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URCDKeys Now Selling Windows 10 Pro OEM and Office 2016 Lifetime Keys at Up To 92% Off

URCDKeys is a sensational new deep-discount online software license store that is authorized by Microsoft, to sell software keys worldwide. The store is selling two of its most popular products among TechPowerUp readers, at an unbeatable discount of up to 92% off the regular online price. Windows 10 Pro is a recommended flavor of Windows 10 for PC enthusiasts as it gives you greater control thanks to Group Policy Editor, and other administrative tools. URCDKey is selling the OEM license key to Windows 10 Pro for USD $14.86, which further goes down to $11.81 when you apply a TechPowerUp-exclusive coupon at checkout.

Your Windows 10 PC is incomplete without Microsoft Office, and URCDKey is stocked with Office 2016 Professional lifetime global license keys for just $38.02, with a further 20% off for TechPowerUp readers, making the effective price you pay just $30.42. That's a fraction of the price you'd pay for an annual subscription of Office 365. This deal is particularly useful for students, so they don't have to shell out $100 every two semesters.

Buy Windows 10 Pro OEM from URCDKeys | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from URCDKeys

Exclusive Discount for TechPowerUp readers: Don't forget to use coupon-code TP20 at checkout for an additional 20% off on the already discounted prices!

Microsoft Revamping Its IntelliMouse With Improved Sensor

Microsoft has apparently taken its IntelliMouse through an upgrade process. One of the more recognizable products harking back to Microsoft's past, the revamped IntelliMouse keeps its form, but sees the inclusion of an improved PixArt PAW 3389 Pro-MS sensor. The PixArt PAW 3389 features 50 levels of DPI sensitivity, running from a base 200 up to 16,000.

The 136 g IntelliMouse is being rated for accelerations up to 50G, and a maximum polling rate of 1,000 Hz; it's of the wired variety, and features a small RGB detail on the palm rest, near the back of the mouse. For now, it's only available in the Chinese Microsoft store (where it's available for 400 Yuan, roughly €50, but it should eventually find its way to other markets.

PSA: "NVIDIA Installer cannot continue" on Windows October 2018 Update and How To Fix It

For those doing a fresh install of Microsoft's latest Windows 10 operating system (version 1809 October 2018 Update), you may encounter an issue with NVIDIA graphics drivers. Namely, a message may pop up when you install the graphics driver, telling you "The standard NVIDIA graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows". The issue is caused by the operating system automatically installing the GeForce 398.36 DCH graphics driver through Windows Update, immediately after first log-on. DCH drivers are also known as "Universal Windows Driver", "UWD", "DCHU", and "Declarative, Componentized, Hardware Support App", and leverage the Windows UWP platform for driver control panels while promising simpler updates and maintainability.

If networking is available during the Windows 10 installation, the operating system will automatically look for a graphics driver on Windows Update, which is a good thing, as it simplifies the setup process for the majority of users. At this point, everything will appear to be fine, however, once you attempt to update from that driver to the newest version from NVIDIA's driver download page, the error will appear. This is highly frustrating for some users, who have been reporting the issue on several online forums, including NVIDIA's own, with little attention paid thus far from their developers. We encountered the problem ourselves today, during the setup of our 2019 SSD review benchmarking install and got motivated to investigate this further.

Obsidian Announces Sci-Fi "The Outer Worlds" First-Person RPG for 2019

Obsidian Entertainment, which was recently acquired by Microsoft in its efforts to bolster its first-party studios, has announced a new video game set for release in 2019. Titled "The Outer Worlds", it's a first-person RPG with a focus on single-player and story - it seems more Fallout than Fallout, really, which should come as a surprise to virtually no-one: this is the game studio that developed Fallout: New Vegas and that still holds the talent of some of that franchises' early creators.

