Software en Microsoft Expands Availability of Office 2016 to General Public <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/office_2016.jpg" alt="Office 2016" title="Office 2016" width="228" height="147" style="float: right;" />Getting situated in a new Office</h3> <p>Make no mistake, Microsoft's head (and heart) is in the cloud, hence the growing number of subscription-based services. But if you're more grounded to the desktop, fear not, the Redmond giant hasn't forgotten about you. In fact, <strong>Microsoft today expanded the availability of its Office 2016 Preview</strong> suite as it seeks feedback from a broader audience leading up to the software's general availability this fall.</p> <p>Office 2016 introduces several changes and improvements to the productivity suite. Starting with Word, Microsoft is bringing co-authoring capabilities to Office 2016. When you and your team are online, you'll be also to what other editors are working on and what changes they're making, and see it in real-time.</p> <p>Individual applications will get smarter the more you use them, too.</p> <p>"Applications will learn as you work, taking advantage of subtle cues and clues to help you stay on task and get more out of Office," Microsoft explained in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>There's a new search tool called "Tell Me" available in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that brings up commands you need just by typing what you want to do. In addition, the suite introduces Clutter, a new Exchange feature that lights up in OUtlook and uses machine learning to analyze your email patters and de-clutter your inbox. It does this by moving lower priority messages into a dedicated Clutter folder.</p> <p>You can grab the Office 2016 Preview by <a href="" target="_blank">going here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft Office 2016 Software News Mon, 04 May 2015 18:08:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29825 at Microsoft CFO Discusses Windows as a Service Strategy <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_way_0.jpg" alt="Microsoft Way" title="Microsoft Way" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Reacting to declining Windows sales</h3> <p>Microsoft surprised a lot of folks when it announced that Windows 10 would be a <a href="">free upgrade</a> for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, especially after explaining that the new operating system was such a departure over previous versions that it warranted <a href="">skipping a version number</a>. As many speculated, the free upgrade is part of <strong>Microsoft's strategy of shifting to Windows as a service. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood talked a little about the shift</strong> and where the company is headed.</p> <p>Transitioning to a Windows as a service business model essentially means that Microsoft will be more focused on generating revenue from search, apps, and cloud-based subscription services that tie into the operation system. But why now? As Hood explained during a meeting with Wall Street analysts last week, as consumer PC shipments weakened, so did Microsoft's Windows sales.</p> <p>"We adjusted our approach in terms of SKU strategy, making sub 9-in. devices free," said Hood, according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>ComputerWorld</em></a>. "We added new pricing strategy for opening price point devices. And we had programs to drive genuine Windows attach in high-piracy markets."</p> <p>Microsoft hopes that by reducing and in some cases eliminating the cost of Windows of licenses, it will drive up device sales, creating a larger customer base for its services and ads. With the introduction of Windows 10, Microsoft will be taking a big step in that direction.</p> <p>Surprisingly enough, Bing is one reason why Microsoft can afford to gamble on this strategy. The revenue from Bing advertising, which has increased, has mostly made up for declining revenue of Windows licenses. PC gaming revenue also helped in that regard, just to a lesser degree.</p> <p>There's still the question of whether Microsoft's Windows as a service strategy means it will transition to a subscription cost of Windows. That could still be in the cards, though it's worth noting Hood didn't talk about or hint at such a model, and instead focused on revenue from tie-in services.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software Windows Windows as a Service News Mon, 04 May 2015 15:04:57 +0000 Paul Lilly 29824 at Microsoft Puts Windows Media Center Out to Pasture <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Windows Media Center" title="Windows Media Center" width="228" height="127" style="float: right;" />Active development ceased in 2009</h3> <p><strong>Windows Media Center hasn’t been part of Microsoft’s plans since at least 2009, when Microsoft disbanded the team behind it and ceased active development</strong>. And the Media Center add-on that has been available for Windows 8 is a paid offering, even though it boasts nothing new over the Windows 7 version. But Microsoft, it seems, has finally had enough.</p> <p>When the Windows 10 Technical Preview first came out in late 2014, some people noticed it was <a href="" target="_blank">possible to get the add-on to work with the new OS by providing a valid Windows 8.1 Media Center Pack product key</a>. This method was, however, fraught with several issues, and Microsoft advised users against adding the software to Windows 10 Technical Preview, saying it “did not intend for you to be able to use a purchased product key on a preview build.” Looks like that was just a mistake, of which there won’t be any repeat.</p> <p>According to ZDNet’s Ed Bott, a Microsoft exec told him during the course of a private conversation at Build that <a href="" target="_blank">there would be no update to Media Center for Windows 10</a>. Nor will the current version be available as an add-on. So, in other words, existing Media Center users will have to bid farewell to the software the moment they upgrade to Windows 10.