and Edge?

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  5. Going forward, Multi-process can't be turned off anymore in Firefox

    2019-05-17 04:54:28 UTC

    Mozilla plans to remove configuration options in upcoming versions of the Firefox web browser that allow users to disable the browser's multi-process architecture. Mozilla introduced the multi-process architecture in the Firefox web […]

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    Mozilla plans to remove configuration options in upcoming versions of the Firefox web browser that allow users to disable the browser's multi-process architecture.

    Mozilla introduced the multi-process architecture in the Firefox web browser in 2016. Firefox would use multiple processes to divide loaded sites between them and use different processes for the browser's own functionality.

    While that increased memory usage, it also meant that Firefox would become more stable in the process and less prone to site crashes taking the entire browser with them. Mozilla's implementation was different to Google's. Chrome uses one process per site, Firefox puts multiples sites in a single process.

    Firefox's Multi-process architecture received numerous improvements over the years. Mozilla added more processes to it and introduced a sandbox security feature later on that depended on it.

    firefox multi process cant disable

    Mozilla plans to remove two Firefox preferences from any version of the web browser going forward. The change is planed for Firefox 68.

    • browser.tabs.remote.force-enable -- Enforces the use of multi-process in Firefox if it is not enabled by default, e.g. because of accessibility.
    • browser.tabs.remote.force-disable -- Disables multi-process in the Firefox web browser.

    You probably wonder about browser.tabs.remote.autostart, the preference that enables or disables the multi-process architecture in Firefox (opposed to enforcing a value like the two other preferences do).

    Mozilla will restrict the preference to true in home builds. While it is still in Firefox, setting it to false in about:config won't have the desired effect anymore once the change lands. The status of the preference is always true in home builds of Firefox regardless of the user chosen value.

    In other words: going forward, Firefox users can't disable multi-process anymore in the browser. It is unclear in how many Firefox installations multi-process is disabled. Some users do so to improve memory usage or slowness of the browser.

    Closing Words

    Mozilla does not reveal why it wants to remove the preference on Bugzilla, only that disabling multi-process should not be "that easy". Additional information is available in a post on the Mozilla Dev Platform group:

    The broad aim was to ensure that we stop grandfathering users into a non-e10s configuration which they
    should not run on a day-to-day basis, given that it receives little to no testing and is less secure.

    It was mentioned as well that Activity Stream breaks if multi-process is disabled. (via Techdows)

    I'm not particularly fond of changes that remove user choice from any program including web browsers. Mozilla is probably going to get a lot of flak for the removal even if it affects only a minority of users of the browser.

    Firefox 68 is the next ESR release of the browser. It is scheduled for a July 9th, 2019 release.

    Now You: What is your take on the change?

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  6. Mozilla Firefox Preview, new Firefox browser, is available on Google Play

    2019-05-16 14:35:54 UTC

    Fenix, which is a codename, is a new browser for Android by Mozilla that will replace the current Firefox web browser for Android eventually. Fenix is open source and interested users may […]

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    Fenix, which is a codename, is a new browser for Android by Mozilla that will replace the current Firefox web browser for Android eventually. Fenix is open source and interested users may follow development on the project's GitHub website.

    Firefox users interested in the new browser could not get it from Google Play up until now; this changed recently with the release of a preview version of the browser called Firefox Preview. Designed for beta testing and feedback, it is available to all Google Play users who sign up to participate in the testing.

    Firefox Preview is based on Mozilla's Android Components and GeckoView. The preview version is considered beta; it lacks some features that Mozilla wants to implement before the final release. Users should expect bugs in the preview of Firefox for Android, and Mozilla expects them to report these bugs so that they may be fixed before the final release.

    The release version of the new browser won't support all features of the current Firefox browser for Android. Extensions support is planned but won't be supported in early stable versions of the browser.

    Mozilla aims for an end of June release. Firefox users who want to test the mobile browser right now can do so right now by following these steps:

    1. Visit the following Mozilla website: https://events.mozilla.org/becomeabetatestingbughunter
    2. Join the Beta Testing Program on the site.
    3. Join the Firefox Fenix Nightly group on Google Groups: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/fenix-nightly
    4. Opt-in on Google Play to receive test builds of the mobile browser: https://play.google.com/apps/testing/org.mozilla.fenix
    5. Download the Firefox Preview browser from Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.fenix

    The steps, with the exception of the last, won't be necessary anymore once Mozilla publishes a final version of the browser.

    Here are a couple of screenshots of the new browser:

    firefox preview android

    firefox preview menu

    Firefox Preview will receive automatic updates after installation. Whether that is purely automated depends on the Play Store settings. The default setting updates applications automatically when the Android device is connected to a wireless network.

    You can switch that to any network or don't update automatically in the Google Play Store settings.

    Now You: What is your first impression of Firefox Preview? Any wishes? (via Sören Hentzschel)

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  7. KB4494441 for Windows 10 version 1809 may install twice

    2019-05-16 11:37:52 UTC

    Reports are coming in that this week's security update for Windows 10 version 1809, KB4494441, may install twice on devices running that particular version of Windows 10. Microsoft released KB4494441 for Windows […]

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    Reports are coming in that this week's security update for Windows 10 version 1809, KB4494441, may install twice on devices running that particular version of Windows 10.

    Microsoft released KB4494441 for Windows 10 version 1809 on Tuesday as part of the company's monthly patch day. The May 2019 update for Windows 10 version 1809 patched a critical security vulnerability in Windows 10, enabled protections against a new class of speculative side-channel vulnerabilities, and enabled Retpoline to optimize protections against the Spectra 2 Variant.

    The update included a handful of additional fixes like a patch that fixed error 1309 that Windows threw before when installing certain msi or msp files on a virtual drive.

    Administrators who installed the update on machines running that version of Windows 10 may have noticed that they had to do so twice to complete the installation.

    KB4494441 installs twice

    Windows Update would list KB4494441 as one of the available updates. Installation of the update requires a restart, and a new check on Windows Update would list the very same update again for installation. The update requires another reboot before it is installed completely on the device.

    Microsoft added the issue to the list of known issues on the update's support page on the Microsoft website.

    Some customers report that KB4494441 installed twice on their device.

    In certain situations, installing an update requires multiple download and restart steps. If two intermediate steps of the installation complete successfully, the View your Update history page will report that installation completed successfully twice.

    It appears, at least from the update description, that the update is offered twice in some situations only. In other words, not all customers appear to be affected by this.

    Microsoft does not reveal why this particular update would require multiple downloads and restart steps on some devices but not on others.

    The company notes that users should install the update twice to complete the installation. It reveals that it plans to improve the update experience "to ensure that the Update history correctly reflects the installation of the latest cumulative update".

    Closing Words

    Add the double installation of KB4494441 to the -- still growing -- list of Windows 10 version 1809 issues. I did not notice the issue on two test systems that I installed the update on.

    Now You: did you install the update? Did it install twice? Why do you think that is the case?

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  8. Opera Browser reveals Default State of Experiments

    2019-05-16 08:19:26 UTC

    I use a lot of web browsers but some of them less than others. I do have several versions of the Opera web browser on my test system but I use the […]

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    I use a lot of web browsers but some of them less than others. I do have several versions of the Opera web browser on my test system but I use the browser only occasionally.

    Some time ago, I noticed a great feature that Opera supports that other Chromium-based browsers, especially Google Chrome, don't.

    Opera supports an experimental flags page just like all other Chromium-based browsers. Just load opera://flags in the address bar to open the page.

    The Chromium developers push new features and technologies there first for testing purposes; some land in the browser natively at one point in time, others may be removed or modified instead.

    Many experiments come with multiple states that you may switch between: default, enabled, or disabled are the three most common states for flags. While it is clear what enabled or disabled do, it is not clear what default does as Google Chrome and most other Chromium-based browsers don't reveal whether the flag is enabled or not when that option is selected or set.

    opera experimental flags default

    The Opera web browser, on the other hand, displays the state of experiments when Default is set so that you know if a particular experiment is enabled or disabled when it is set to default.

    The browser displays an E or a D next to Default; E means that the experiment is Enabled, D that it is disabled.

    Without that, it is anyone's guess whether a feature is enabled or not in the browser. I ask myself regularly whether a particular experiment is enabled in one of Chrome's different versions or not. It is impossible to tell if the status is set to default.

    While you can switch the status to Enabled or Disabled to make sure that it is set appropriately, adding the status to the Default level is certainly an improvement as you see on first glance whether that is necessary or not.

    I checked different Google Chrome, Vivaldi, Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based), and Brave versions, and they all reveal no information about the default state.

    Closing Words

    Granted, displaying whether an experimental feature's status is enabled or disabled if set to default is a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but it is certainly useful if you browse the experiments regularly in your browser of choice.

    The feature is supported by all versions of the Opera web browser including Opera Stable.

    Now You: do you use the experimental flags page regularly?

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  9. Microsoft Paint is not dead, gets keyboard accessibility improvements

    2019-05-16 05:25:26 UTC

    Microsoft Paint is dead? Not really. Microsoft tried to establish a reworked version of Microsoft Paint called Paint 3D on Windows 10 to replace the then-deprecated Microsoft Paint eventually. The company removed […]

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    Microsoft Paint is dead? Not really. Microsoft tried to establish a reworked version of Microsoft Paint called Paint 3D on Windows 10 to replace the then-deprecated Microsoft Paint eventually.

    The company removed the deprecation status from Microsoft Paint recently again. Yesterday, Microsoft revealed that it added new keyboard accessibility options to the classic Paint application. These allow users to run actions using keyboard shortcuts.

    Microsoft Paint supports keyboard shortcuts for certain functions already: use Ctrl+ or Ctrl- to change the brush size, Ctrl-W to resize and skew, or Ctrl-F to display the File menu.

    The new set of shortcuts gives users full control over Paint's functionality. In other words, it is possible to use only the keyboard in Microsoft Paint going forward.

    Microsoft plans to introduce the changes in the upcoming May 2019 Update for Windows 10. The roll out of the feature update for Windows 10 starts at the end of May 2019 if Microsoft does not change the schedule.

    Microsoft Paint keyboard shortcuts

    microsoft paint keyboard

    The following keyboard shortcuts have been added:

    • Arrow keys: move the cursor onscreen.
    • Ctrl + Arrow keys: scroll the canvas
    • Space Bar: activate the tool.
    • Space Bar + Arrow keys: select part of the canvas. Also Shape Controls.
    • Tab (on selection): cycle through 9 control points.
    • Shift + Tab (on selection): cycle in clockwise order.
    • Arrow keys (selection): modify the control point
    • Ctrl + Space (manipulating selection): commit the operation.
    • Esc (manipulating selection): cancel the operation.

    Microsoft notes that Paint users may use the image editor using the keyboard only. The company published an image on the Insider Blog that has been created using the keyboard only.

    The new keyboard shortcuts to control Microsoft Paint with the keyboard are accessibility improvements that will benefit users who don't use a mouse. Microsoft notes that it made improvements "to the way Paint interacts with Screen Readers" as well which highlights this further.

    Closing Words

    The update shows that Microsoft Paint is not dead yet; that is good news for users of the program who prefer it over the new Paint 3D application or third-party applications. Whether that means that Microsoft Paint will remain a part of Windows 10 going forward remains to be seen.

