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While not everyone knew it existed or understood what it was, Adobe Flash was one of the unsung heroes and cornerstones of the internet. For almost 25 years after its release in 1996, Flash fueled animations, videos, games, and a variety of other applications. But, its time is now up.
As of December 31st, 2020, support for the Flash software plugin was removed from all major internet browsers. Then, as of January 12th, 2021, Flash content was automatically blocked in any applications that supported it. Now as of February 16th, 2021, Microsoft is putting the nail in the coffin by removing it entirely.
With a new Windows update, known as KB4577586, Windows 10 will not only block Flash Player from working, but will also remove the software entirely from users’ computers who manually or automatically install the Windows update.
However, there’s a small problem. While the Windows 10 update will remove Flash Player software that was installed automatically, manual installations are unaffected. This means that users will have to uninstall Flash themselves to finally sever ties with the program.
The good news is that regardless of whether your version of Adobe Flash Player was automatically or manually installed, the update doesn’t change much. The program has effectively been dead and useless since the January 12th “Flash Bomb”, so chances are that you won’t even notice it is gone. However, for security purposes it is recommended that any unused or unsupported programs are removed from your computer.
Xbox’s Windows App Receives Cloud Gaming and Remote Play
Whether you’ve been unable to get your hands on a new Xbox or just want to play your games somewhere other than at your console, the newest Xbox app update for Windows PCs is for you.
As of September 14th, Windows users can download an update to their Xbox app that enables Cloud Gaming and Remote Play. This update opens up the possibility of playing games on desktops, laptops, and Windows mobile devices as long as you have the app installed and an Xbox-compliant controller to plug in. It also integrates with Xbox Game Bar for easy Xbox Network access and simulates your Xbox dashboard for older consoles, providing a nostalgic experience for classic titles.
You may be wondering what the difference is between Cloud Gaming and Remote Play – and rightfully so. Both features implement wireless streaming of titles from Xbox 360 through Xbox Series X|S, but who can use them and when each option makes the most sense for you varies.
Xbox Cloud Gaming
Formerly xCloud, Xbox Cloud Gaming is an entirely wireless way to stream games to any device with a web browser or the Xbox app, now including PCs directly without the browser requirement. You do not need to own an Xbox console to make use of Xbox Cloud Gaming because titles are streamed directly from Microsoft datacenters to your device, which leads to optimal graphic performance on any display and a lower barrier of entry for gamers. However, you’re likely to face latency problems that may degrade the experience of multiplayer games.
Xbox Remote Play
Xbox Remote Play lets you stream games from your Xbox Series X|S or Xbox One through your home network to your device, which requires the Xbox app itself instead of browser functionality. This method does require that you own a console and limits the graphic output based on your console’s specs, but minimizes the latency experienced in comparison to Cloud Gaming which makes it more appealing for online play.
Windows 11 Is Coming October 5th – Here’s How to Upgrade
It’s official – Windows 11 has a release date.
Microsoft announced that the long-awaited next generation of Windows operating system is coming on October 5th to the general public. While the demo version has been available to download or simulate through your browser for over a month now, the official release should see a more reliable, bug-free, and better user experience that sets the standard for Windows systems going forward.
The operating system is expected to be available as a free update to existing Windows users with a valid license for at least a year before paid upgrades and standalone keys will be available. So if you’d prefer to wait and see what happens with the public release before you upgrade your system, you have plenty of time.
But if you’re looking to jump into the next generation as soon as possible, here’s what you’ll need to do to ensure you’re ready for October 5th.
How to Prepare for Windows 11
Meet the System Requirements
The next generation of operating systems doesn’t require the most advanced hardware, but there are minimum system requirements to run WIndows 11 effectively. These include a duo-core processor and 4GB of RAM, which is standard in many modern laptops and desktops but may limit how many older devices are compatible.
Windows Insider users can use the PC Health Check tool to check their hardware automatically. This tool is likely to be released to the public again soon which will allow you to check compatibility and also evaluate your system’s overall health at a glance.
Verify Your Windows License
To upgrade to Windows 11, you need a legal and active Windows 10 license. Without it, the prompt to update your operating system in Windows Updates will not be available (and updates won’t be handled automatically if you do find a way to upgrade).
Update On October 5th to Windows 11
For most users, qualifying for the Windows 11 official release will be easy. Just like all major Windows updates, you can navigate to settings > Update & Security > Windows Update to reach the update screen. Here you’ll find both major and minor updates that are available to install as well as the option to check for updates.
If you elect to upgrade on release date, you may have to search for updates manually. Otherwise, it should appear as an available update whenever you decide to make the leap. But there’s no rush – Windows 11 updates will be available until 2022.
Windows 11 May Help You Get More Done with Focus Sessions
Looking to be more productive with your computer time? Windows 11 will have a convenient way for you to manage your schedule – Focus Sessions.
Focus Sessions is a feature that will be added to the “Clock” app’s base functionality, allowing the app to help organize your time. Users can easily create to-do lists, set timers, and set a soundtrack to their work thanks to Spotify integration.
When activated, Focus Sessions will suppress notification sounds, pop ups, and other distractions to help you stay focused for the entirety of your task’s time block. The timer starts at 30 minutes by default, but can be adjusted based on each individual task or period of time you plan to work. Each task can also have its own Spotify playlist, letting you choose the right tunes for the type of work you have to complete without causing a distraction.
Based on the Pomodoro Technique, the goal of the feature is that you’ll be able to work for a shorter but defined amount of time, focusing entirely on the task until your break comes up. You’ll be motivated by the upcoming break and don’t have to worry about managing your time or staying on schedule; when you hear the alarm, you’re done. This way you can better define work time and free time so that you don’t spend twice as much time working for the same result.
With the rise of working from home, organizational apps like Focus Sessions are an important tool to help you stay focused when you’re not in your work environment. Thanks to native integration on Windows 11, it’s easy to start working smarter instead of harder.