</p> <p>Seeing as how only a small subset of Windows users ever used it and given the rapid increase in the population of so-called “cord cutters” and “cord nevers”, Microsoft didn’t have much of a choice. Or do you disagree?</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> dvr microsoft recording Software windows 10 Windows Media Center News Mon, 04 May 2015 06:33:54 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29820 at Unreal Engine 4 Adds Support for SteamVR <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/htc_vive.jpg" alt="HTC Vive" title="HTC Vive" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />Let's get virtual</h3> <p>The value proposition of using Epic Games' Unreal Engine keeps getting better. Just under two months ago, Epic ditched the $19 per month subscription free, opting instead to give budding developers <a href="">free and unfettered access</a> to its complete C++ source code hosted in GitHub while continuing to collect a 5 percent royalty on gross revenue after the $3,000 per project. Now <strong>Epic is adding support for SteamVR in Unreal Engine 4</strong>, the company announced today.</p> <p>Support for SteamVR will roll out in next week's first preview release of Unreal Engine 4.8, thereby giving developers the tools they need to create expansive virtual reality environments and experiences. SteamVR is being completely integrated into UE4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code, which allows projects to be built without dependency on programmer support.</p> <p>This is entirely new ground for UE4 -- it already has the tools to support platforms like Oculus Rift, Samsung's Gear VR, and Sony's Project Morpheus. But SteamVR is a different beast. It allows for a greater range of motion that extends to about the size of a small room. By comparison, Rift and Morpheus are limited to just a few steps, at best.</p> <p>"This technology is incredibly freeing," said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic. "There is a magical sense of immersion in walking around a VR space and directly interacting with it."</p> <p>The HTC Vive Developer Edition kit (headset, two single-handed controllers, and tracking system) that's built to take advantage of SteamVR will be out in spring of this year.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Epic Games Software steamvr unreal engine 4 Valve virtual reality vr News Thu, 30 Apr 2015 19:14:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 29815 at Microsoft Lays Groundwork for Android and iOS Apps to Run on Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_android.jpg" alt="Windows Android" title="Windows Android" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />One big 'appy family</h3> <p>Even though Microsoft's been giving us a glimpse of Windows 10 by way of Technical Previews and a spattering of blog posts, the Redmond outfit kept more than a few tricks up its sleeve. One of those tricks is getting Android and iOS apps to run on Windows 10 without tasking developers with rebuilding their code. How? <strong>Microsoft is offering a couple of SDKs that will make it relatively easy for iOS and Android developers to port their apps to Windows 10</strong>.</p> <p>For iOS apps, the solution is called Project Islandwood. This is a set of tools that will allow iOS developers to use their existing Objective C code with minimal changes. The magic happens via middleware that offers APIs their code is already looking for. Developers who've tested Project Islandwood say they've only had to make minor changes, including Candy Crush Saga's developers, who said they only changed a "few percent" of code for their Windows 10 port, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>ArsTechnica</em></a>.</p> <p>Android's toolkit is called Project Astoria. The idea is to get Android apps to run on Windows Mobile, now the official name for Windows 10 on phones and sub-8 inch tablets. Project Astoria will include an Android runtime layer capable of running existing Android apps written in both Java and C++. What's unique about Project Astoria compared to Project Islandwood is that no recompiling is required on the part of the developer.</p> <p>"We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications," Microsoft's Terry Myerson <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>The Verge</em></a>.</p> <p>These toolkits should go a long way towards that goal.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> android apps ios microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Wed, 29 Apr 2015 20:26:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29811 at Valve Closes Door on Steam Workshop's Paid Mod Program <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/free_the_mods.jpg" alt="Free the Mods" title="Free the Mods" width="228" height="183" style="float: right;" />Easy come, easy go</h3> <p><strong>Mere days after opening up the Steam Workshop to <a href="">paid mods</a>, Valve has decided to reverse course and go back to the way things were</strong>. In other words, modders can no longer sell their Skyrim mods, which was the first (and only) game to kick off the short-lived initiative. In a statement explaining the reversal, Valve said that jumping into a years old modding community was a pretty poor decision.</p> <p>Valve went into this newest venture with good intentions, and of course to make money -- modders would only receive 25 percent of the revenue they generated, which was one of the knocks against the program. Nevertheless, Valve says that in the past, allowing community creators to receive a share of the rewards has been received well, but it's now obvious that this is a different animal.