The game seems to be striking a balance between Fallout and Borderlands, both in the art and setting department and overall design. If so, this could be an interesting take on the genre, though we'd hope for either a really strong storyline or some innovative mechanics to set itself apart from other offerings that are crowding this particular strata of the gaming world: Borderlands, Rage, Fallout, and now Far Cry New Dawn are all exploring stretches of this setting. We'll be here to look at what a current-gen Fallout game might be without the Creation Engine - and multiplayer focus like Fallout 76.

Microsoft's Edge Browser Confirmed Dead; Long Live Microsoft Edge

So, it goes like this: Microsoft has confirmed they will be killing of their own-developed Edge browser in favor of a Chromium-based alternative. However... The new browser will retain Microsoft's Edge nomenclature, instead of parting ways with the (likely damaged) branding. Microsoft is committing to the open-based Chromium backbone, and will be building upon its database to contribute towards a more open Internet.

The idea is to deliver more frequent updates - and of course, reducing the engineering and coding efforts to keep an in-house browser up to date and secure from all manner of Internet threats. And this will likely be achieved; whether Microsoft's efforts will bring it a higher market share than the current 4%, though, is anyone's guess. It seems to be a usual Microsoft dilemma in that the first search on its browsers is for another web browser... And it might remain especially so without a branding change. Living in Chrome just sounds better than living on Edge.

Microsoft to Kill off Edge Browser, Replace with its Own Chromium-derivative?

It looks like Microsoft is on a tactical retreat in the web-browser wars, with no amount of marketing integrated with Windows 10 dissuading users from using Google's near-monopolistic Chrome web-browser. Windows Central has come out with a sensational report that suggests that Microsoft could kill off the Edge web-browser that ships with Windows 10. It could try a different strategy against Chrome - designing a new web-browser that's derived from Chromium, the open-source foundation that supplies Chrome with key components. Much like Firefox, Chromium is heavily forked and customized by the OSS community.

Microsoft is internally calling this Chromium-based browser "Anaheim." The browser will be designed for both the x86 and ARM versions of Windows 10, and could be heavily differentiated from Edge and Internet Explorer, which could include a new branding, or perhaps even a significantly different user-interface from Edge. Microsoft could begin non-public community testing of "Anaheim" throughout 2019.

Intel Introduces Universal Windows Drivers (UWD) Compliant Software

Microsoft is changing the way that hardware drivers work on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Windows 10 (and later), and Microsoft Windows Server 2019 (and later). Hardware running on these operating systems can use Windows Modern Drivers (also known as Universal Windows Drivers - UWDs). Note that Microsoft requires the use of Windows Modern Drivers for Windows 10 1809 (RS5) and later. Intel will begin distributing Windows Modern Drivers for its products beginning in November 2018.

As of November 2018, any driver updates for Intel products on these operating systems will be the Windows Modern Drivers. After a driver has been updated to a Windows Modern Driver, it's possible to roll back to a legacy driver. However, rolling back isn't recommended as it involves a complex process that could result in system instability. This system instability is especially pertinent to graphics drivers. You can find more information on this subject.

DOWNLOAD: Intel UWD-compliant Graphics Driver for Windows 10 v25.20.100.6444

Introducing URCDKeys: One Stop Shop for Discounted Software Licenses, Up To 87% Off

URCDKeys is a new online store for heavily discounted non-gaming software licenses, based in California, USA. The site is debuting its non-gaming software section with two massively discounted products that will help PC enthusiasts significantly cut costs of new PC builds. Windows 10 Pro is a more preferred variant of Windows 10 among enthusiasts, as it features significantly more management features over the Home variant. URCDKeys is selling globally-valid OEM licenses of Windows 10 Pro (license that is non-transferrable between systems), at USD $14.79, a massive 90% discount from market prices.

Microsoft Halts Windows 10 October Update Rollout Yet Again, Affects Only Some Intel Users

Microsoft has blocked rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update on systems using Intel Integrated Graphics with specific driver versions. Apparently audio playback, when using a monitor connected to the IGP, will no longer work after the upgrade to October Update.