    I think it is possible that Microsoft had a change of heart and made the decision to keep Paint around.

    Now You: Do you use Paint? (via Deskmodder)

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  10. About CCleaner's Easy Clean Mode

    2019-05-15 16:04:09 UTC

    Piriform released www.ccleaner.com/ on May 15, 2019. The new version of the popular cleaning software introduces a new simplified cleaning mode called Easy Clean. We followed development of the program for a […]

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    Piriform released www.ccleaner.com/ on May 15, 2019. The new version of the popular cleaning software introduces a new simplified cleaning mode called Easy Clean. We followed development of the program for a long time, you can still read our 2007 "second look" of CCleaner.

    Piriform calls it one of the "biggest changes in CCleaner history" as it makes the program more accessible to a non-tech savvy audience. CCleaner's new mode helps non-technical users clean their devices through an easier to follow and understand workflow.

    We started looking at CCleaner and its interface through the eyes of a non-technical CCleaner user and decided to design an alternative cleaning flow. We wanted to simplify cleaning, guide users through it, and serve up information in a way they understand (so they know what they're cleaning and the benefits of doing so).

    Easy Clean

    ccleaner easy clean

    The new Easy Clean mode is placed at the top of the sidebar, the place of the original cleaning mode; that mode is still there, but it has been renamed to Custom Clean. Experienced users and those who want more control over the cleaning process need to select Custom Clean. The mode offers the same options as before.

    Easy Clean displays a single button in its interface. Analyze works similarly to CCleaner's original mode but it gives users no customization options.

    Analyze checks if web browsers run and prompts you to close them, just like CCleaner's regular mode does. You can skip that and continue but data won't be deleted in that case. CCleaner focuses on Trackers and Junk in that case.

    easy mode ccleaner delete

    The scan displays the number of trackers and the total size of the identified junk after the scan completes. You can click on review links to display additional information but you can't make a case by case decision as Piriform moved the decision making steps up a level.

    You can decide to clean certain browsers for instance but not which trackers, and the same is true for identified junk. A click on "clean all" removes the data from the device.

    Closing Words

    Easy 'Mode makes the cleaning simpler and more straightforward. Technical users won't find much use in the new mode, but it may help inexperienced users who feel overwhelmed by the program's cleaning options.

    While I think that it is better that these users put in an hour or so of work to understand the cleaning options of custom clean, some might prefer an easy option to clean some of the data that CCleaner supports.

    Piriform learned from the past. The company made Easy Clean the default but added an option to CCleaner's Settings to change that to Custom Clean mode instead. Just select Options > Settings > CCleaner Home Screen > Custom Clean to make it the start mode of the program.

    Now You: What is your take on the program's new Easy Clean mode?

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  11. NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher: remove resolution and refresh rate limits

    2019-05-15 11:22:22 UTC

    NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that removes certain resolution and refresh rate limits. The program detects limits and may patch the values to allow higher […]

    Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher: remove resolution and refresh rate limits appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

    NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a free program for Microsoft Windows devices that removes certain resolution and refresh rate limits.

    The program detects limits and may patch the values to allow higher resolutions and refresh rates. It checks for certain limits and displays those that it finds in the interface. In the case of our test machine, DL-DVI, SL-DVI/HDMI, HDMI-DVI, SL-DVI on DL-DVI, TMDS.

    You may download the latest version of the NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher from the developer's website. The program is updated regularly to address changes in newer drivers that Nvidia releases regularly.

    NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher modifies the NVIDIA video driver to allow higher resolutions and refresh rates by removing the 165 MHz pixel clock limit for single-link DVI and HDMI, the 330 MHz limit for dual-link DVI, and the 400 MHz limit for SLI and 400/500-series GPUs.

    NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher

    NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher requires a Nvidia 400-series or newer graphics processing unit and Windows Vista or newer.

    nvidia pixel clock patcher

    The archive that you download comes with two executable files:

    • nvlddmkm-patcher.exe -- the regular patcher
    • nvlddmkm-patcher-full.exe -- the patcher for Catleap/QNIX/Tempest/X-Star users with with 400/500-series GPUs.

    The application detects existing limits on start. You may select "yes" to patch the limits or "no" to cancel the entire process. Nvidia Pixel Clock Patcher displays a notification after the patching. Note that you may need to reboot the system before the new options become available.

    We suggest that you create a backup of the system before you run the patch. Note that new driver installations will undo the changes made by the patch. You need to run the application again to patch the values after new driver installations.

    The application creates a backup and when you run it again includes an option to restore the defaults.

    Patched drivers allow higher refresh rates which you may set using the Nvidia Control Panel or third-party applications such as Custom Resolution Utility. New resolutions or refresh rates may not be presented directly unless you use a program like Custom Resolution Utility.

    The current version has three known issues that users need to be aware of before running the patcher.

    The full patch breaks HDCP support. It is only needed if the pixel clock is greater than 400 MHz with 400/500-series GPUs or SLI with 600/700-series GPUs until 391.35.
    NVIDIA cards will not reduce clock speeds when idle if the vertical blanking/total is too low.
    400/500-series cards will not reduce clock speeds if the pixel clock is greater than 404 MHz.

    Closing Words

    NVIDIA Pixel Clock Patcher is a specialized programs for Nvidia graphics processing units; most Windows users may have no desire to run this but some may find it useful to remove certain limitations.

    Now You: What is your preferred resolution and refresh rate?

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  12. Sound Editor Audacity 2.3.2 update integrates MP3 Encoder

    2019-05-15 09:43:14 UTC

    A new update for the sound editor Audacity to version 2.3.2 resolves a long-standing inconvenience: the editor comes with integrated MP3 encoder for the first time. The version bump from Audacity 2.3.1 […]

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    A new update for the sound editor Audacity to version 2.3.2 resolves a long-standing inconvenience: the editor comes with integrated MP3 encoder for the first time.

    The version bump from Audacity 2.3.1 to 2.3.2 suggests that it is a minor update. If you followed Audacity updates over the years, you know that updates for the audio editor are released two or three times a year only.

    The new update comes just two months after the upgrade to Audacity 2.3.1 in March 2019. The last update before that, version 2.3.0, was released in September 2018.

    Audacity is a powerful editor that you may use for all kinds of audio editing and creating tasks. You may use it to merge mp3 or wav files, create white noise audio files of any length, or use it to create ringtones (does anyone do that anymore these days?)

    Audacity 2.3.2

    audacity 2.3.2 release

    Audacity 2.3.2 is a cross-platform update for Windows, Mac OS and Linux devices. Downloads are provided on the official Audacity website; Windows users may select a portable version or installer. Updates install fine over existing installations, portable users need to overwrite program files to update.

    The new version improves the user experience, especially that of new users, significantly. It includes the LAME MP3 encoder so that it is no longer necessary to download it separately to integrate MP3 functionality in the program.

    audacity lame

    You can load any mp3 audio file in Audacity right on first run and it will work just fine in the new release.

    Patents expired, according to the release notes, so that it is now possible to integrate the MP3 encoder directly.

    The remaining changes are not all that exciting. The team fixed over 20 bugs that affected version 2.3.1 including a crash, and added a new select button to select the entire track in the Audacity interface.

    The mod-script-pipe to control Audacity using Python has been integrated in the new version. It is not enabled by default but you may enable the functionality in the preferences according to the release notes.

    Closing Words

    The integration of a native MP3 encoder improves the experience of first time users significantly. Mp3 is one of the most popular audio formats and most users who use audio editors probably need it supported.

    Audacity 2.3.2 takes care of that.

    Now You: do you use an audio editor?

    Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Sound Editor Audacity 2.3.2 update integrates MP3 Encoder appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

  13. Enable new Firefox Recommended Extensions suggestions in Firefox 68 Nightly

    2019-05-15 07:59:49 UTC

    Mozilla announced the launch of the Firefox Recommended Extensions program in April 2019 to increase the visibility of extensions and promote them better. The program differs from Mozilla's current practice of displaying […]

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    Mozilla announced the launch of the Firefox Recommended Extensions program in April 2019 to increase the visibility of extensions and promote them better.

    The program differs from Mozilla's current practice of displaying add-on recommendations to Firefox users. Firefox users may see a list of extensions when they open the Add-ons Manager of the web browser, visit the Mozilla AMO website (official extensions repository), or through the contextual extension recommendations feature of the Firefox browser.

    The new program takes the concept a step further. Extensions need to meet certain requirements for inclusion in the program; among them a commitment from the developer, that they pass manual reviews each time they are updated and initially, and that they need to be "really good" at what they do.

    Extensions that make it are promoted by Mozilla in various ways. The organization plans them to power the recommendations that Firefox displays on about:addons and contextually, and promote them on Mozilla AMO and through other means.

    Tip: we asked you which extensions you'd like to see promoted by Mozilla recently.

    Firefox 68: the new recommendations

    personalize firefox extension recommendations

    Mozilla integrated the new recommendations page of about:addons in the latest Firefox 68 Nightly version. The page is not enabled by default at the time, but can be enabled in the following way:

    1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
    2. Confirm that you are careful if the warning is displayed.
    3. Search for extensions.htmlaboutaddons.discover.enabled.
    4. Toggle the value to True (enabled).

    Visit about:addons afterwards to see the new page in action. It looks similarly to the old but there are some differences. Technically, the new recommendations page is no longer loaded as an iframe but a native page.

    Firefox connects to two Mozilla-owned domains to pull recommendations and images; the browser downloaded a HTML document previously as well as scripts and styles previously.

    old personalize firefox
    Firefox's current personalize page

    When you compare the old page to the new, you will notice differences immediately. The general page layout is very similar to the classic page but Mozilla added ratings and user counts to the page.

    Add-ons are listed with their name, developer, and description in the current version; the new recommendations page lists ratings and user counts. Both useful to determine the quality of an extension.

    Listed add-ons are reviewed manually by Mozilla, another core difference to current recommendations. Mozilla will review each update of extensions that are in the Recommended Extensions Program which improves security significantly.

    The new Personalization page listed four browser add-ons and three themes:

    More extensions will be added to the program in the future so that users may see some variation when opening about:addons.

    The feature will land in Firefox Stable eventually; it is unclear if the switch will happen when Firefox Stable reaches version 68.

    Now You: What is your take on Firefox's Extensions Recommendation Program? (via Techdows)

    Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Enable new Firefox Recommended Extensions suggestions in Firefox 68 Nightly appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

  14. MDS Tool: find out if you are vulnerable to Microarchitectural Data Sampling Attacks (MDS)

    2019-05-15 04:21:45 UTC

    MDS Tool is a free cross-platform security program for Windows and Linux devices that checks whether the system's hardware is vulnerable to Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) attacks. Intel disclosed a new group […]

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    MDS Tool is a free cross-platform security program for Windows and Linux devices that checks whether the system's hardware is vulnerable to Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) attacks.

    Intel disclosed a new group of security issues in its processors on May 14, 2019 that it calls "Microarchitectural Data Sampling". The flaws are related to speculative execution attacks such as Spectre or Meltdown discovered last year. The issue affects all modern Intel CPUs in servers, desktops, and laptops.