</p> <p>"We underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim's workshop. We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating," Valve said. "We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there's a useful feature somewhere here."</p> <p>The hotly debated program received criticism from a number of different angles. In addition to taking issues with royalties, gamers feared that paid mods would divide the community, many of which want to keep these things free. There was also concern over policing the mods for stolen content, along with crappy mods being put out by people looking to make a quick buck.</p> <p>All these concerns led to a <a href="" target="_blank">petition on</a> that received over 133,000 signatures. This no doubt played a role in Valve's decision to end the program, along with the "dump truck of feedback" that flooded its inboxes.</p> <p>On the flip side, some big names supported the program, including Garry Newman (Garry's Mod) and FMPONE (Counter Strike modder). You can throw Gabe Newell into the mix as well, who recently <a href="" target="_blank">took to <em>Reddit</em></a> to answer questions about the now defunct program.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games modding mods Skyrim Software Steam Valve News Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:55:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 29802 at Valve Gives Developers Green Light to Sell Game Mods on Steam <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/skyrim_0.jpg" alt="Skyrim" title="Skyrim" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Good or bad idea?</h3> <p>In what ranks as a truly game changing announcement (literally), <strong>Valve has cleared the way for developers to sell their mods in the Steam Workshop</strong>. That also includes game content such as items and maps, all of which can be made available for sale directly in the Steam Workshop for titles that enable feature. Kicking off the initiative is Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which is free to play until April 26.</p> <p>"We think this is a great opportunity to help support the incredible creative work being done by mod makers in the Steam Workshop," <a href=";headlines=1" target="_blank">says Tom Bui at Valve</a>. "User generated content is an increasingly significant component of many games, and opening new avenues to help financially support those contributors via Steam Workshop will help drive the level of UGC to new heights."</p> <p>Developers aren't forced to charge for their mods and can continue to make their content available for free, though if they want to make at run at monetizing their efforts, they're in control of the price.</p> <p>Looking through the <a href=";browsesort=trend&amp;section=readytouseitems&amp;requiredflags%5B%5D=paiditems" target="_blank">available paid Skyrim mods</a>, some are as low as a quarter, others are several dollars. There are only 18 to choose from right now, though the interface is built to handle many more, allowing gamers to sort by category such as Alchemy, Animals, Factions, and so forth.</p> <p>Buyers have up to 24 hours to request a refund for a mod that they either don't like or is broken.</p> <p>Not everyone is stoked about Valve's initiative. Some take issue with the royalties -- creators only keep 25 percent of their sales, and potentially less if they've added contributors to their mods. The rest is split between Valve and the game's publisher.</p> <p>Others worry that paid mods will become the norm, not the exception, essentially killing off the free mod category. There's even a <a href="" target="_blank">petition on</a> going around to remove the paid content, which has amassed over 21,000 signatures.</p> <p>What's your opinion on this? Are you behind Valve in this venture, or are you more likely to sign the petition?</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games mods Skyrim Software Steam Valve News Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:52:30 +0000 Paul Lilly 29782 at Microsoft Expands Bug Bounty Program to Include Project Spartan <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_bugs.jpg" alt="Microsoft Bugs" title="Microsoft Bugs" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Find bugs, get paid</h3> <p>If you're good at finding security flaws in software, you could add more than just a little jingle to your pockets. That's because <strong>Microsoft is significantly expanding its bug bounty program</strong>, part of which includes a new bounty for Project Spartan, the codename for Microsoft's new browser found in Windows 10. You could make up to $15,000 per security vulnerability, depending on what you uncover.</p> <p>"Microsoft’s new browser will be the onramp to the internet for millions of users when Windows 10 launches later this year. Securing this platform is a top priority for the browser team," Microsoft stated in a blog post today.</p> <p>The bounty includes Remote Code Execution and Sandbox Escapes, as well as design-level security bugs discovered between today and June 22, 2015. Microsoft says to be sure and use the latest version released in the Windows 10 Technical Preview. Bugs that pay range in reward from $500 to $15,000. For specifics of the program, <a href=";MSPPError=-2147217396" target="_blank">see here</a>.</p> <p>Microsoft will also line your pockets with cash for certain bugs you might discover in Azure, the company's cloud platform and the backbone of its cloud services. This applies to Azure virtual machines, Azure Cloud Services, Azure Storage, Azure Active Directory, and other Azure services. Like Project Spartan, the maximum payout per bug is $15,000.</p> <p>"Bug bounties are an increasingly important part of the vulnerability research and defense ecosystem and will continue to evolve over time. We will be regularly managing the Microsoft Bounty Programs to help us best protect our many users," Microsoft added.