Windows 11 performance beats Windows 10 by a mile

a close up of a computer: Windows 11 Logo© Windows Central Windows 11 Logo

Time to analyze some benchmarks.

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 leaked ahead of its official announcement on June 24.
  • Since then, users have been poking around to see how it differs from Windows 10.
  • A person claiming to have an official copy of Windows 11 (not the leak) has shared performance benchmarks.

In case you didn’t want to wait for Microsoft to unveil it on June 24, here’s the scoop: Windows 11 is out in the wild via a leaked build. However, one Youtuber is claiming to have an official copy of the operating system from Microsoft. His video breaks down the interesting performance differences between Windows 10 and its new successor.

If the information in Ben Anonymous‘ video is accurate, Windows 11 isn’t just a visual shakeup of the Windows we all know and (at least some of us) love — it also sports better performance than W10.

It’s a rather long video that goes into the nitty-gritty on a whole bunch of items, ranging from 3DMark and Geekbench 5 results to basic boot speed comparisons. Luckily, Ben Anonymous was kind enough to include timestamps in his video, so you can cut right to the end if you just want the juicy faceoff content. Here are the highlights.

Windows 11 Pro Build 21996.1 booted 18.75% faster than Windows 10 Pro Build 19043 (13 seconds versus 16 seconds).

Windows 10 got a 3DMark score of 6,872 at 4.8GHz, hitting 92 degrees celsius on the CPU while reaching 76 degrees celsius on the GPU. Windows 11 got a score of 7,613 at 4.9 GHz. It hit 99 degrees celsius on the CPU, 78 degrees celsius on the GPU. That tallies out to a 9.74% better 3DMark score and 2.05% better clock speed, albeit at the cost of a 7.08% hotter CPU.

CrystalDiskMark, which measures SSD speed, gave these results:

  • Windows 10: Read speed of 2,930 MB/s, write speed of 3,189 MB/s
  • Windows 11: Read speed of 3,448 MB/s, write speed of 3,336 MB/s

Those results illustrate a 15.03% faster read speed and 4.41% faster write speed on Windows 11.

And here’s what BenAnonymous got during his Geekbench 5 testing:

  • Windows 10 managed a single-core score of 1,138, a multi-core score of 6,284, at 4.8GHz at 97 degrees celsius on its CPU
  • Windows 11 boasts a single-core score of 1,251, a multi-core score of 7,444, at 4.9GHz at 93 degrees celsius on its CPU

That equals 9.04% better single-core performance and 15.59% better multi-core performance at a 2.05% faster CPU clock speed while running at a 4.13% cooler CPU temperature.

All math comes courtesy of BenAnonymous’ video. If you want more details and insights with regards to Windows 10 and 11 comparisons, be sure to check out his full video. How Windows 11 is pulling off numbers this much better than Windows 10 is anyone’s guess at the moment, but if said numbers are accurate, a lot of people are in for a nice little performance bump.

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The ultrathin new iMac lost a lot more than size

Apple’s newly redesigned iMac measures just 0.45 inches thick. That’s a hair thinner than the original iPhone. It’s thin enough to wedge under a wobbly table.

Apple’s new iMac is its thinnest yet. Here’s why that’s not necessarily a good thing.

But to make a desktop computer that incredibly slender, something had to go. Unfortunately, left on the chopping block were some capabilities you might actually want in a $1,300 desktop computer.

Gone are the large-sized USB ports many of us still use to plug in gear. Gone, too, is the ability to later upgrade your memory. This iMac is no longer even an all-in-one computer: Apple had to move the power supply to an external brick like on a laptop.

An obsession with thin design has taken over consumer tech, and Apple is its leader. For you, that affects a lot more than just style. Going thin shapes what a device costs, what it’s useful for, how long it will last and what kind of impact it might leave on the environment.

Even if you’re not in the market for a new iMac, this computer is a case study in the strange priorities that shape so much of the technology we use.

This 24-inch computer, the first iMac powered by Apple’s own M1 processors, does contain lots of useful upgrades over the 2017 version. It’s faster and has a much-improved camera and a Touch ID fingerprint reader on the keyboard. It also comes in a rainbow of colors that will give anyone old enough nostalgia for the original all-in-one iMac.