    Rogue In-Flight Data Load (RIDL) and Fallout, two MDS attacks, differ from last year's attacks in several meaningful ways that make them potentially more powerful. The attacks don't depend on the processor cache and don't need to make assumptions about the memory layout. They leak arbitrary in-flight data from internal CPU buffers.

    Attacks, when carried out successfully, read data from other system processes and could lead to the leaking of sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or cookies.

    Attackers who can run unprivileged code on machines with recent Intel CPUs - whether using shared cloud computing resources, or using JavaScript on a malicious website or advertisement - can steal data from other programs running on the same machine, across any security boundary: other applications, the operating system kernel, other VMs (e.g., in the cloud), or even secure (SGX) enclaves. (via)

    Microsoft released patches for some versions of Windows on yesterday's Patch Tuesday, Canonical released updates for Ubuntu yesterday as well.

    MDS Tool

    mds tool

    MDS Tool is a comprehensive program that you may run on your system to find out if it is vulnerable to certain attacks. You can download the program from the MSD Attacks website.

    It has been updated recently to integrate vulnerability checks for the disclosed MSD attacks. Just run the program after download and scroll down to the Micro-architectural Data Sampling section of the interface.

    There you find whether the system you ran the software program on is vulnerable to the attacks or if it is protected.

    If you have not installed patches yet that mitigate the issues, it will report as vulnerable.

    Resources

    Here is a list of resources that offer additional information:

    Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post MDS Tool: find out if you are vulnerable to Microarchitectural Data Sampling Attacks (MDS) appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

  15. Microsoft Windows Security Updates May 2019 overview

    2019-05-14 18:10:46 UTC

    Welcome to the Microsoft Patch Day overview for May 2019. Microsoft released security updates and non-security updates for all supported versions of the Windows operating system -- client and server -- and […]

    Ghacks needs you. You can find out how to support us here (https://www.ghacks.net/support/) or support the site directly by becoming a Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/ghacks)). Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post Microsoft Windows Security Updates May 2019 overview appeared first on gHacks Technology News.

    Welcome to the Microsoft Patch Day overview for May 2019. Microsoft released security updates and non-security updates for all supported versions of the Windows operating system -- client and server -- and other Microsoft products such as Microsoft Office on May 14, 2019.

    Our overview provides you with information and resource links; we cover all major update releases for all Microsoft platforms, provide an overview of critical updates (which you may want to address quickly), operating system distribution statistics, and download instructions.

    Microsoft plans to release the May 2019 Update for Windows 10 at the end of the month; check out this guide if you plan to update to the new feature update for Windows 10. If you take the disastrous Windows 10 version 1809 release into account, it is probably better to wait several months before you  consider installing the update on production machines.

    Note that there are some upgrade blocks in place currently that prevent the installation of the new update.

    Microsoft Windows Security Updates May 2019

    Download the following Excel spreadsheet (zipped) that lists the released security updates and information: security-updates-windows-microsoft-may-2019.zip

    Executive Summary

    • Microsoft released security updates for all supported versions of Windows.
    • All versions of Windows are affected by CVE-2019-0903,  a GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability critical vulnerability.
    • Windows 7 is the only client system affected by another critical vulnerability CVE-2019-0708 , Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
    • Microsoft released a security update for Windows XP (KB4500331)
    • All server versions affected by CVE-2019-0725 | Windows DHCP Server Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.
    • Server 2008 R2 only version affected by CVE-2019-0708 Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability.
    • Other Microsoft products with security update releases: IE, Edge, Team Foundation Server, SQL Server, Azure, Skype for Android, Office, Visual Studio, Azure DevOps Server, .Net Framework and Core, ASP.NET Core, ChakraCore, NuGet.
    • The Update Catalog lists 243 updates.

    Operating System Distribution

    • Windows 7: 23 vulnerabilities of which 2 are rated critical and 21 are rated important
      • CVE-2019-0903 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0708 | Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
    • Windows 8.1: 23 vulnerabilities of which 1 is rated critical and 22 are rated important
    • Windows 10 version 1703:  28 vulnerabilities of which 1 is critical and 27 are important
    • Windows 10 version 1709: 29 vulnerabilities of which 1 is critical and 28 are important
    • Windows 10 version 1803: 29 vulnerabilities of which 1 is critical and 28 are important
    • Windows 10 version 1809: 29 vulnerabilities of which 1 is critical and 28 are important

    Windows Server products

    • Windows Server 2008 R2: 24 vulnerabilities of which 3 are critical and 21 are important.
      • CVE-2019-0708 | Remote Desktop Services Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0725 | Windows DHCP Server Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0903 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
    • Windows Server 2012 R2: 24 vulnerabilities of which 2 are critical and 22 are important.
      • CVE-2019-0725 | Windows DHCP Server Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0903 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
    • Windows Server 2016: 28 vulnerabilities of which 2 are critical and 26 are important
      • CVE-2019-0725 | Windows DHCP Server Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0903 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
    • Windows Server 2019: 30 vulnerabilities of which 2 are critical and 28 are important.
      • CVE-2019-0725 | Windows DHCP Server Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0903 | GDI+ Remote Code Execution Vulnerability

    Other Microsoft Products

    • Internet Explorer 11: 8 vulnerability, 5 critical, 4 important
      • CVE-2019-0884 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0911 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0918 | Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0929 | Internet Explorer Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0940 | Microsoft Browser Memory Corruption Vulnerability
    • Microsoft Edge: 14 vulnerabilities, 11 critical, 3 important
      • CVE-2019-0915 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0916 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0917 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0922 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0924 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0925 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0926 | Microsoft Edge Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0927 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0933 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0937 | Chakra Scripting Engine Memory Corruption Vulnerability
      • CVE-2019-0940 | Microsoft Browser Memory Corruption Vulnerability

    Windows Security Updates

    Windows 7 Service Pack 1

    KB4499175 -- Security-only update

    • Protections against a new subclass of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities (Microarchitectural Data Sampling)
    • Addresses an issue that may prevent applications that rely on unconstrained delegation from authenticating after the Kerberos ticket-granting ticket (TGT) expires (the default is 10 hours).
    • Security updates

    KB4499164 -- Monthly Rollup

    • Same as security-only update, and
    • Fixed Excel display issue.
    • Fixed Microsoft Visual Studio Simulator startup issue.

    Windows 8.1

    KB4499165 -- Security-only Update

    • Protections against a new subclass of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities (Microarchitectural Data Sampling)
    • Security updates

    KB4499151 -- Monthly Rollup

    • Same as Security-only update, and
    • Fixed "Error 1309" issue with msi and msp files.
    • Fixed Microsoft Visual Studio Simulator startup issue.
    • Added uk.gov into HTTP Strict Transport Security Top Level Domains (HSTS TLD) for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge.
    • Fixed display issue in Excel.

    Windows 10 version 1703

    KB4499181

    • Same as Windows 10 version 1809 with the exception of Retpoline, Simple Network Management Protocol Management Information Base registration, and the zone transfer issue.

    Windows 10 version 1709

    KB4499179

    • Same as Windows 10 version 1809 with the exception of Retpoline and Simple Network Management Protocol Management Information Base registration

    Windows 10 version 1803

    KB4499167

    • Same as Windows 10 version 1809 with the exception of Retpoline and Simple Network Management Protocol Management Information Base registration

    Windows 10 version 1809

    KB4494441

    • Retpoline is enabled by default if protections against Spectre Variant 2 are enabled.
    • Protections against a new subclass of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities (Microarchitectural Data Sampling)
    • uk.gov added into the HTTP Strict Transport Security Top Level Domains for IE and Edge.
    • Fixed the cause of Error 1309 when installing or removing certain msi or msp files on a virtual drive.
    • Fixed an issue that prevented Microsoft Visual Studio Simulator from starting.
    • Fixed an issue that could cause zone transfers between primary and secondary DNS servers over TCP to fail.
    • Fixed an issue that could cause Simple Network Management Protocol Management Information Base registration to fail.
    • Fixed a font issue in Microsoft Excel that could make text, layout, or cell sizes narrower or wider.
    • Security updates.

    Other security updates

    KB4498206 -- Cumulative security update for Internet Explorer: May 14, 2019

    KB4474419 -- SHA-2 code signing support update for Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008: March 12, 2019

    KB4495582 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495584 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495585 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495586 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495587 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.6 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008

    KB4495588 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008

    KB4495589 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495591 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495592 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495593 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008

    KB4495594 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495596 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.5.2 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008

    KB4495602 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495604 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0 for Windows Server 2008

    KB4495606 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5.1 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

    KB4495607 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 3.5 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495608 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495609 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 2.0 on Windows Server 2008

    KB4495612 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 3.5.1 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

    KB4495615 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 3.5 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495622 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495623 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4495624 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495625 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4495626 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

    KB4495627 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

    KB4497932 -- Adobe Flash Player Security Update

    KB4498961 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 3.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

    KB4498962 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4498963 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4498964 -- 2019-05 Security Only Update for .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 4.5.2, 4.6 on Windows Server 2008

    KB4499149 -- 2019-05 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows Server 2008

    KB4499158 -- 2019-05 Security Only Quality Update for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4499171 -- 2019-05 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4499180 -- 2019-05 Security Only Quality Update for Windows Server 2008

    KB4499406 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows Embedded Standard 7, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2

    KB4499407 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows Embedded 8 Standard and Windows Server 2012

    KB4499408 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1, 4.6.2, 4.7, 4.7.1, 4.7.2, 4.8 for Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2

    KB4499409 -- 2019-05 Security and Quality Rollup for .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 4.5.2, 4.6 on Windows Server 2008

    KB4500331 -- Security Update for Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows XP

    KB4494440 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1607

    KB4495590 -- Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.7.2 for Windows 10

    KB4495610 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1607, and Windows Server 2016

    KB4495611 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1703

    KB4495613 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1709

    KB4495616 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 4.8 on Windows 10 Version 1803, and Windows Server 2016

    KB4495618 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1809

    KB4495620 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows 10 version 1903, and Windows Server 1903

    KB4497398 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1803, and Windows Server 2016

    KB4498353 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10

    KB4498947 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1607, and Windows Server 2016

    KB4499154 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10

    KB4499167 -- 2019-05 Dynamic Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1809, and Windows Server 2016

    KB4499405 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5, 4.7.2 and 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 1809, and Windows Server 2019

    KB4499728 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1809, and Windows Server 2019

    KB4500109 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1903

    KB4500640 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1703

    KB4500641 -- 2019-05 Servicing Stack Update for Windows 10 Version 1709

    Known Issues

    See the linked KB articles for workarounds and additional information.

    Windows 8.1 and Serve 2012 R2

    • First two issues of Windows 10 version 1809.
    • Monthly Rollup additionally: issue with Mcafee Endpoint Security software.

    Windows 10 version 1703

    • Second issue of Windows 10 version 1809 only.

    Windows 10 version 1709

    • Second issue of Windows 10 version 1809 only.

    Windows 10 version 1803

    • First two issues of Windows 10 version 1809.