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> azure browser bug bounty microsoft project spartan Software News Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:30:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 29768 at Fedora 22 Hits the Ground Running in Beta Form <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/fedora.jpg" alt="Fedora" title="Fedora" width="228" height="198" style="float: right;" />Looking beyond Windows</h3> <p>Much of what we cover on <em>Maximum PC</em> revolves around Microsoft's Windows operating system, though lest anyone forget, there's this alternative called Linux. And of course there are many varieties of Linux to choose from, including <strong>Fedora 22 beta, which is now available</strong>. According to the Fedora Project, desktop and workstation users may not notice huge changes, but will see better performance behind the scenes in managing updates.</p> <p>Furthermore, Fedora users who manage applications using the command line will note that the updated package manager for RPM-based Linux distributions called "DNF" is faster while still keeping CLI compatibility with Yum for most tasks.</p> <p>There are three distinct editions of Fedora 22, all in beta form. They include Fedora 22 Cloud, which includes a Vagrant image for Fedora 22 Atomic Host Beta along with the addition of the Atomic command to provide a single point for managing host updates and container; Fedora 22 Server, which adds the new Database Server role through Rolekit and updates to the Cockpit management application; and Fedora 22 Workstation, which offers a refined Fedora desktop experience with better GNOME alerts, expanded use of Wayland, and some other tweaks.</p> <p>You should always consider beta software carefully since it likely still contains bugs that need eradicated, though reports around the web is that Fedora 22 is pretty polished, as was the Alpha release.</p> <p>Download links:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Fedora 22 Workstation</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank">Fedora 22 Server</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank">Fedora 22 Cloud</a><br /><a href="" target="_blank">Fedora 22 Spins</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Fedora 22 linux open source operating system red hat Software News Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:53:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29762 at AMD Boss Points to End of July for Windows 10 Release <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_laptop_0.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Laptop" title="Windows 10 Laptop" width="228" height="149" style="float: right;" />Mark your calendars?</h3> <p>Microsoft's been fairly mum when it comes to offering a release date for Windows 10, though the company has said to expect it sometime "this summer." That's only semi-helpful if you're planning a new build around Windows 10 and don't want to bother with the free upgrade. In that case, how's end of July suit you? <strong>During an earnings call last week, AMD CEO Lisa Su let slip that Windows 10 will launch in just three months</strong>.</p> <p>"What we also are factoring in is, you know, with the Windows 10 launch at the end of July, we are watching sort of the impact of that on the back-to-school season, and expect that it might have a bit of a delay to the normal back-to-school season inventory build-up," Su said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to <em>VentureBeat</em></a>.</p> <p>So end of July it is, right? Well, we still don't know for sure. Microsoft could come out and deny that Su knows what she's talking about. Or if the end of July time frame is accurate, it's not known if that will be when OEMs get their paws on Windows 10 (RTM, or Release to Manufacturing) or if that's when consumers will be able to pick up a copy and/or upgrade.</p> <p>Either way, this is the most reliable source yet outside of Microsoft, which itself isn't ready to announce specific dates. If the end of July time frame Su referenced is indeed for RTM status, you can probably expect the general release to consumers in August.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd Lisa Su microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:27:59 +0000 Paul Lilly 29757 at Grand Theft Auto V Includes Features Found in AMD's Gaming Evolved Program <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gtav_screen.jpg" alt="GTA V Screen" title="GTA V Screen" width="228" height="143" style="float: right;" />Say hello to Contact Hardening Shadows</h3> <p>So what's the verdict, was Grand Theft Auto V for the PC worth the wait? It's a question that can spark a debate, and if you're in the "Yes!" camp, one piece of evidence to support your claim is GTA V's inclusion of features included in AMD's Gaming Evolved program, such as <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">into AMD's Gaming Evolved program</span>. <span style="text-decoration: line-through;">As part of that, </span><strong><span style="text-decoration: line-through;">GTA V supports a feature that's called</span> Contact Hardening Shadows (CHS) for rendering more realistic soft shadows</strong>.</p> <p>You'll find the feature by heading into the Settings menu and selecting Graphics &gt; Soft Shadows. One of the options is "AMD CHS," and what it does is either harden or soften a shadow depending on the distance of the shadow from the light source. It also takes into consideration the object casting the shadow.</p> <p>"This means softer shadows that diffuse more realistically," AMD says.</p> <p>If you're rocking a GeForce graphics card, fear not, similar effects are provided by what Nvidia calls "Percentage Closer Soft Shadows" (PCSS).