I had been eagerly awaiting this iMac to replace my 5-year-old model. I’ve long been one of the iMac’s biggest fans: A desktop computer might sound old-school, but a big, beautiful screen is pretty much the ideal portal for getting work done.

a desktop computer sitting on top of a desk: Apple’s ultrathin 24-inch iMac. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)Apple’s ultrathin 24-inch iMac. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

But the new iMac I’ve been testing for a few weeks is a departure from my old one. It’s essentially an iPad on a stand. Actually, it’s less useful than that, because the iMac doesn’t have a touch screen.

Apple isn’t the only tech maker chasing thinness. Acer made an even skinnier desktop computer called the Aspire S24. But Apple sets the priorities for the industry and our expectations for what “progress” looks like in tech.

There are good arguments for thin handheld devices: Skinny phones fit better in skinny jeans. But even with Apple’s mobile tech, we’ve been burned. The ultrathin “butterfly”-style keyboard Apple introduced for laptops in 2015 created so many problems that Apple eventually abandoned it. Some people still haven’t forgiven Apple for removing the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 to add battery and waterproofing without making the phone fatter.

The arguments for a thin desktop computer are more of a stretch. There may be people who only care that this iMac is cuter. Apple believes it’s redefining the desktop computer into a device that can be at home in a kitchen or living room, or even picked up. (I wonder, though: Isn’t that what an iPad is for?)

We’re talking computers, not stilettos, so let me be unabashedly practical: To really evaluate the new iMac, you need to look inside.

a person wearing a mask: IFixit engineers Sam Goldheart and Adam O’Camb share their teardown of the 24-inch iMac over FaceTime. (Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)IFixit engineers Sam Goldheart and Adam O’Camb share their teardown of the 24-inch iMac over FaceTime. (Geoffrey Fowler/The Washington Post)

What we lost

To help me understand the ramifications of an extra-slender iMac, I called up iFixit, a repair website that’s well-known for doing gadget teardowns. IFixit let me watch while it sliced into the new iMac to see what compromises had to be made — and learn what happens when an iMac inevitably breaks or is too slow for the latest software.

The root of all the change for the iMac is that Apple gave it a new kind of brain. Instead of the Intel processors Macs have used for years, Apple is now using its in-house M1 chip, similar to the ones found in iPhones. The M1 chip gets less hot — meaning the iMac doesn’t need large fans inside.

I asked iFixit to show me what Apple did with the space it got back from the fans. On the plus side, it added super-wide sound chambers to the speakers, so music sounds great. It replaced the webcam at the top with a full-high definition model.

On the minus side, the thinner imperative took over. Now that it could fit the brain of an iMac into a half-inch body, Apple cut other parts that just didn’t fit. First went the power supply, the part that transforms the electricity coming out of the wall. Now the iMac has an external power brick. Maybe you’ll just throw yours on the floor, or maybe it’s one more thing for your cat to chew on.

Next, Apple cut the ports on the back of the computer. The new iMac only works with smaller-sized USB-C plugs, which can do lots of things but don’t fit many of the cables and devices we already own in a larger shape known as USB-A.

a desk with a computer mouse: The new Apple 24-inch iMac is as slim as Apple’s first iPhone from 2007. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)The new Apple 24-inch iMac is as slim as Apple’s first iPhone from 2007. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

“I don’t see any way USB-A would fit within half an inch,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens.

Apple also cut the compact flash-card reader included in past iMacs, making one more thing photographers need to buy. Even the basic Ethernet port, used in many schools and offices to hardwire Internet connections, was too big. Instead, Apple stuck Ethernet into the power brick, and charges $30 extra for it.

What this means is that anybody who plugs things into a computer either has to abandon old devices — for me, including backup drives, a DVD player and a lifetime’s worth of thumb drives — or buy a bunch of unsightly adapters known as dongles. By the time I plugged in mine, the back of the sleek iMac looked like a rat’s nest.

I’m sure these weren’t easy decisions for Apple. Perhaps doing things my way would have made the computer more expensive. But these were all possible on the previous iMac.