    Windows 10 version 1809

    • Issues using the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) to start a device from a Windows Deployment Services (WDS) server configured to use Variable Window Extension. Workaround available.
    • Error STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5) when performing certain operations on files or files that are on a Cluster Shared Volume. Workaround available.
    • Printing issue with error "Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem. 0x80070007e" in Edge and UWP apps. Workaround available.
    • Error "0x800f0982 - PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND" after installing KB4493509 with certain Asian language packs installed. Workaround available.

    Security advisories and updates

    ADV190012 | May 2019 Adobe Flash Security Update

    ADV190013 | Microsoft Guidance to mitigate Microarchitectural Data Sampling vulnerabilities

    ADV190014 | Listed but error page

    Windows client guidance for IT Pros to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities

    Windows Server guidance to protect against speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities

    Non-security related updates

    KB4494174 -- 2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1809 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4494175 --2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1607 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4494451 -- 2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1803 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4494452 -- 2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1709 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4494453 -- 2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1703 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4494454 -- 2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1507 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4497165 -- 2019-05 Update for Windows 10 Version 1903 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB4498946 -- 2019-05 Dynamic Update for Windows 10 Version 1709 (Intel microcode updates)

    KB890830 -- Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool - May 2019

    Microsoft Office Updates

    You find Office update information here.

    How to download and install the May 2019 security updates

    windows may 2019 microsoft security updates

    Home users may use Windows Update to download and install the updates, or install updates manually by downloading them directly from Microsoft.

    It is not recommended to select the "check for updates" option manually on Windows PCs as you may install preview updates or feature updates when you use the option.

    If you still want to do so, make sure you create a backup of important data -- better the entire system partition -- before you install updates.

    1. Open the Start Menu.
    2. Type Windows Update.
    3. Click on the "check for updates" button to run a manual check.

    Third-party tools like Windows Update Manager, Windows Update MiniTool or Sledgehammer may be useful as well as you get more control over the update processes.

    Direct update downloads

    Most Windows devices are updated automatically either through Windows Update or other update management systems. Some users and organizations prefer to install updates manually. All cumulative updates can be downloaded from the Microsoft Update Catalog website. Below are links to all cumulative updates.

    Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP

    • KB4499164 -- 2019-05 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 7
    • KB4499175 -- 2019-05 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 7

    Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    • KB4499151 -- 2019-05 Security Monthly Quality Rollup for Windows 8.1
    • KB4499165 -- 2019-05 Security Only Quality Update for Windows 8.1

    Windows 10 (version 1703)

    • KB4499181 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1703

    Windows 10 (version 1709)

    • KB4499179 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1709

    Windows 10 (version 1803)

    • KB4499167 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1803

    Windows 10 (version 1809)

    • KB4494441 -- 2019-05 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1809

    Additional resources

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  16. Fix Chrome prioritizing search words over visited sites in address bar

    2019-05-14 06:48:46 UTC

    Google Chrome users who have updated the desktop version of the web browser to the latest version may have noticed a change in how Google Chrome responds to input in the browser's […]

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    Google Chrome users who have updated the desktop version of the web browser to the latest version may have noticed a change in how Google Chrome responds to input in the browser's address bar.

    Chrome users who type characters into the address bar may notice that Google Chrome may prioritize searches over visited sites after the recent update is installed.

    The screenshot below shows an example where Chrome makes Googles Search the default action when you hit the Enter-key and not one of the matching sites visited in the past.

    chrome address bar search issue

    Previous versions of the browser prioritized the first matching domain name instead so that you could load it quickly by typing the first few characters of the name and hitting the Enter-key.

    The change appears to affect all search engines to a degree. While you may change the default search engine of the Chrome browser to address the issue somewhat (away from Google Search to another search provider), it won't fix the issue completely.

    Fixing the issue

    There is only one real option at the time to revert the change and go back to the previous status quo.

    Option 1: Disabling Omnibox Google Drive Document suggestions

    chrome omnibox drive suggestions

    The prioritization change of search suggestions in Google Chrome seems to be linked to a new experimental flag in Google Chrome. If you disable the feature in Chrome -- it is enabled by default -- you will notice that Chrome returns to the previous search behavior.

    Here is how that is done:

    1. Load chrome://flags/#omnibox-drive-suggestions in the Chrome address bar.
    2. Change the experimental flag to disabled by activating the menu next to the preference and selecting "Disabled" from the options.
    3. Restart the Chrome browser.

    The description suggests that it adds Google Drive search options to Chrome's address bar if Google Search is the default provider and if you are signed in to a Google account. Why that is affecting the priority of results is unclear.

    Option 2: change the default search provider

    chrome change search

    It seems that you cannot resolve the issue completely when you switch search providers, but it may help.

    1. Load chrome://settings/ in the browser's address bar.
    2. Scroll down to the Search Engine section.
    3. Either pick one of the available solutions under "Search engine used in the address bar", or select "Manage search engines" if the search engine that you want to pick is not listed.
      1. Manage Search Engines lists all detected search engines. Chrome picks them up as you visit the websites of the search engines and run a search.
      2. My selected search engine is Startpage, but you can select any other search engine such as DuckDuckGo as well. (See: It may be time to switch to DuckDuckGo or Startpage for web search)
      3. Select the menu icon next to the search engine and there "make default" to make it the new default search engine in Google Chrome.

    Now You: Which search provider do you use currently?

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  17. Mozilla releases Add-on to fix signing issue in older Firefox versions

    2019-05-14 04:14:35 UTC

    Mozilla released the Firefox add-on Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 47 - 56 yesterday, and Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 61 to 65, and Disabled Add-on Fix 57 to 60 on May […]

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    Mozilla released the Firefox add-on Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 47 - 56 yesterday, and Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 61 to 65, and Disabled Add-on Fix 57 to 60 on May 14, 2019, which resolve the add-on signing issue in older versions of the Firefox web browser when installed.

    On May 3, 2019, Firefox users began to notice that something was not right. Installed add-ons were disabled by the web browser and there was no way to enable them again or install new extensions in the browser.

    Firefox uses an add-on signing system to verify browser extensions. The system uses certificates to verify the legitimacy of add-ons, and one of the certificates used for that expired on that day. The expiration caused verification to fail for all add-ons.

    firefox add-ons disabled

    Mozilla used various methods to get the situation under control. It used the browser's Shield system to distribute an emergency fix and released new Firefox versions that fixed it as well.

    The fixes did not help users who ran older versions of the Firefox web browser or some third-party browsers based on Firefox code. Mozilla promised that it would release patches for older Firefox versions as well even though these are no longer supported by the company.

    Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 47 - 56 is the result of that promise, or at least part of it as it fixes the add-on signing issue in Firefox 52 to 56. Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 61 - 65 addresses the issue in Firefox 61 to 65, and Disabled Add-on Fix for Firefox 57 - 60 in Firefox 57 to 60.

    All that is required is to install the browser extension in Firefox to fix the issue. The extension installs a new certificate and enables extensions and themes again that were disabled.

    The add-on can be installed in Waterfox versions affected by the issue as well to patch the issue in the third-party browser.

    The released add-on is unique on Mozilla AMO as it is the only extension on the entire site that is not compatible with Firefox Quantum. Mozilla purged all classic extensions from the official add-ons repository some months ago.

    Mozilla promised that it would releases fixes for Firefox versions 47 to 65. It revealed plans to release a browser extension for Firefox 61 to 65, and an update for Firefox 47 to 60. The extensions fix the issue for all pre-Quantum versions of the Firefox web browser prior to Firefox 57 starting with Firefox 47 and all post-quantum versions up to version 65.

    Now You: What is your take on Mozilla's handling of the situation?

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  18. Chrome bug that prevents the browsing history from clearing

    2019-05-13 17:25:27 UTC

    Recent versions of the Google Chrome browser have a bug that prevents some users from deleting the browsing history of the browser. All browsers come with built-in options to clear the browsing […]

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    Recent versions of the Google Chrome browser have a bug that prevents some users from deleting the browsing history of the browser.

    All browsers come with built-in options to clear the browsing history. The term refers to certain types of data that is generated by the browser or downloaded from the Internet. Data such as the browser cache, cookies, or downloaded files fall into the category.

    Chrome users may load chrome://settings/clearBrowserData, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Del, or select Menu > More Tools > Clear browsing data to access the menu.

    Chrome displays basic options at first but you may want to switch to advanced to gain more control over the functionality.

    chrome browser data

    Google started to notice a spike in issues related to the clearing of browsing data in Chrome with the release of Chrome 72 in January 2019.

    Users reported that the clearing would run forever with no apparent option to stop or exit the process.

    We're seeing a spike in feedback related to browser history not clearing. Specifically, the behavior is that once the deletion process is started, it runs forever with no completion or ability to stop / exit. We haven't tried to reproduce yet, but we're seeing a large enough spike that we wanted to file. Reports are currently only from Windows and OSX.

    Newer versions of Google Chrome are affected as well, and it appears that the situation got worse with the Chrome 74 release. A Google engineer confirmed that Chrome 74 was affected by the issue on April 29, 2019 and that the majority of reports came from Windows users but that the issue existed on Mac devices as well.

    Google detected the issue last week; engineers found an issue in SessionStorage that would cause it to hang.

    Avoid hanging deletion if SessionStorage doesn't call its callback

    For unknown reasons, SessionStorage doesn't always finish its deletion.
    Instead the callback is destroyed without being run.

    The fix is already available in Chrome Canary builds but it has not been rolled out yet to stable versions of the browser. It appears, however, that it is only a matter of time before it lands in those versions.

    Temporary Fix

    Affected users may use third-party applications to clean the cache in the meantime. The free program BleachBit can clear Chrome's cookies, cache, history, passwords, and other browsing data.

    On Windows, you can clear the cache by opening C:\Users\YOURUSERNAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\DEFAULT (or PROFILENAME)\Cache

    Please replace YOURUSERNAME with the name of the user, and DEFAULT (or PROFILENAME) with the name of the profile. The cache folder contains cached data which you may delete. Cookies are found in a file called Cookies that is in the root of the profile folder of the Chrome user. (via Softpedia)

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  19. Simplewall 3.0 Beta First Look

    2019-05-13 11:11:17 UTC

    Simplewall 3.0 is the next major release of the free open source firewall and security software for Microsoft's Windows operating system. We reviewed Simplewall back in 2017 for the first time. A […]

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    Simplewall 3.0 is the next major release of the free open source firewall and security software for Microsoft's Windows operating system. We reviewed Simplewall back in 2017 for the first time.

    A beta version was released on May 7, 2019 for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. While it is possible that things may change until the final release, it is more or less ready for release already.

    Simplewall 3.0 is fully compatible with previous versions. It is not suggested to install the beta version on a production system, but if you do, all settings and preferences should remain available in the new version. The same will be true for the final release.

    The new version drops support for Windows Vista. Simplewall 3.0 is compatible with Windows 7 or newer versions of the Windows operating system only.

    Simplewall 3.0

    simplewall 3.0 firewall interface

    Simplewall 3.0 works for the most part just like previous versions. Enable filtering to block applications from making outbound connections unless you permit it. First enabling filtering leads to a large number of prompts but once those are dealt with, e.g. by blocking some and allowing others, it becomes less of an annoyance to deal with new prompts as the number decreases significantly.