</p> <p>"PCSS, if you're unaware, introduces shadows that progressively and smoothly soften as the distance from the casting object increases, as in real life," Nvidia explains in a <a href=";;xs=1&amp;isjs=1&amp;;xguid=caefac69b80641f50471f76ca346bb68&amp;xuuid=87bba66542bd88fd1d128f6c30671db7&amp;xsessid=9f2017d1e68299774d84d875397a46e2&amp;xcreo=0&amp;xed=0&amp;;;xtz=240&amp;abp=1" target="_blank">blog post</a>. "For example, the shadow from the trunk of a tree will be sharp, and the shadows on the leaves seen some distance away will be soft."</p> <h3>Drivers</h3> <p>We already told you about Nvidia's Game Ready <a href="" target="_blank">350.12 WHQL driver</a> for GTA V. What about AMD? While the Omega 14.12 is still the most recent stable release (12/9/2014), AMD does have available a beta driver, version 15.4, that's been optimized for GTA V. It also includes Crossfire profiles for GTA V, Dying Light, Galactic Civilization III, Meta Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Mortal Combat X, and Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition, along with updated Crossfire profiles for Battlefield Hardline, Far Cry 4, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and Sniper Elite 3.</p> <p>You can read the <a href="" target="_blank">release notes here</a> and download the <a href="" target="_blank">beta driver here</a>.</p> <h3>Update</h3> <p>An AMD spokesperson got in touch with <em>Maximum PC</em> to let us know that the company erred in boasting that GTA V is an official Gaming Evolved title. It is not, though it does have Gaming Evolved features.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd Contact Hardening Shadows games gaming evolved Grand Theft Auto V gta v rockstar games Software News Wed, 15 Apr 2015 15:46:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 29739 at Windows 10 Build 10056 Sneaks Onto the Internet <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Windows 10 Build 10056" title="Windows 10 Build 10056" width="228" height="142" style="float: right;" />There’s a new version of Microsoft Solitaire Collection in this one</h3> <p>It’s time for your weekly dose of Windows 10 builds. Over the past month or so alone, we’ve had as many as five new builds—both official releases and leaks—with the last one finding its way onto the Internet Friday. (A few more and we’ll soon have to do a “This Week in Windows 10 Builds” roundup.) <strong>Build 10056 includes a new version of Microsoft’s iconic Solitaire card game(s), a new dark OS theme, and a few more things</strong>.</p> <p>Windows 8, as many of you may know, doesn’t include Solitaire, although you can download the <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Solitaire Collection</a> from the Windows Store. But build 10056 is different in that it includes a new version of the Solitaire game collection by default. There are five games in all: Klondike , Spider, FreeCell, Pyramid, and TriPeaks. Sadly, it can’t save any user data at this stage.</p> <p>Moving onto some serious stuff now. The dark theme that we first caught a glimpse of in November is here. In fact, the task bar is dark by default. The Start Menu UI has changed considerably as well: the Power button has been relegated to the bottom (just above the “All apps” option), there are now two columns of Live Tiles by default, and you can resize the Start Menu.</p> <p>There are a <a href="" target="_blank">number of other minor changes and UI refinements</a> throughout the build, including within the Settings, Weather, Sports, Finance and News apps. A more complete list of changes can be found <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Image Credit: Wzor</em></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> build 10056 leak operating system Software technical preview windows 10 News Mon, 13 Apr 2015 08:38:32 +0000 Pulkit Chandn 29725 at Can Your PC Handle Grand Theft Auto V in 4K? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gtav_4.jpg" alt="GTA V" title="GTA V" width="228" height="127" style="float: right;" />Rockstar Games discusses GTA V's 4K requirements</h3> <p>After numerous delays, Grand Theft Auto V is finally set to release on Windows-based PCs on April 14, 2015, otherwise known as next Tuesday. It's been a long, excruciating wait -- GTA V first shipped to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles on September 17...2013! -- and in hopes of renewing interest in PC gamers who have moved on from being excited about the title, Rockstar Games has added a bunch of goodies, one of which is the ability to run the game at 4K, provided your PC can handle it.</p> <p>Our sister site <a href="" target="_blank"><em>PC Gamer</em></a> reached out to Rockstar Games to find out what players will need to run at 4K, and surprisingly enough, dual GPUs won't necessarily be required. Heck, you don't even need a GTX 980 caliber card.</p> <p>As Rockstar Toronto's president Kevin Hoare tells it, "to run the game on a 4k display at 30fps, you'll need at minimum an AMD HD 7870 or Nvidia GTX 760 with 2GB of VRAM." Not too shabby. To run on a 4K display at 60fps, that's where Hoare says you'll need a "high-end SLI or Crossfire setup."</p> <p>According to Hoare, there will be a ton of graphics options to tweak, giving the user fairly robust control over finding a balance between graphical eye candy and high framerates.</p> <p>"One of the lessons we have learned over the years through Grand Theft Auto IV and Max Payne 3 on PC was that people want the freedom to configure their system to suit their preferences," Hoare said.</p> <p>Assuming you're still interested, GTA V for PC is still <a href="" target="_blank">available for pre-order</a> for around $60 at several online locations. Those who do may be eligible to receive $1.2 million of in-game currency ($500,000 for GTA V and $700,000 for GTA Online), plus a bonus $150,000 for GTA Online.