And everything but the SD card reader is available on the latest Mac Mini, Apple’s other M1-powered desktop computer that doesn’t happen to be as thin as a pancake. That $700 computer, which doesn’t come with a monitor, is the best choice right now for anyone who might need a desktop Mac for creative tasks.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: The new iMac only comes with smaller-sized USB ports — which means you’ll have to invest in dongles. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)The new iMac only comes with smaller-sized USB ports — which means you’ll have to invest in dongles. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Sacrificing longevity

Even if you couldn’t give a rat’s nest about plugging into ports, Apple’s thin imperative chips away at something else you might want: longevity.

My old 27-inch iMac has a little door on the back to upgrade memory after the fact, a real help for future proofing. IFixit showed me why the new iMac wouldn’t need a door: Its memory is permanently soldered in place.

Apple says this design makes its memory faster with the M1. But it also means if you someday develop a new passion for, say, computer animation, you’d have to buy a whole new computer to get more memory.

Also fixed in place: the iMac’s hard drive. Aside from limiting upgrades, that poses challenges for data recovery and even security. (Earlier this month, Apple paid a multimillion-dollar settlement to a woman whose risque photos and videos were shared by technicians repairing her iPhone.)

And what about when your iMac inevitably just can’t keep up in six years? As recently as 2014, iMacs could transform into a monitor for another computer. But Apple no longer supports what it calls “target display mode.”

What about if your iMac breaks? IFixit found that while the fans, speakers and webcam are all reasonably modular, they’re tedious to access. To open up the iMac, the iFixit team used what looks like a pizza cutter to slice through glue that holds it together.

text: IFixit used what it calls an iMac Opening Wheel to cut through the glue around the screen on the new 24-inch model. (iFixit)IFixit used what it calls an iMac Opening Wheel to cut through the glue around the screen on the new 24-inch model. (iFixit)

The glue isn’t new on this version of the iMac, but it “would be so much easier if they just had a couple of screws,” said iFixit senior editor Sam Goldheart.

Overall, iFixit gave the new iMac a repairability score of 2 out of 10 — one notch lower than the previous model. Apple, of course, offers its own repair service. But you at least deserve the right to repair your own tech.

These choices have an impact on the Earth, too. Apple touts the new iMac as being “better for the environment” because it uses some recycled materials. But the biggest environmental impact Apple could have is designing its hardware to be repaired and reused, rather than thrown away.

The new iMac “is less and less a computer, and more of an appliance,” said Wiens. “Computers are complex, and you need hardware flexibility to deal with problems that come up. Apple has systematically removed all of those options.”

This is partly a philosophical divide between Apple and people like Wiens. Turning computers into appliances can simplify them: You don’t need to know about what’s going on if it just works.

But Apple’s appliance mind-set is also self-serving, because it means we have to keep buying new stuff. You may already have a box of old iPads and iPhones you aren’t using after upgrading. Now you can add an iMac to the pile.

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Windows 10 has built-in ransomware protection: how to use it

Ransomware protection is built right into Windows. Here’s how to get started.

Ransomware gangs have gone pro. DarkSide, the group responsible for a spate of ransomware attacks including Colonial Pipeline, now operates with a business model that mirrors legitimate businesses.

Called Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), it uses partners to execute cyberattacks. For individuals and small businesses and schools, attacks from RaaS groups pose the risk of loss of access to all critical data – in addition to the financial burden of paying a ransom.

The small steps to prepare yourself for a potential future ransomware attack will also protect you from other malware and viruses.

It’s not widely known to consumers and small business users that Microsoft offers built-in ransomware protection.

Turning it on is pretty simple: type in “Ransomware Protection” in the Windows 10 Cortana search bar (typically in the bottom lower left of the screen) then select the “Ransomware Protection” screen.

Toggle on the “Controlled folder access.” Then you have the option to select which folders you want protected.

Click on “Protected folders.” The Protected Folders screen should already be populated by folders that are protected by default. You’re also given the option to add other protected folders.

In addition, you have the option to add folders from Microsoft’s file hosting service OneDrive, if you subscribe to that service.

“In a ransomware attack, your files can get encrypted and held hostage. With controlled folder access… a notification appears…where an app attempted to make changes to a file in a protected folder,” according to a Microsoft document describing the feature.