    The Simplewall interface features new options: you find new services and UWP application tabs, access to the rules list in the main window, and a new network connections monitor.

    The Network Connections monitor is labeled as beta right now. It displays all open connections of the system when you access it or hit the refresh button.

    simplewall 3.0 network monitor

    It is not a real-time monitor as the listing is not updated automatically but only on user request. Just hit the refresh button to refresh the listing.

    The monitor lists all application names, ports, destinations, protocols, and other information in its interface.

    From there, it is relatively easy to create new rules for individual processes. Just right-click a process and select "create rule" to get started. Doing so opens the rules creation wizard to allow or block connections based on selected parameters. You may also open the folder the file is stored in to investigate the process further.

    The Services tab lists Windows Services and you may create rules for individual services there. UWP apps are only available on Windows 10, but the apps listing displays these applications again with options to allow or deny them access to the Internet or network.

    Windows users who use high DPI monitors benefit from improved DPI support next to all that. Simplewall 3.0 includes several fixes, listview resizing and sorting improvements, and some cosmetic fixes. Blacklist mode is removed in the new version.

    Closing Words

    My verdict from 2017 still stands: Simplewall is a great free firewall program for Windows. It still has some rough edges and requires a bit of knowledge when it comes to the creation of rules.

    The future of my favorite Windows firewall app Windows Firewall Control is unclear as the program has been acquired by Malwarebytes in 2018. The program is free and version 6.0 of Windows Firewall Control was released in early 2019.

    Simplewall is a great alternative, some say it is even better.

    Now You: do you use a firewall app?

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  20. Restore YouTube's Classic Look in Firefox and Chrome

    2019-05-13 06:16:30 UTC

    YouTube Classic is an extension for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome that changes the design and layout of YouTube to the classic version. Firefox users can install the browser extension from the […]

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    YouTube Classic is an extension for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome that changes the design and layout of YouTube to the classic version.

    Firefox users can install the browser extension from the official Mozilla Add-ons store; Chrome users cannot, as Google removed it from the Chrome Web Store. It is necessary to load it as an unpacked extension in Developer Mode as explained on the project's GitHub page.

    YouTube Classic requests access to youtube.com; that's the only permission request and one that make sense, obviously.

    YouTube Classic

    youtube classic

    Once installed, you will notice that YouTube's layout and design changed to a classic version. The extension replaces the current layout with a classic layout that differs in some regards significantly from the current version.

    Firefox users may notice a performance boost after installing the add-on when they visit the YouTube website. Some reviewers noted on Mozilla's Add-ons repository site that YouTube loaded significantly faster for them and that the performance was better as well.

    Core visual differences between the current YouTube layout and Classic YouTube include:

    • Menu is hidden by YouTube Classic.
    • A Load More button is provided in regular and full screen mode to load additional content.
    • Home and Trending links displayed right at the top for easy switching.
    • Fewer links in the header.
    • More video thumbnails are displayed next to each other.

    YouTube Classic offers one option that is attached to the extension's icon. A click on the extension icon in the browser's toolbar displays an option to turn it off. Just toggle the mode and reload the webpage to go back to the regular version of YouTube. The extension does not reload the page automatically.

    youtube classic mode

    The "method" option appears inactive at the time. I tried to change it but the selection menu is not active regardless of selected mode.

    Closing Words

    YouTube Classic for Firefox and Chrome may appeal to users who prefer the classic design of YouTube over the current design iteration. Firefox users may find it useful besides that as it may improve the performance of YouTube for them.

    While designed for Firefox and Chrome, YouTube Classic should work in browsers based on Firefox and Chromium code.

    Now You: How do you use YouTube?

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  21. Google Chrome: new Settings page lands in Canary

    2019-05-13 04:15:04 UTC

    Recent versions of Google Chrome Canary feature a redesigned Settings page that adds option groups to the web browser. All desktop browsers come with Settings pages that let users modify certain behavior […]

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    Recent versions of Google Chrome Canary feature a redesigned Settings page that adds option groups to the web browser.

    All desktop browsers come with Settings pages that let users modify certain behavior and characteristics: you may use them to change the default homepage or download folder, change font sizes, or make advanced feature changes.

    Google Chrome displays a page with basic Settings to users up until now and a link on that page that would open advanced Settings. Since there is no direct link to Advanced, users who wanted to access these always had to open the basic Settings page first, scroll down that page to click on advanced to access these.

    A recent change that launched in Chrome Canary may change that in the future. Chrome Canary is the cutting edge version of Google Chrome; new features land in that version first before they are moved to Beta and Stable versions or pulled again.

    Chrome Canary Settings menu

    google chrome settings page

    If you open the Settings in Chrome Canary, you may notice that Google added a new menu to the side so that you may jump to certain sections in the Settings right away.

    Note that the width of the browser window needs to be set to a certain size for the menu to appear. If the width is not large enough, you get the classic layout instead without menu.

    The menu lists all basic page settings sections right away and Advanced sections below that. You need to expand Advanced to display those. A click on any of the links displays the group right away so that you don't have to activate the advanced link anymore to change advanced settings.

    The menu links to the Extensions management page and About Chrome as well.

    Chrome does not remember the state of the advanced menu right now. You need to expand it each time you want to use it to navigate to an advanced settings group quickly.

    Still, advanced lists all available groups so that you may jump to them quickly and without scrolling.

    Microsoft launched a similar settings page recently in the upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge; it is unknown whether Google was inspired by Microsoft's layout.

    Closing Words

    Google Chrome's Settings page is about to get more useful. Google did not touch any of the internal links to Settings this time. Users of the browser who manage advanced settings regularly may find it more useful than the current Stable design as it may speed things up.

    While you may use the search to find a setting quickly, you do need to know the name of the setting or group to do so.

    Now You: What is your take on the new layout?

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  22. A look at the archiver Explzh

    2019-05-12 07:55:47 UTC

    Explzh is a free software for Microsoft's Windows operating system to manage -- create, extract, change -- archives using an Explorer-like interface. There is certainly no shortage when it comes to software […]

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    Explzh is a free software for Microsoft's Windows operating system to manage -- create, extract, change -- archives using an Explorer-like interface.

    There is certainly no shortage when it comes to software programs for archive file formats such as ZIP, RAR, or ISO.

    A strong commercial selection -- WinZip or WinRar -- and an even better selection of free solutions -- Bandizip, 7-Zip, PeaZip -- compete in the niche.

    Explzh falls right in line with other free offerings: it is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit version for Windows, and supports all features that you expect to see in an archive software.

    You can download and install the application from the developer website. A portable version is not offered, but you may download add-ons to extend the functionality (FTP, SFX, and Decoder add-ons available).

    Explzh

    explzh archive software

    The installer displays important options such as assigning file types to the archiver or adding options to the Windows Explorer context menu. It is probably a good idea to spend the extra two or so minutes to configure the behavior during setup as it may save you time later on.

    The Explzh interface looks pretty much like that of any other archiving software for Windows. It features a toolbar at the top, a sidebar on the left that displays folders, and the actual archive contents on the right.

    You may interact with any file directly in the interface, or extract the content to the local system instead. The program uses tabs so that you may load or create multiple archives and display them side by side in the interface.

    Explzh supports Explorer Shell integration so that you may create or extract archives from Explorer's right-click menu.

    As far as support is concerned, Explzh supports major archive formats such as ZIP, RAR, CAB, ISO, or LHA, but not as many as other archive software programs support. The most common formats are supported, and that is certainly sufficient for most users.

    Explzh supports all major features: view, create, edit, and extract archives, split files, create self-extracting archives, or encrypt them.

    The application supports a number of features that extend the core functionality and may not be found in other popular (free) programs of its kind. It supports adding digital signatures to files, powerful "find in archive" search options, and repair and verification tools.

    If you installed the optional FTP add-on, you may also upload archives to an FTP server directly from Explzh.

    Closing Words

    Explzh is a well designed archive software for Windows that supports all the major features that you'd expect from a program of its kind. It features a streamlined interface, support for Shell integration, and more.  It offers some features that may make it attractive to some users, e.g. the option to add digital signatures to files in an archive.

    Users who run into exotic archive formats occasionally may find it less useful, as it lacks support for those.

    Now You: Which archive software do you use?

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  23. Chromium may soon use less memory and start up faster

    2019-05-11 07:58:29 UTC

    Chromium-based web browsers such as Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera, or the new Microsoft Edge browser, may soon start up faster and use less memory. One of the effects of Microsoft switching […]

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    Chromium-based web browsers such as Google Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi, Opera, or the new Microsoft Edge browser, may soon start up faster and use less memory.

    One of the effects of Microsoft switching over to the Chromium development camp is that even more engineers work on Chromium.

    microsoft edge new

    Recent commits could soon improve the startup of the Chrome web browser and reduce memory usage as well.

    Chrome starts up quickly on modern systems but if you tried to run it on an older machine, you may have noticed that startup is delayed.  Chromium-based browsers load chrome.dll and chrome_child.dll on startup. It may take more than a second to load these files on slow laptops; a Windows 8.1 laptop with 2-core CPU and HDD read the dll files in 0.48 seconds and 1.13 seconds.

    A pre-reading parameter change could drop the loading time significantly. The same laptop would load the two files in less than one second after the changes are made.

    On a slow laptop (Windows 8.1, 2-cores, HDD), it takes ~0.48 seconds to pre-read chrome.dll and **~1.13** seconds to pre-read chrome_child.dll. These operations are on the critical path of the startup.

    By (a) increasing the priority of the thread that pre-reads images and (b) pre-reading 2MB at a time instead of 1MB, it takes ~0.48 seconds to pre-read chrome.dll and **~0.51** seconds to pre-read chrome_child.dll.

    As far as memory usage is concerned, Microsoft engineer Joe Laughlin suggests changes to the in-proc prefetcher that would be beneficial to the browser's CPU usage and memory usage.

    Change the in-proc prefetcher to load the code into Image pages and not MapFile pages to save CPU and improve memory usage, and do nothing on OS builds that enable OS PreFetch of larger files. Note this require the PreFetchVirtualMemory API, so we'll still read the file as data/MapFile on Win7.

    The commits need to be tested and accepted before they (may) land in Chromium. It seems likely that both will find their way into Chromium and thus also into all Chromium-based browsers at one point in time.

    Google Chrome is notorious for its high memory usage and any improvement in that regard should be more than welcome by the community.

    Now You: What is your take on Chrome's current memory usage and performance? (via Windows Latest)

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  24. Simple Ping Blocker for Firefox

    2019-05-10 10:44:19 UTC

    Simple Ping Blocker is a new browser extension for the Firefox web browser that blocks any pings from being sent when links get activated in the browser. Mozilla revealed recently that it […]

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    Simple Ping Blocker is a new browser extension for the Firefox web browser that blocks any pings from being sent when links get activated in the browser.

    Mozilla revealed recently that it would integrate Hyperlink Ping Tracking in the Firefox web browser and enable it by default.

    Ping is a relatively new link attribute that web developers and site operators may add to links. The main idea behind ping is to send clicking information to a resource when links are clicked.

    Ping is a controversial feature as it adds another tracking technology. Unlike the majority of tracking options, ping does not require JavaScript; it works just fine without JavaScript enabled in the browser.