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 4k games Grand Theft Auto V gta v Software News Thu, 09 Apr 2015 17:53:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 29716 at How to Remove Windows Malware for Free <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/fix.jpg" alt="Fix" title="Fix" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Return a bug-infested PC to pristine condition</h3> <p>Your smartphone begins to vibrate. Not the quick vibration that would indicate it's an incoming text message, but a longer one associated with a phone call. Yes, people still communicate via voice, and thanks to Caller ID, you know it's your parents on the other end. It's been a few weeks since you've heard from them and a funny feeling begins to fill the pit of your stomach. You know what's coming next.</p> <p>A plea for PC help. You listen intently as your folks describe hijacked web searches, a toolbar they don't recognize, and sluggish behavior. Oh, and there are pop-ups. Lots and lots of pop-ups. The list of ailments goes on like a kid reciting a Christmas list to Santa Clause. Only instead of toys and candy, it's rogue programs and malware. It's a good thing you installed TeamViewer because trying to fix the problem over the phone is a time-consuming process that always ends the same way—"I'll be over in the morning."</p> <p>Or maybe you didn't install TeamViewer and you really will be over in the morning. Either way, the task at hand is to rid a system of malware. Perhaps it's your own system, especially if you let little Billy and sweet little Suzy hop on for a spell. Whatever the case may be, don't panic. <strong>Removing malware, while seemingly daunting, isn't all that difficult. Like anything else, you just need the proper know-how and tools, both of which we'll provide here</strong>. Be sure to read the entire guide before embarking on your malware removal journey.</p> <h3>Scrub the Browser(s)</h3> <p>Toolbars, hijacked web searches, and pop-ups are often the result of malware, adware, and or other unwanted-ware that was either installed without permission, or sneaked in through a legitimate application through the fine print, usually when installing a free program. That Spongebob screensaver pack that little Billy installed from a site he can't remember? Yeah, we're guessing he mashed the "Okay" or "Next" button throughout the process, at one point agreeing to change your browser's settings. Cut him some slack, the kid still eats his boogers.</p> <p>Luckily, these are usually easy fixes. Here's what you need to do.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Internet Explorer</strong></span><br />Let's start with Internet Explorer. Click the <strong>Gear (Tools)</strong> icon in the upper-right corner and select <strong>Manage add-ons</strong>. On the left-hand side is a column of categories: Toolbars and Extensions, Search Providers, Accelerators, and Tracking Protection. It's the first three that are of interest, starting with Toolbars and Extensions.</p> <p>See anything you don't recognize? Maybe something like "DealBuddy" or some other descriptor that's a clear giveaway? Click it and select <strong>Remove</strong> or <strong>Disable</strong>. If it's an entry you don't recognize, look it up on Google or your search engine of choice. In most cases, however, unwanted entries will stick out like a pimple on prom night.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/ie_add-ons.jpg" alt="IE Manage Add Ons" title="IE Manage Add Ons" width="620" height="364" /></p> <p>The same goes for the Search Providers category. The only thing you should see is Bing unless you've added another search provider, like Google. We're making this up (we think), but let's say the default entry is "CouponPal." The option to remove is grayed out, but that's only because it's the default search option. Click on one of the other options—Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.—and punch the <strong>Set as default button</strong>, then return to CouponPal and click <strong>Remove</strong>.</p> <p>Now let's rinse and repeate for the Accelerators category. Is there a rogue entry? Remove or disable it. When you're finished with all these, close out the Manage add-ons window. Return to the <strong>Gear (Tools)</strong> icon and select Internet <strong>Options</strong>. Navigate to the <strong>General</strong> tab if you're not already there and look at the Home page section. Oftentimes adware will replace the default homepage with its own entry, which will load each time you fire up IE. Highlight the hijacked entry and change it to whatever you want, like (c'mon, show us some love!) and click <strong>Apply</strong>. Now hit <strong>OK</strong>, close IE, and reload it. If you haven't missed anything, it should work as new again. And if not, you may have a deeper malware problem, which we'll get to in a moment.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Chrome</strong></span><br />The steps are similar in Chrome. To check if the default search engine's been changed, click the <strong>three horizontal lines (Chrome Menu)</strong> in the upper-right corner and select <strong>Settings</strong>. Under the Search heading, click <strong>Manage search engines</strong>. Hover your mouse over whichever one you want to be the default and click <strong>Make default</strong>. Next, hover over the rogue entry and click the X button on the right to remove it.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/chrome_extensions.jpg" alt="Chrome Extensions" title="Chrome Extensions" width="620" height="473" /></p> <p>Also in the Settings menu is an <strong>On startup</strong> heading with three options: Open the New Tab page, Continue where you left off, and Open a specific page or set of pages. If your homepage has been taken over, click the <strong>Set Pages</strong> hyperlink next to the Open a specific page or set of pages option. Go ahead and delete the rogue entry and/or enter whichever page you'd like to load at startup. Alternately, you can use one of the other options.