You can also “whitelist” applications. While the goal of Windows ransomware protection is to block suspicious software, if an app is blocked that you know is safe, Microsoft allows you to build a white list. Use the Controlled Folder Access for whitelisting apps. You can do this by going to “allow an app through Controlled folder access.”

Use a secure cloud-based file hosting service with automatic backup so you’re regularly backing up files.

Another strategy is a so-called “air gap” where the external storage device is completely disconnected (i.e., offline) from your computer and the internet. Back up your files, then disconnect the storage device.

Another piece of advice recommended by cybersecurity experts is to separate work and personal devices. While attackers tend to target corporations, schools, and hospitals, consumers who are working from home can get targeted by attackers too.

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Nvidia to drop Windows 7 and Windows 8 driver support in October

Nvidia is planning to drop support for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 later this year. Nvidia drivers will be exclusively available for Windows 10 in October, with only critical security updates available on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 through September 2024.

logo© Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Microsoft has already dropped support for Windows 7 and Windows 8, and even the extended support for Windows 8.1 will end in January 2023. “The vast majority of our GeForce customers have migrated to Windows 10 OS,” reads a support note from Nvidia. “In order to ensure GeForce owners experience the best possible security, support, and functionality, Nvidia will now focus on Windows 10 operating system.”

There are now 1.3 billion active Windows 10 devices, but Windows 7 is still in use in many parts of the world. Statcounter estimates that Windows 7 still accounts for 15 percent of all Windows versions. Microsoft is also expected to launch a new version of Windows, likely to be named Windows 11, in October.

Nvidia’s last driver to officially support these old versions of Windows will be made available on August 31st, with an October 4th release being the first to only support Windows 10.

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Apple’s WWDC announcements should worry anyone with an Intel Mac

If WWDC 2021 was any indication, Apple is now ready to cut off increasing numbers of Intel Mac users. The company is deprecating machines on seemingly arbitrary lines, rather than technical limitations. As it gears up to transition the rest of its lineup to Apple Silicon, it’s already dropping features even for brand new machines.

Shortly after Wednesday’s keynote, the company outlined which desktops and laptops would be able to install the new version of macOS. Several machines that had been supported with last year’s Big Sur were now unable to upgrade to macOS Monterey. That included iMac models made before 2014, pre-late-2014 Mac Minis and MacBook Air and Pro models made before early 2015.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Apple withdrew support from the MacBook Air from early 2014, which at base spec runs a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-4260U (Haswell) CPU with 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 5000. When asked, Apple said that it has to deprecate older hardware when those machines no longer support the experience that its users have come to expect from macOS.

That’s notable, because macOS Monterey does support the late 2014 Mac Mini, the base model of which… packs a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-4260U (Haswell) CPU with 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 5000. Owners of the mid-2014, 15-inch MacBook Pro are in a similar situation, as the mid-2015 model that’s still supported has almost the exact same internals at the base spec.

One of the likely reasons that Apple’s having to make decisions like this is because of the unique way it updates its computers. That same i5-4260U Mac Mini was on sale at Apple until the 2018 refresh, and four years is a long time for any chip to be on sale. It means that with Monterey, Apple would have to abandon models that customers could have bought just three years ago.

Similarly, the base model 21.5-inch iMac, which was refreshed in early 2019, was powered by Intel’s i3-8100, a CPU from late 2017. And that’s the model that has just been replaced by the new, ultra-slim M1 edition that has garnered so many plaudits in recent months. By dragging its feet with chip refreshes over the last few years (not helped, of course, by Intel’s own woes), Apple makes it harder to convincingly make a technical argument for withdrawing support for some models and not others.

Similarly, even new Intel Macs running macOS Monterey will find their experience limited in some ways. 9to5Mac noted that Apple has listed a series of features in Monterey that will not be supported by any Intel Mac. That includes the ability to blur backgrounds in FaceTime Videos, copy live text from within images and utilize the new, more detailed maps.