    Users cannot identify ping attributes of links by just looking at them or hovering the mouse cursor over links. Hovering reveals the link target but it does not reveal anything about the use of ping.

    The only option, at the time of writing, is to analyze the source code to check links for ping attributes. You could bypass pings by copying links and loading them manually in the browser's address bar, but that is not very comfortable.

    Google Chrome and most Chromium-based browsers won't have options going forward to disable Hyperlink Ping Auditing. Brave is one of the few Chromium-based browsers that has the feature disabled by default, and it seems that the browser is one of the few with Ping functionality turned off by default.

    Mozilla is still working on integrating Ping in Firefox. The organization plans to enable it by default; whether the current browser.send_pings preference remains available so that users may disable Ping in Firefox remains to be seen.

    It is quite puzzling that Mozilla would enable ping tracking in Firefox by default without user safeguards. Options could include highlighting links with the Ping attribute in a special way, displaying a prompt to users when they first encounter Pings, or better yet, disabling the feature by default but asking users whether they would like to opt-in when it is encountered.

    Simple Ping Blocker

    ping firefox

    Users who don't want to risk it may install the Simple Ping Blocker extension for Firefox. The extension blocks all ping requests but does not modify links to remove the attribute from them or change the destination of the ping.

    Note: uBlock Origin users don't need the extension as the content blocker comes with Ping blocking functionality. Chrome or Chromium users may also install Ping Blocker.

    As far as Simple Ping Blocker is concerned, it is a set and forget kind of extension. Just install it and any ping you encounter from that moment on will be without function.

    Ping is not enabled yet in Firefox and the add-on does not do a thing right now because of that. You could bookmark it to keep it in reach or install it and deactivate it until Mozilla enables Ping to activate it.

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  25. Nvidia GeForce Driver 430.64 fixes high load issue and security issues

    2019-05-10 06:47:25 UTC

    Nvidia released a new GeForce Game Ready Driver on May 9, 2019. The new GeForce 430.64 driver fixes a performance issue in the previous driver version caused by the process nvdisplay.container.exe, and […]

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    Nvidia released a new GeForce Game Ready Driver on May 9, 2019. The new GeForce 430.64 driver fixes a performance issue in the previous driver version caused by the process nvdisplay.container.exe, and addresses security issues in driver components.

    The new driver is already available on Nvidia's official download site for all supported video cards and graphics adapters.

    Note: it is recommended that you install only the driver components that you require, e.g. only the Nvidia video card driver. You may also want to make sure that Telemetry tracking is disabled on your system after driver installation. Programs like NVCleanstall or NVSlimmer may also be used to remove unwanted driver components. End

    Nvidia GeForce Driver 430.64

    nvidia driver 430.64

    The driver series 430 supports Microsoft's Windows 10 May 2019 Update officially. It includes the usual assortment of new game profiles and updates for SLI profiles. This particular release adds Rage 2, Total War: Three Kingdoms and World War Z Game Ready profiles to the system.

    More importantly, it addresses the NVDisplay.Container.exe high CPU usage issue that was introduced in driver 430.39. Nvidia issued a hotfix release already but the GeForce Driver 430.64 is the first official driver release that patches the issue. Users affected by the issue may want to upgrade to the new driver version immediately to resolve the issue.

    The remaining fixes in the release address several crashes and freezes: a crash in Hitman 2, a freeze in Shadow of the Tomb Raider when using SLI, and a crash when using BeamNG. The new release fixes the secondary monitor flickering issue and flickering when launching the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark.

    The release has two unresolved issues on Windows 10. The first produces random crashes in the game Sniper Elite 4, the second affects the VSync setting.

    The new driver version patches a security vulnerability that "may allow access to application data processed on the GPU through a side channel exposed by the GPU performance counters".

    The patch disables access to GPU performance counters for non-admin users. Nvidia notes that administrators may enable access for non-administrators again in the Nvidia Control Panel under Developer > Manage GPU Performance Counters.

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  26. Mozilla apologizes for recent add-on disabling issue and provides details

    2019-05-10 05:20:10 UTC

    The last week has not been great for Mozilla. Last Friday, reports started to come in from around the world that installed add-ons would not verify anymore and were disabled as a […]

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    The last week has not been great for Mozilla. Last Friday, reports started to come in from around the world that installed add-ons would not verify anymore and were disabled as a consequence. Users could not download and install add-ons from Mozilla AMO anymore either.

    Latest figures show that about 60% of Firefox users install add-ons in the browser; any issue affecting 60% of the user base, especially when it comes to personal choices made by those users, is as critical as it gets.

    Mozilla fixed the issue quickly for most users. Quickly still meant that some users had to wait days for their add-ons to work again while others, especially those on older unsupported releases, will still have to wait a bit longer before patches are provided.

    Mozilla apologized on the official blog of the organization today. The company acknowledges that it failed and that it is sorry about what has happened. The organization used the Shield service to deliver fixes to users quickly. Since it required the enabling of Telemetry in the browser, it meant that data would be recorded.

    Mozilla announced in the post that all Telemetry and Studies data collected between May 5th and May 11th will be deleted.

    In order to respect our users’ potential intentions as much as possible, based on our current set up, we will be deleting all of our source Telemetry and Studies data for our entire user population collected between 2019-05-04T11:00:00Z and 2019-05-11T11:00:00Z.

    Mozilla CTO Eric Rescorla published a technical analysis of the issue on the Mozilla Hacks blog. He provides insights into Firefox's add-on signing functionality.

    The root certificate is used to sign a new intermediate certificate, and the intermediate certificate is used to sign end-entity certificates which in turn sign individual add-ons.

    The intermediate certificate needs to be renewed every few years, and it is this renewing that did not happen.

    Each certificate has a fixed period during which it is valid. Before or after this window, the certificate won’t be accepted, and an add-on signed with that certificate can’t be loaded into Firefox. Unfortunately, the intermediate certificate we were using expired just after 1AM UTC on May 4, and immediately every add-on that was signed with that certificate become unverifiable and could not be loaded into Firefox.

    Mozilla decided to generate a new certificate and install it remotely in Firefox to address the issue.

    A post mortem is in the works and will be released soon. Mozilla promises that it will include a list of changes the organization plans to make to avoid any critical issue like this in the future.

    Rescorla thinks that this should include monitoring of any "time bomb" components in the Firefox web browser to address any issue before it reaches users, a new system to push updates to users that does not require Telemetry/Studies, and also a look at the add-on architecture.

    Closing Words

    I think we can all agree that something like the add-on disabling issue should never have happened in first place. It did happen, unfortunately. Mozilla reacted quickly to address the issue. Yes, some users would have liked a better information policy of faster updates, but Mozilla did not really have that many options to fix the issue quickly, especially since it happened over a weekend.

    Mozilla needs to implement safeguards to make sure that this never happens again. The organization won't deactivate the entire add-on signing infrastructure of the Firefox browser, that is clear.

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  27. Mozilla will fix add-on signing issue for older Firefox versions

    2019-05-09 14:50:58 UTC

    Good news for Firefox users who run older versions of the web browser that are not supported anymore officially by Mozilla. Mozilla plans to release updates for these web browsers and also […]

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    Good news for Firefox users who run older versions of the web browser that are not supported anymore officially by Mozilla. Mozilla plans to release updates for these web browsers and also a standalone extension to address the add-on signing issue that caused browser add-ons to fail in all versions of the web browser.

    Mozilla will release an automatic update that fixes the issue for the Firefox versions 52 through 60. Firefox users who run version 61 to 65 may install a browser extension instead to resolve the issue on their end.

    Last Friday, Firefox users from around the world noticed that the Firefox browser would deactivate all installed browser add-ons. Firefox would display the notification "One or more installed add-ons cannot be verified and have been disabled" to users of the browser. All browser extensions were deactivated in the browser, and it was impossible to enable them again or download extensions from the Mozilla Add-ons website.

    firefox add-ons disabled

    Mozilla has yet to publish details on how something like this could happened; from what we know, it was a certificate that expired. Since it expired, it could not be used anymore to verify add-on signatures.

    Mozilla reacted and released a fix through the Firefox browser's Shield studies system at first. The organization pushed out Firefox 66.0.4 and 66.0.5 to the Stable channel, and updates for other Firefox channels as well to resolve the issue.

    While that took care of supported Firefox installations, it ignored Firefox installations that were not on the most recent version of the browser.

    Mozilla updated the blog post that it released on May 4, 2019 several times. Yesterday's update highlights that a fix will be released for older versions of the Firefox web browser that are not supported officially anymore.

    For users who cannot update to the latest version of Firefox or Firefox ESR, we plan to distribute an update that automatically applies the fix to versions 52 through 60. This fix will also be available as a user-installable extension. For anyone still experiencing issues in versions 61 through 65, we plan to distribute a fix through a user-installable extension. These extensions will not require users to enable Studies, and we’ll provide an update when they are available. (May 8. 19:28 EDT)

    It is unclear how the update for Firefox 52 to 60 will be released. Do users have to search for the update (and risk being updated to a new version of Firefox), or is there another way to push an update to Firefox installations. Mozilla revealed that it would not use the Shield service for that. The organization promised that information will be provided once the update is available.

    Mozilla plans to release a browser extension for Firefox 61 to 65 that fixes the issue as well. A link will be provided when it becomes available.

    Closing Words

    The decision to release updates for older versions of Firefox should please users who are still on that older version, and it should put the (conspiracy) theory to rest that Mozilla broke the system deliberately to force users to update to the latest version of the browser.

    Something like this should never have happened; it showed how fragile enforced systems can be and how big of an impact simple things can have. It will be interesting to see how Mozilla plans to make sure that something like this won't happen again in the future.

    Still, it is a good move by Mozilla to release updates for earlier versions. Whether that is the cause for the one-week release delay for the coming Firefox 67 release is unclear at this point.

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  28. Are the days of Windows UWP applications numbered?

    2019-05-09 11:27:36 UTC

    Microsoft has big plans when it released the Windows 10 operating system: make customers forget about Windows 8, reach 1 billion devices running the system in record time, and establish a new […]

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    Microsoft has big plans when it released the Windows 10 operating system: make customers forget about Windows 8, reach 1 billion devices running the system in record time, and establish a new application platform and Store.

    The platform was renamed several times, you may have heard the terms Metro apps, Windows RT apps, Microsoft Store apps, Windows Store apps, Modern apps, or Universal Platform (UWP) apps.

    Microsoft limited availability to the Windows 10 platform which impacted the success of the platform significantly as it excluded the majority of Windows customers from using these apps.

    UWP introduced some long awaited changes such as a central repository (the Store) that was used to distribute applications and update them. Problem was, Win32 were not supported, and there was little in terms of value proposition to convert Win32 applications to UWP apps, especially in the beginning.

    Microsoft promised that UWP applications would offer better performance and security than their non-Store counterparts but it offered a rough experience especially in the beginning. Microsoft had to clean up the Store multiple times and improve it.

    The Desktop App Converter was created to assist developers in converting Win32 applications to the UWP platform.

    The company limited certain Windows 10 features, e.g. inking, to UWP applications to put additional pressure on developers to get their apps converted or created as UWP applications in first place.