</p> <p>Go back to the Chrome menu and select <strong>More Tools &gt; Extensions</strong>. Here is where you'll see a list of installed add-ons, like Adblock (which we hope you've disabled on Maximum PC—we've gotta eat!), Google Play Music, or whatever. See any entries that shouldn't be there? Click the trash icon to dispose of them.</p> <p>Remember to close Chrome and reload it.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>Firefox</strong></span><br />In Firefox, click the <strong>three horizontal lines (Firefox Menu)</strong> and select <strong>Options</strong>. Under the <strong>Search</strong> tab, you'll see a pull-down menu with your default search option, and under that a list of search engines. Highlight any rogue entries and click <strong>Remove</strong>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/firefox_options.jpg" alt="Firefox Options" title="Firefox Options" width="590" height="628" /></p> <p>Next, navigate to the <strong>General</strong> tab to make changes to your homepage. If it's been taken over, you'll most likely see the address here. Change it to whatever you want, or click the <strong>Restore to Default</strong> button.</p> <p>Firefox has long supported extensions and plugins. To access them, go back to the <strong>Firefox menu</strong> and select <strong>Add-ons</strong>. Remove any rogue extensions, or if you're unsure, click the disable button to see how it affects your browser. You can always come back and remove it.</p> <p>Following the above steps will help restore your browser(s) to the way it was operating before adware dug its claws in. However, it might not remove the root cause if there's a deeper malware infection. <a href=",1">Let's move on.</a></p> <hr /> <h3>Just Uninstall It</h3> <p>Not all malware is highly sophisticated. Many of them can be uninstalled just like any other program, so before you go any further, bring up the Control Panel and head over to Programs and Features. Scan the list for any signs of adware, toolbars, or anything else that's obviously unwanted software and simply uninstall it. Is your system back to normal? If so, then great, you got off easy! If not, blurt out a few curse words (you'll feel better) and then continue reading.</p> <h3>Fight Software with Software</h3> <p>One of our favorite and most reliable anti-malware programs is <a href="" target="_blank">Malwarebytes</a>. There's both a free and paid version, the latter of which adds proactive protection like real-time monitoring and conveniences like scheduled scanning. For removing existing malware, the free version is sufficient.</p> <p>What's neat about Malwarebytes is that it scans for a wide range of rogue software, like spyware, adware, some viruses, and even rootkits. Be advised that Malwarebytes isn't intended as a standalone antivirus program, but as a supplement. Or, in this case, as a cleanup tool.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/malwarebytes_0.jpg" alt="Malwarebytes" title="Malwarebytes" width="620" height="409" /></p> <p>The first thing you should do when running Malwarebytes is to update the database so that it can scan for the latest threats. Just click the <strong>Update Now</strong> now link and let it do its thing.</p> <p>See that big <strong>Scan Now</strong>&nbsp;button at the bottom? Don't click it just yet. First, click the <strong>Settings</strong> option and navigate to <strong>Detection and Protection</strong>. Even though Malwarebytes scans for rootkits, you first have to enable the option, and this is where you'll find it—check the <strong>Scan for rootkits</strong> box.</p> <p>Now, go to the Scan heading and select <strong>Threat Scan</strong>, which is the recommended option. This will run a comprehensive sweep of your system and could take a long time to finish. Find something else to do for a bit—ride a bike, catch up on some reading, make love, play a console game, grab some lunch, or anything else you can think of that's more fun than watching a system scan. When it's finished, audit the list of threats for any false positives and uncheck them, then click <strong>Remove Selected</strong>.</p> <h3>Solicit a Second (or Third) Opinion</h3> <p>As much as we like Malwarebytes, there's no single program out there capable of detecting and removing every piece of malicious software. For a machine that's in particularly bad shape, it pays to run multiple spyware sweeps. Which ones? There are several out there, and one that we still like is <a href="" target="_blank">Spybot Search and Destroy</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/spybot.jpg" alt="Spybot" title="Spybot" width="620" height="451" /></p> <p>As with all of these programs, be sure to update the definitions database first—just click the <strong>Update</strong> icon. The first update can take a few minutes, even on a fast Internet connection, so be patient. Once it's finished, click <strong>System Scan</strong> and let it sweep your system for junk.</p> <p>As you can see, these programs are pretty self explanatory, so rather than walk you through each one, here's a list of software we recommend running on badly infected machines:</p> <ul> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Comodo Antimalware BOClean</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Hitman Pro</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">AdwCleaner</a></li> <li><a href="" target="_blank">Kaspersky TDSSKiller</a> (rootkit removal tool)</li> </ul> <p>There are others out there, and if you have a favorite, feel free to add it to the list. Remember, it might not always be necessary to run several different programs, but for a machine that's in really rough shape, it doesn't hurt to blitz the opposition using multiple tools.</p> <h3>Better Safe Mode than Sorry</h3> <p>In some cases, you may not be able to run or even install the aforementioned malware removal software. Some of the more sophisticated malware will block them outright, and if that's the case, you should try booting into Safe Mode. The same is true if a piece of malware manages to reinstall itself after you've already removed it.