In these cases, it’s likely that the new features are coded to take advantage of the M1’s Neural Engine. But that’s not to say that some of these features couldn’t run on Intel machines, if Apple was willing to put in the work. When even affordable Windows laptops with integrated graphics can blur backgrounds inside a Zoom call, is it fair to deny a similar FaceTime feature to someone spending $2,800 on an Intel MacBook Pro today?

The only thing that the company really risks with all of this is some goodwill with users still persisting with their older Macs. Apple’s priority is understandably to look toward its future, but the decision to perhaps arbitrarily pull support for some machines isn’t ideal.

Compare this to smartphones, where Apple runs rings around its competitors for OS support with older devices. The iPhone 6S, from September 2015, will be able to upgrade to iOS 15 this fall, in a world where competing manufacturers have only recently deigned to start offering three years of OS support for an equivalent Android device. When it comes to desktops and laptops, Apple should be striving for an even greater level of support.

Comparing this to Apple’s last transition, the first Intel Macs arrived in January 2006, and Apple’s first Intel-only OS update arrived in the summer of 2009. Apple will likely continue to offer security and usability updates for older models, but the writing’s on the wall for any Intel running Mac currently on sale. If you’re looking to buy one of those machines today, you should be aware that you could be boxed out of using all those exciting new features announced at future WWDCs. Hey, you might even run out of new OSes to install in the not-too-distant future.

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This might be the mother of all password leaks, with billions of credentials exposed

Data leak© Provided by BGR Data leak

Shortly before Apple CEO Tim Cook took the virtual stage at the iPhone maker’s Apple Park headquarters campus for WWDC 2021 on Monday — at which the company unveiled a ton of new software updates, including some major new privacy enhancements — an email landed in my inbox underscoring how critical those privacy features are going to be once they roll out with iOS 15. Basically, there’s been another huge data leak, this time exposing several billion passwords in what just might be the biggest dump of passwords online ever.

This news comes via the team at CyberNews, which reports that a 100GB text file containing a staggering 8.4 billion password entries was just leaked on a popular hacker forum. This data set presumably combines passwords stolen via previous data breaches and leaks, and it’s been dubbed the “RockYou2020” password leak on that hacker forum. That name was apparently chosen, per CyberNews, as a nod to the RockYou data breach from back in 2009, “when threat actors hacked their way into the social app website’s servers and got their hands on more than 32 million user passwords stored in plain text.”

If you’re reading these words, suffice it to say you probably need to change your passwords. Today, even. That’s because this new password leak is comparable in scale to the so-called “Compilation of Many Breaches,” or COMB, that we wrote about earlier this year. That previous compilation was essentially a giant database of more than 3.2 billion email-and-password pairings based on existing data that had been stolen as part of previous breaches and leaks from companies like Netflix and LinkedIn.

This new leaked password dataset, of course, is more than double that previous collection. And when you stop and consider that there are more than 7 billion people in the world, this means that there’s a strong likelihood that one of your myriad passwords is very likely caught up in this leak. CyberNews is recommending that anyone who wants to check and see if their passwords are included in this dataset should visit the CyberNews personal data leak checker or the leaked password checker, where password entries from the RockYou2021 compilation are being uploaded.

“By combining 8.4 billion unique password variations with other breach compilations that include usernames and email addresses, threat actors can use the RockYou2021 collection to mount password dictionary and password spraying attacks against untold numbers of online accounts,” CyberNews notes. “Since most people reuse their passwords across multiple apps and websites, the number of accounts affected by credential stuffing and password spraying attacks in the wake of this leak can potentially reach millions, if not billions.”

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4 secret features of Microsoft Edge, Word, Excel and Windows 10

Over the company’s decades of existence, Microsoft has developed, and perhaps cultivated, a reputation for producing software with a multitude of features—some would argue too many features. But that does not mean there are no hidden or undocumented features left to find if you know where to look.

a woman sitting in front of a laptop: Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock© Provided by TechRepublic Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

Microsoft Edge, Windows 10, Word and Excel each have at least one undocumented feature or fun Easter egg for users to discover. Some of these hidden features are whimsical diversions from productivity while others can be extremely useful under the right conditions. This how-to tutorial will reveal how to activate these hidden and undocumented features.

Four hidden and undocumented features of Microsoft apps

Our first two hidden features are considered to be Easter Eggs.