    When VLC launched its UWP app in 2016, it was certainly one of the best media players available in the Microsoft Store at that time (and still is). The desktop version of VLC offered more features and was more powerful than the Store version on the other hand, and there was little reason to use the Store app instead of the desktop version. Paint.net is another example.

    The future of apps on Windows

    uwp apps microsoft

    Mary Jo Foley had a chance to talk to Microsoft Corporate VP Kevin Gallo about the future of applications on the Windows platform.

    The main takeaway is that Microsoft changed its strategy in regards to applications on the Windows platform. Instead of seeing UWP as the only way forward, Microsoft now wants to treat UWP and Win32 equally.

    In other words: UWP is not going away, at least not yet, but Microsoft will introduce UWP exclusive components to Win32 as well. The company started the process already, e.g by launching XAML Islands last year which assisted Win32 developers in introducing UWP exclusive interface elements in their applications.

    Foley suggests that Microsoft could be aiming for a new "Microsoft-certified and trusted" program for applications without forcing developers to distribute their apps via the Microsoft Store exclusively.

    It appears that Microsoft won't invest any more energy in trying to persuade developers to create UWP applications or convert existing applications to the platform for publication in the Store.

    Closing Words

    Is Microsoft demoting UWP or elevating Win32? It appears that UWP will play less of a role going forward. Whether that means that UWP will vanish at one point in time or not remains to be seen.

    With Windows Mobile as good as dead, there is even less incentive for Microsoft or developers to create UWP applications.

    Now You: What is your opinion on UWP?

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  29. Firefox might get a Super Private Browsing mode in the future

    2019-05-09 07:25:50 UTC

    Mozilla published the organization's Research Grants for the first half of 2019 yesterday. The 2019H1 funding series seeks answers to 12 research questions in the categories "Growing the Web", "New Interaction Modes", […]

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    Mozilla published the organization's Research Grants for the first half of 2019 yesterday. The 2019H1 funding series seeks answers to 12 research questions in the categories "Growing the Web", "New Interaction Modes", and "Privacy & Security".

    The Privacy & Security group seeks answers and new solutions in two areas: Data, and Privacy & Security in Firefox.

    In the latter, Mozilla states that it has an "interest in potentially integrating more of Tor into Firefox" and that this could lead to a "Super Private Browsing (SPB) mode" for Firefox users.

    firefox tor integration

    Tor Browser, a web browser based on Firefox ESR code that integrates Tor connectivity, is already available. Mozilla started to implement certain Tor features in Firefox as part of the Tor Uplift project.

    Designed to make life easier for developers of Tor and to integrate privacy features in Firefox, Tor Uplift introduced new features in Firefox including a new fingerprinting resisting option.

    The Mozilla Research Grant question goes beyond the Tor Uplift program as it suggests that Tor could be integrated in the Firefox web browser to power the browser's Super Private Browsing mode.

    The following questions are asked:

    • What alternative protocol architectures and route selection protocols would offer acceptable gains in Tor performance? And would they preserve Tor properties?
    • Is it truly possible to deploy Tor at scale? And what would the full integration of Tor and Firefox look like?

    Firefox has hundreds of millions of users; if only a fraction of those would start using an integrated version of Tor in Firefox, it would have to be ensured that the user experience would be acceptable or better.

    Scaling is one issue, and Mozilla would like to know if new protocols would improve Tor performance to address the potential bottleneck. Ultimately, it would come down to finding efficient options to run Tor at a very large scale without compromising anonymity or privacy.

    Closing Words

    Tor integration in Firefox could potentially lead to the retiring of Tor Browser. The Tor development team could continue to work on Tor, this time directly integrated in Firefox. The solution would offer several advantages but also potential issues.

    Tor Browser is based on Firefox ESR. Integrating Tor in Firefox (Stable), would lead to faster development cycles and more issues the team would have to address. Firefox ESR does not get all the new features that Mozilla implements in Firefox directly.

    Now You: Tor integration in Firefox: good or bad idea?

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  30. Waterfox 68 Alpha is out

    2019-05-09 05:58:21 UTC

    Alex Kontos, the developer of the Waterfox web browser, released the first alpha version of the upcoming Waterfox 68 release on May 8, 2019. Waterfox 68 is the next major release of […]

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    Alex Kontos, the developer of the Waterfox web browser, released the first alpha version of the upcoming Waterfox 68 release on May 8, 2019.

    Waterfox 68 is the next major release of the web browser as it moves the web browser to a newer Firefox core. The current version of Waterfox is based on Firefox 56 code.

    If you compare Firefox 56 to 68, you will notice huge changes in regards to support for web technologies, APIs, extensions, and other areas. Mozilla dropped the classic add-ons system of Firefox in version 57.

    Waterfox 68, on the other hand, will still support classic browser extensions to a degree. We talked about the compromise made in that version some days ago. Waterfox 68 uses code developed by the team that develops the Thunderbird email client. The Thunderbird team faced the same difficult situation: it had to update the email client to a newer core but did not want to drop support for classic extensions for Thunderbird just yet.

    It created a solution that reintroduced support for different types of classic extensions in the email client. Waterfox 68 uses the same code to enable support for these classic extensions in the web browser.

    screenshot waterfox 68 alpha

    The Waterfox 68 Alpha release, available on GitHub, can be downloaded for all supported operating systems. Several popular classic extensions, DownThemAll, SaveFileTo, PrivateTab or KeyConfig, are available already as well for download.

    The alpha installer creates a new profile for that version; existing stable profiles should not be touched because of that. I still suggest that you back up existing Waterfox profiles to avoid any issues when testing the alpha build.

    A new profile means that the installation won't pick up any of the installed extensions either. The extensions that are distributed with the release work fine in Waterfox 68. You will notice, however, that you cannot install (some) classic extensions at the time as these require compatibility changes.

    I used Classic Archive to download extensions; some, like Theme Font & Size Changer, installed fine and without issues. Others, like Classic Theme Restorer, did not

    Existing Waterfox users may want to test all of their extensions in the new Waterfox 68 Alpha to find out how many of them are compatible with the new build.

    Benchmark scores have improved significantly when compared to the current version of Waterfox. You should expect scores similar to current versions of the Firefox web browser when it reaches version 68.

    Closing Words

    Waterfox 68 is a development release that is used for testing primarily. Existing Waterfox users may use it to test their extensions against the new version to find out if they can still be used without modification in the new version.

    The new version of Waterfox will come out shortly after Mozilla releases Firefox 68 in July 2019.

    Now You: Are you a Waterfox user? How many of your add-ons are compatible?

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  31. Microsoft releases buggy Office 2016 Patch KB4462238

    2019-05-08 16:10:35 UTC

    Microsoft released non-security updates for Microsoft installed-based versions of Microsoft's Office suite on May 7, 2019. These updates address and fix issues in supported versions of Office but sometimes, they introduce issues […]

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    Microsoft released non-security updates for Microsoft installed-based versions of Microsoft's Office suite on May 7, 2019. These updates address and fix issues in supported versions of Office but sometimes, they introduce issues of their own.

    Turns out, KB4462238 for Microsoft Office 2016 falls in that category of updates. Released to fix synchronization issues in OneNote 2016, the update introduces a bug of its own that affects any installed Office application.

    office kb4462238 2016 issue

    It appears that it breaks hyperlinks in any Office application. Microsoft notes that clicking on hyperlinks may cause the Office application to stop working altogether.

    After this update is installed, clicking a hyperlink in an Office application, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, or Outlook, may cause the application to stop working.

    Microsoft suggests that the update is uninstalled from the system to resolve the issue.

    If you experience this issue, you can uninstall the update by following the instructions in the "More information" section.

    The company provides removal instructions for the update. You may want to check out our in-depth tutorial on uninstalling Windows updates (including Office updates).

    One has to wonder how a major bug like this one slipped through the testing cracks. It is certainly possible that the bug is affecting only a tiny number of machines; Microsoft would have pulled the update, probably, if it would affect all Office installations it is installed on or the majority of them.

    Then again, Microsoft has a track record of releasing buggy updates. Windows 10 version 1809 is a prime example of this; the whole Windows community, at least those on Windows 10, hopes that Microsoft gets Windows 10 version 1903 right the first time it is released later this month.

    Closing Words

    A bug that stops any Office application dead in its track is quite serious; Office administrators and users who have not installed the patch yet may want to consider skipping it until the issue is resolved. OneNote 2016 users who require Sync may want to try installing the patch. Those who don't click on hyperlinks or can avoid clicking on them may do so as well.

    Now You: What is your take on Microsoft and update testing? Should the company invest more in this area? (via Woody)

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  32. Google Chrome: better cookie protections and controls announced

    2019-05-08 12:13:02 UTC

    Google plans to improve cookie controls and protections in upcoming versions of the company's Chrome web browser. The company revealed plans to change how cookies work fundamentally in the web browser in […]

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    Google plans to improve cookie controls and protections in upcoming versions of the company's Chrome web browser.

    The company revealed plans to change how cookies work fundamentally in the web browser in third-party contexts.

    Google Chrome will make use of the SameSite cookie attribute to enforce the new behavior by setting it to lax by default. What this means, essentially, is that the Chrome browser won't send cookies with cross-site requests anymore.

    SameSite supports the three values not set, lax and strict, with not set the default on today's Internet. SameSite defines access rights to cookies and it the attribute is not set at all, cookie sending is not limited.

    A value of strict on the other hand prevents cookies from being sent to all sites in all cross-browsing contexts. In other words, cookies are only sent if the the requesting site matches the site that is shown in the browser's address bar.

    Lax is a compromise between better security and convenience. A Lax value would still block cookies from being sent in third-party contexts, e.g. when requested from a different site, but it would allow cookies to be sent if the user would follow a link to the site.

    The "SameSite" attribute limits the scope of the cookie such that it will only be attached to requests if those requests are same-site, as defined by the algorithm in Section 5.2. For example, requests for "https://example.com/sekrit-image" will attach same-site cookies if
    and only if initiated from a context whose "site for cookies" is "example.com".

    If the "SameSite" attribute's value is "Strict", the cookie will only be sent along with "same-site" requests. If the value is "Lax", the cookie will be sent with same-site requests, and with "cross-site" top-level navigations, as described in Section 5.3.7.1. (via IETF)

    Developers and site operators will have to define SameSite values explicitly if they require different values. If they don't, Lax is enforced.

    The change has significant consequences. First, it is beneficial for security as it protects cookies from cross-site injections and data disclosure attacks like CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) by default. Google plans to limit cross-site cookies to secure contexts (HTTPS) in the future to improve privacy further.

    Google Chrome will feature new cookie controls that "enable users to clear all such cookies" without impacting any "single domain cookies" so that logins and preferences set by single domain cookies are preserved.

    chrome samesite lax cookies

    Chrome users who run development versions of Chrome may experiment with new SameSite defaults already.