</p> <p>To boot into Safe Mode, shut down your system, turn it back on, and start tapping the F8 key. Instead of booting into Windows, you should see an <strong>Advanced Boot Options</strong> menu. Select the <strong>Safe Mode with Networking</strong> option. This will load just the essential Windows drivers while also giving you Internet access so that you can download, install, and update anti-malware software.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/msconfig.jpg" alt="MSCONFIG" title="MSCONFIG" width="585" height="392" /></p> <p>If you're having trouble booting into Safe Mode, another way in there is to boot into Windows as you normally would. Click the <strong>Start menu</strong>, select <strong>Run</strong>, and type <strong>msconfig</strong>. Select the <strong>Boot tab</strong> and under the <strong>Boot options</strong> heading, check the <strong>Safe boot</strong> box. Mark the <strong>Network</strong> radio bubble and click Apply, then reboot your system.</p> <h3>Scan for Viruses</h3> <p>Microsoft's built-in Windows Defender in Windows 8.1 (separate download in prior versions) does a good job overall of detecting viruses, and if that's what you're rolling with, update the database and scan your system. Otherwise, do the same with whichever antivirus software you're using. If you're not using one, either enable Windows Defender or seek out a free AV such as <a href="" target="_blank">Avast</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">AVG</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Avira</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Bitdefender</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Comodo</a>, or <a href="" target="_blank">Panda</a>, to name a few of the no-cost options. Be sure to install only one, as multiple AV programs can conflict with each other (though it's okay to run them with malware removal tools like Malwarebytes).</p> <h3>Bring Out the Big Guns</h3> <p>At this point, you've scanned for viruses, run multiple anti-malware programs, rooted out any rootkits, and cleaned up your browsers, yet your system is still acting up. That's bad news, but don't go throwing in the towel just yet. Instead, download <a href="" target="_blank">HijackThis</a>.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>HijackThis</strong></span><br />HijackThis is a simple little utility that audits your registry, browser settings, and system services. It only takes a few seconds to run, however, it doesn't discern between good and malicious entries, so don't go deleting entries willy-nilly.</p> <p>There's no installation required here—just fire up HijackThis and select the top option so that it saves the results to a log file. In a few seconds, you'll see a long list of entries. Scroll through them and look for any obviously malicious entries. For example, if you know you've been infected by a particular piece of malware and you see references to it in the HijackThis results, check the box.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/hijackthis_0.jpg" alt="HiJackThis" title="HiJackThis" width="600" height="533" /></p> <p>Most of the entries will be safe, so be careful what you check. You could even break functionality of a legitimate program or cause other problems by checking certain entries. This is where the log comes in handy. When the scan finished, it should have populated a Notepad file with the results. Highlight the entire text and copy it to your clipboard.</p> <p>Now head to <a href="" target="_blank">I Am Not A Geek</a>, paste the contents in the box, and click Parse. Potentially malicious entries will be highlighted red, but before you click the check box in HijackThis, look up each one in Google so that you're sure of what you're removing.</p> <p>There are several other online analyzers, such as <a href="" target="_blank"> Security</a> and <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. Try using at least two, and if you still need help, solicit advice from a forum such as <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Bleeping Computer</em></a>.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>ComboFix</strong></span><br />As a last resort before wiping your system clean and starting anew, there's <a href="" target="_blank">ComboFix</a>, an aggressive program that hunts for persistent infections and attempts to remove them. It was developed by the folks at <em>Bleeping Computer</em> and they recommend not running it unless specifically requested, so keep that in mind. It's also worth noting that ComboFix doesn't yet work in Windows 8.1 or Windows 2000, though it does run in Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u69/combofix.jpg" alt="ComboFix" title="ComboFix" width="600" height="263" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">If it's finally come to this, follow the instructions in <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Bleeping Computer's</em> guide</a> and when it's finished running, see if your system is back to normal. Should problems remain, post a copy of the log ComboFix generated into the forum thread where it was recommended that you run it.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> delete features free guide how to remove malware Security Software Uninstall virus Windows Features Mon, 06 Apr 2015 20:25:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 29654 at 20 Software Easter Eggs <!--paging_filter--><h3>For the Geek in all of us</h3> <p>With Easter right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to update our old software easter eggs story to encompass 20 of our favorites. Do you have a personal favorite software Easter egg? Or perhaps you'd like to share one that we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments below!</p> chrome Easter eggs Google Skype Software utorrent Yahoo News Features Fri, 03 Apr 2015 19:14:10 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 25917 at