1. Surfing

The first comes from the latest version of Microsoft Edge. Starting with build 83.0.478.37, Edge users can play a simple, arcade-style surfing game, as shown in Figure A, by typing this URL into the navigation bar:

edge://surf

Figure A

graphical user interface, text, application© Provided by TechRepublic

The game has been available for Insiders since late February 2020 but now it is available for everyone to play in the latest release.

The rules of the game are simple—pick a surfer avatar, press the spacebar to start, use the left and right arrow keys to navigate, and then don’t run into anything. A few minutes of this basic diversion before the start of a meeting may be just what you need to make it through.

2. Star Wars

This next hidden feature is in an obscure part of Microsoft Windows 10. Telnet is a hold over from the days of mainframes where two computers communicate using nothing but text. The Windows 10 version of this application is not installed by default, so we need to add it.

In the Windows 10 desktop search box type “turn windows features on or off.” Click the result to reveal the configuration screen shown in Figure B.

Figure B

graphical user interface, text, application© Provided by TechRepublic

Scroll down to find Telnet in the list and click the box to add the app and click OK. Use the keyboard combination Windows Key + R and type or paste this command into the run dialog box:

telnet towel.blinkenlights.nl

Assuming the server is up, you will see an ASCII rendering of “Star Wars: A New Hope” complete with animated characters and text-based action.

Note: This hidden feature has been around for years and relies on the availability of an old server. If you cannot get a connection, wait a few hours, and try again.

3. Word placeholder text

This undocumented feature of Word may come in handy when you are planning a report or white paper that needs to be a certain length. Some placeholder text may help visualize just how much work you have left to do.

Type “=lorem()” onto a blank line in Word and press enter to insert Lorem Ipsum placeholder text. Or, if you prefer, you can type “=rand(#P,#S)” onto a blank line and press enter. The #P variable represents paragraphs and #S represents sentences. For example, “=rand(2,5)” will insert two paragraphs of five sentences, as shown below in italics.

Video provides a powerful way to help you prove your point. When you click Online Video, you can paste in the embed code for the video you want to add. You can also type a keyword to search online for the video that best fits your document. To make your document look professionally produced, Word provides header, footer, cover page and text box designs that complement each other. For example, you can add a matching cover page, header and sidebar.

Click Insert and then choose the elements you want from the different galleries. Themes and styles also help keep your document coordinated. When you click Design and choose a new Theme, the pictures, charts, and SmartArt graphics change to match your new theme. When you apply styles, your headings change to match the new theme. Save time in Word with new buttons that show up where you need them.

4. Excel date differences

There are thousands of formulas, functions and commands available in Microsoft Excel but not all of them are documented. Cell C1, shown in Figure C, shows the results of subtracting one date from another date—the number of total days. Cell C2 shows the undocumented function DATEDIF, which can be used to make the same calculation.

Figure C

graphical user interface, application, table, Excel© Provided by TechRepublic

However, the DATEDIF function is more flexible than straight days between dates. If we change the “D” parameter to “M,” the function will return the number months that passed between our entered dates. The DATEDIF function can also show years (Y) as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

graphical user interface, table© Provided by TechRepublic

The interesting thing about DATEDIF is that it is completely undocumented. If you search available functions in Excel, it is not listed, and there is no helping text to support you as you enter its parameters. But its functionality can be extremely helpful in certain situations.

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Amazon is about to share your Internet connection with neighbors. Here’s how to turn it off.

There’s an eyebrow-raising technology buried inside millions of Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring security cameras. They have the ability to make a new kind of wireless network called Sidewalk that shares a slice of your home Internet connection with your neighbors’ devices.

Amazon Sidewalk shares your Internet with smart homes — and surveillance devices.© Washington Post illustration/iStock Amazon Sidewalk shares your Internet with smart homes — and surveillance devices.

And on Tuesday, Amazon is switching Sidewalk on — for everyone.

How to turn off Sidewalk

graphical user interface: To turn off Amazon Sidewalk, open the Alexa app and tap on Settings. Then follow the steps above.© Geoffrey Fowler/San Francisco To turn off Amazon Sidewalk, open the Alexa app and tap on Settings. Then follow the steps above.