    1. SameSite by default cookies enforces the Lax value for all cookies that don't specify the SameSite attribute: Load chrome://flags/#same-site-by-default-cookies and set it to Enabled.
    2. Cookies without SameSite must be secure requires that all cookies without SameSite attribute need to be Secure as well. Cookies that fail to do so will be rejected. Load chrome://flags/#cookies-without-same-site-must-be-secure and set this to enabled.
    3. Restart Google Chrome

    Note that some sites may break when you enable these in Google Chrome. You can undo the changes at any time by setting the experiments to Default or Disabled.

    Mozilla introduced SameSite support in Firefox 60.

    Closing Words

    It is not clear yet when the new controls or regulation is implemented in Chrome Stable. Chrome Canary users can test some of it already. The feature improves protections against CSRF and other attacks significantly.

    Now You: How do you deal with cookies in your browser?

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  33. Vivaldi 2.5 released featuring Razer Chroma support

    2019-05-08 08:52:18 UTC

    Vivaldi Technologies released Vivaldi 2.5, a new version of the company's desktop web browser, to the public on May 8, 2019. The new browser version extends Vivaldi's support for home and entertainment […]

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    Vivaldi Technologies released Vivaldi 2.5, a new version of the company's desktop web browser, to the public on May 8, 2019.

    The new browser version extends Vivaldi's support for home and entertainment devices; it adds support for Razer Chroma devices. Support for Philips Hue devices was added in Vivaldi 1.5 which was released in November 2016.

    Vivaldi users who run the web browser on their devices already may run a manual check for updates if the update is not picked up automatically at this point. All that needs to be done is to select Vivaldi Menu > Help > Check for Updates to run a manual check. The browser should pick up the new version at this point to download and install it on the device.

    The new Vivaldi 2.5 version is also available as a standalone download on the official Vivaldi website.

    Vivaldi 2.5

    vivaldi razer chroma integration

    The big new feature in Vivaldi 2.5 is support for Razer Chroma devices. Razer Chroma brings "immersive lighting effects" to devices that support it. Basically, what it does is change the background lighting or ambient lighting of Chrome devices such as keyboards or mice. Chrome is compatible with Philips Hue devices as well to increase the effect even further.

    Vivaldi's integration changes the lighting of Chroma devices based on the websites that you visit. It picks a dominant color on a site, e.g. blue, and changes the lighting of Chroma devices to the same color.

    Razer Chroma users who use the Vivaldi browsers may enable the feature under Settings > Themes. There they find options to enable Razer Chroma integration in the Vivaldi browser, and to enable it on individual device categories such as keyboards, mouse mats, or mice.

    Here is a demo video by Vivaldi that highlights the new feature:

    Vivaldi 2.5 features new Speed Dial tile sizing options. Speed Dial refers to the browser's new tab page. You may change the default size of Speed Dial icons under Settings > Start Page > Speed Dial.

    Available options are tiny, small, large, huge, default, and scale to fit columns. Tiny and small push more speed dial tiles on the visible portion of the New Tab Page so that you may access more without scrolling. The larger sizes displays fewer but may improve visibility or accessibility.

    vivaldi different speed dial sizes

    The third and final functional addition to Vivaldi adds new tab selection options to the browser. The new commands, available via Quick Commands, keyboard shortcuts, or mouse gestures, add previous, next and related tab selection options to the browser.

    Vivaldi 2.5 comes with a large number of under-the-hood improvements and bug fixes. You can check out the entire changelog on the official website. Check out our in depth Vivaldi review as well.

    Closing Words

    Vivaldi is adding features to the browser that distinguish it from other browsers. Some may say that these have limited use as most Vivaldi users may not have the required devices -- Philips Hue or Razer Chroma -- to take advantage of these features.

    I think it is a valid strategy provided that Vivaldi does not forget to deliver features that the majority of users find useful or may attract new users to the browser. We are still waiting for an Android client and mail support.

    Now You: What is your take on Vivaldi?

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  34. Microsoft revives Power Toys program, makes it open source

    2019-05-08 05:26:11 UTC

    Remember Power Toys? If you worked on PCs when Windows 95 or XP were en vogue, you may remember that Microsoft released a number of useful tools back then to extend the […]

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    Remember Power Toys? If you worked on PCs when Windows 95 or XP were en vogue, you may remember that Microsoft released a number of useful tools back then to extend the functionality of the Windows operating system.

    In 2006, we reviewed TweakUI, an official program by Microsoft to make several changes to the operating system. Other programs included XMouse, a program that would focus a window with the mouse without clicks, Power Calculator, an advanced graphical calculator, Virtual Desktop Manager,  Send to X which added more locations to the Send To menu, or CabView which displayed the content of Cab files.

    The Reboot

    Microsoft powertoys windows 10

    Microsoft made the decision to reboot the PowerToys project; development stopped after Windows XP for the most part, and the new project is the first attempt to revive it.

    The project is inspired by PowerToys from the Windows 95 era according to the project description on GitHub.

    Inspired by the Windows 95 era PowerToys project, this reboot provides power users with ways to squeeze more efficiency out of the Windows 10 shell and customize it for individual workflows

    It is unclear if the tools of the new PowerToys program will work under previous versions of the Windows operating system, or only on Windows 10.

    The rebooted PowerToys project is open source; source code and programs will be released on GitHub, and Microsoft hopes that the first bits will become available in Summer 2019.

    The company revealed the first two programs of the new PowerToys.

    • Maximize to new desktop widget -- The first program displays a new button when users hover with the mouse cursor over the maximize button on any window. A click on the new button sends the app to a new desktop and maximizes it on that new desktop.
    • Windows key shortcut guide -- The program displays a shortcut reference or cheat sheet when the Windows-key is held down for more than one second. It displays available shortcuts "for the current state of the desktop".

    Microsoft considers several other tools currently. While no decision has been made, the company asks the community for active input.

    • Full window manager including specific layouts for docking and undocking laptops
    • Keyboard shortcut manager
    • Win+R replacement
    • Better alt+tab including browser tab integration and search for running apps
    • Battery tracker
    • Batch file re-namer
    • Quick resolution swaps in taskbar
    • Mouse events without focus
    • Cmd (or PS or Bash) from here
    • Contents menu file browsing

    If you ask me, I'd like to see an official keyboard shortcut manager, improved window manager, and Win+R replacement. PowerToys are extra components that users may install on their devices just like any third-party application.

    Closing Words

    I used different PowerToys a lot back in the days and the revival is certainly a good idea as it adds optional functionality to the Windows operating system. Whether the tools will be Windows 10 exclusive remains to be seen, though.

    Now You: Feel free to share your opinion about the reboot or PowerToys in general below. (via Born)

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  35. Tor Browser 8.0.9 update resolves add-on signing issue

    2019-05-07 13:31:55 UTC

    Tor Browser 8.0.9 was released on May 7, 2019 to the public. The new version addresses a major issue in Mozilla's add-on signing platform that caused verification to fail. Tor Browser is […]

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    Tor Browser 8.0.9 was released on May 7, 2019 to the public. The new version addresses a major issue in Mozilla's add-on signing platform that caused verification to fail.

    Tor Browser is based on Firefox ESR code, and since Firefox ESR, and any other version of Firefox, was affected by the issue, so was Tor Browser.

    The privacy-focused browser comes with several add-ons installed that improve privacy. One notable extension is NoScript as it blocks all (or most) JavaScript from execution. Scripts may serve legitimate purposes, e.g. provide functionality on websites, but they may also be used for fingerprinting, tracking, the serving of advertisement, and even malicious attacks or the distribution of malware.

    The Tor project informed users of the browser about the issue on its website

    Tor users found the add-ons NoScript, HTTPS Everywhere, Torbutton, and TorLauncher disabled, and marked as legacy extensions. The same happened to Firefox users worldwide who all lost access to their installed extensions.

    Mozilla fixed the issue in the meantime in Firefox (including Firefox ESR), and Tor Browser 8.0.9 does the same. Means, add-ons should show up as installed again after Tor Browser is updated to the new version or installed anew.

    Note: The Brave browser supports Tor as well; it was not affected by the issue.

    Tor Browser 8.0.9

    tor browser 8.0.9

    Tor users and admins can download the latest version of the web browser from the official project website. It is available for the desktop operating systems Windows, Mac OS and Linux, and the mobile operating system Android.

    You may run an update check by opening Menu > Help > About Tor Browser.

    Tor users who use the built-in extensions or others are encouraged to update to the new version to fix the issue. Add-ons should return to the enabled state automatically after the update.

    The entire changelog:

    Update Torbutton to 2.0.13

    Bug 30388: Make sure the updated intermediate certificate keeps working

    Backport fixes for bug 1549010 and bug 1549061 *

    Bug 30388: Make sure the updated intermediate certificate keeps working *

    Update NoScript to 10.6.1

    Bug 29872: XSS popup with DuckDuckGo search on about:tor

    Tor users who disabled add-on signing in the browser to fix the issue temporarily may want to consider enabling it again. This is done by loading about:config in the browser's address bar, searching for xpinstall.signatures.required and setting the preference to True.

    True means that Firefox will verify the certificate of installed extensions and extensions that are about to be installed in the browser. Extensions without valid certificate cannot be installed or used if the setting is enabled (with some exceptions, e.g. temporary add-ons). (via Born)

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  36. Microsoft unveils new open source Windows Terminal

    2019-05-07 06:39:49 UTC

    Microsoft released the source code of a new Windows Terminal application today featuring multi-tab support, improved font rendering, and more. The company plans to add Windows Terminal to the Microsoft Store for […]

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    Microsoft released the source code of a new Windows Terminal application today featuring multi-tab support, improved font rendering, and more.

    The company plans to add Windows Terminal to the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 devices soon to make it available to more users.

    Windows Terminal won't replace any command line interface of the Windows operating system, at least not in the near future. Microsoft positions it as a new modern interface that developers and administrators may use instead of the command line interfaces that are included in the Windows operating system.

    The decision to create a new Terminal application for Windows was made after it became clear that the Windows console host, conhost.exe, could not be used to implement many of the features that Microsoft and the community wanted.

    Windows Terminal

    windows terminal screenshot

    One of the big features of the new Windows Terminal application is multi-tab support. You may remember that Microsoft planned to introduce support for tabs natively to the Shell in the Windows 10 operating system but decided to remove the feature that it called Sets again from development builds.

    Sets allowed anyone to combine multiple application windows in a single container for easier handling and manageability.

    Windows Terminal's tab support feature adds options to launch multiple different terminals from a single command line interface. You can use it to run PowerShell, the Command Prompt, and any installed Linux Terminal, and to switch between the terminals with just a click on a tab in the program window.

    The new terminal application is fully backwards compatible with existing solutions.

    Microsoft notes that Windows Terminal uses a GPU accelerated DirectWrite/DirectX-based text rendering engine. It paves the way for using any text character, symbol, emoji, ligatures, or glyphs installed on the device next to improved text output and rendering improvements.

    console output

    Microsoft created a new monospaced font for Windows Terminal that includes programming ligatures and will be open sourced as well.

    Windows Terminal will provide users with customization and configuration options. Settings are stored in structured text files so that users may tinker with the settings directly. One interesting feature is the ability to configure each Terminal individually.

    These profiles can have their own combination of font styles and sizes, color themes, background blur/transparency levels, etc. You can now create your own custom-styled Terminal that is personalized to your unique taste!

    Now you: do you use a Terminal application?

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