Turning Sidewalk off isn’t hard, but involves digging through some settings.

  • If you’ve got Echo devices, go to the Alexa app on a phone, then tap the More icon. Then tap on Settings, then tap on Account Settings, then tap on Amazon Sidewalk. In there, make sure “Enabled” is set to off.
  • If you’ve got Ring devices, go to the Ring app on a phone, then tap the three bars at the top left corner to get to the menu. Then tap Control Center, then scroll down to Amazon Sidewalk.

If you turn off Sidewalk on one kind of device, it should cover you for all of them. (Some people have complained they switched off the Sidewalk setting, but it turned itself back on. Amazon says it fixed the problem.)

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How can I protect myself from a ransomware attack?

Different ransomware families use different points of entry, such as file-sharing networks, malvertising, phishing, email attachments, malicious links and using infected systems to scan for vulnerable open ports on internet-connected computers. As a result, protecting yourself from a ransomware attack simply requires diligent security hygiene. For enterprise workstation deployments, using Group Policy to prevent executing unknown programs is an effective security measure for ransomware and other types of malware.

Ensuring that all devices on your network receive regular and prompt security patches is the biggest defense against any hacking attempt, including ransomware. Additionally, a sane device lifecycle is also important for network security—outdated systems running unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP have no place on an internet-connected network.

The No More Ransom project—a collaboration between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab and McAfee—provides victims of a ransomware infection with decryption tools to remove ransomware for more than 80 variants of widespread ransomware types, including GandCrab, Popcorn, LambdaLocker, Jaff, CoinVault and many others.

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A major Windows 10 update is on the way. Here’s what to know

Microsoft may have only just rolled out the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system, the Windows 10 May 2021 update (also known as version 21H1), but we’re already looking ahead to big changes the tech giant has planned for an upcoming release.

a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: We don't yet know what the big Windows 10 redesign is going to look like, but we've heard some rumors. Sarah Tew/CNET© Provided by CNET We don’t yet know what the big Windows 10 redesign is going to look like, but we’ve heard some rumors. Sarah Tew/CNET

At the Microsoft Build developer’s conference on May 25, CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft was planning “one of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade,” confirming rumors about a major redesign on the horizon for the 1.3 billion users of the OS in 2021.

© Sarah Tew/CNET

We don’t yet know what the big Windows 10 redesign is going to look like, but we’ve heard some rumors.

Here’s what we know so far about the next major Windows 10 update, including potential release dates, new features and more. This story will be updated as we learn more.

What new features will the new Windows 10 redesign include?

The update, reportedly code-named Sun Valley, could bring a redesigned Start menu, Action Center, File Explorer and Taskbar, with a more modern look and new features, according to a Windows Central report.

Another factor: Microsoft said that its Windows 10X OS designed for dual-screen devices like the Surface Duo and the Surface Neo will not actually be released. Instead, Microsoft will build parts of that technology into other parts of Windows and products from the company, according to a May 18 blog post.

The Windows Central report said that it’s likely some of the feature updates will be based on the same experiences found in Windows 10X, but customized for desktop.

a close up of a snow covered mountain: The Windows 10 redesign could see more changes to the Taskbar, which recently added a "news and interests" feature. Microsoft© Provided by CNET The Windows 10 redesign could see more changes to the Taskbar, which recently added a “news and interests” feature. Microsoft

When will Microsoft release the next version of Windows 10?

We won’t know exactly when the next Windows 10 update will arrive until Microsoft formally announces it. But CNET’s sister site ZDNet reported that it’s targeted for the second half of the year, while Windows Central reported that it will arrive around the holiday season. At the Microsoft Build conference on May 25, Nadella said that Microsoft plans to unveil the new version “very soon.”

Microsoft said it did not have any further information to share at this time.

Would the new update potentially be called Windows 11?

With the release of Windows 10 back in 2015, Microsoft was clear that this would be “the last version of Windows” — so it’s unlikely that it would be called Windows 11. However, we don’t know if this bigger update will get some sort of moniker. Nadella called it “the next generation of Windows” in his keynote speech at Microsoft Build. Naturally, we won’t know for sure until Microsoft formally announces the update.

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