According to Microsoft, the underlying reason for the issue is that "Intel inadvertently released versions of its display driver [...] to OEMs that accidentally turned on unsupported features in Windows."

If you want to work around this, then check your Intel driver version using GPU-Z. If you see "24.20.100.6344" or "24.20.100.6345", just upgrade your graphics drivers and you should be good to go.

AMD 8-core Ryzen APU to Power Sony Playstation 5, Says the Rumor Mill

Sony's announcement of the Playstation team skipping E3 2019 took everyone by surprise aside from a few on Reddit who had paid attention to a thread created the day before. Reddit user RuthenicCookie seemed to know a lot more about Sony's plans for their popular game console for the next few years, as well as game titles supporting this current console generation and the next. Amidst a lot of the tasty rumor bits that should interest console gamers, something more relevant to us directly is the mention of the Playstation 5 to continue using AMD for processing power.

This is a logical move to just about everyone familiar with the industry, and Sony needed to up the CPU horsepower in particular to compete with the XBOX One X and offer a true 4K/60 FPS solution for gaming without framerate drops galore. As such, said redditor shared information saying that the current plans involve an 8-core Ryzen-based processor and an estimated console price point of $500. Sony may well share a teaser about the console next year, with retail availability expected in the holiday season 2020 (two years from now, thus). As such, developer kits are likely already ready meaning the specs are finalized as well. This may mean we will see either the first or second gen Ryzen APUs, and not Ryzen 2 as many may have hoped. No word yet on what Microsoft is cooking in their side of the kitchen, but incremental console updates means we may see a Ryzen 2-powered console sooner than later as well.

Microsoft Accounts Now Support Hardware-based Login via FIDO 2

FIDO 2 has been making the rounds for a while as a hardware solution that replaces the dated usage of passwords. Via a hardware token, users with a FIDO 2-enabled drive are able to skip manual introduction of any authentication in both Windows (version 1809 and up) or any supporting website (with a browser that supports the FIDO 2/WebAuthn API. It basically creates a security key using cryptography, where the user only has to press a button on the security key to log into a website. Microsoft has partnered with Yubico for a while now on developing this security mechanism, and the company's FIDO 2 keys are now compatible with the OS.

Microsoft Works On Xbox Without Optical Disc Drive

Microsoft is working on the first major game console to lack physical game media, targeted at markets where downloaded content is prevalent. The console could be a variant of the existing Xbox One / Xbox One S, but will be slightly cheaper for lacking the roughly-$25 optical drive. For those stuck with physical copies of games, Microsoft could roll out a "disc-to-digital" programme that converts your physical disc ownership to a digital ownership.

The way "disc-to-digital" works is you take your physical games to a participating brick-and-mortar retailer, who will verify that the disc is authentic (you probably wouldn't need to provide proof of purchase). Once a disc is deemed authentic, the authorised retailer will keep the physical copy in exchange to adding the game to your Xbox account. To play the game, simply download it to your console's hard drive and play. You can also download to external USB storage devices if your hard drive runs out of space. For some regions, there could even be "mail-in" services. Microsoft could target very specific markets with the console, in which Internet access is both affordable and fast, and in which there already are many customers with large digital libraries. The company is unlikely to stop selling consoles with optical drives, but those will be slightly pricier.

Microsoft Resumes Rollout of Windows 10 October 2018 Feature Update (1809)

Originally Microsoft shelved the Windows 10 October 2018 feature update after a data-destroying bug among other problems was detected just days after its initial rollout. Now with more than a month has passed they are finally re-releasing the update after having "thoroughly investigated and resolved" the issues, according to Microsoft's John Cable, director of Program Management for Windows Servicing and Delivery.

The decision to re-release the update was reached after the careful study of diagnostic data from millions of Windows Insiders showed no further evidence of data loss. Currently, the update is only available via media and manual updates, automatic updates will be coming later. This is because Microsoft is taking a slower more methodical approach to their updates. Taking more time for careful study of device health data in order to improve the overall user experience. This new approach will take problems like application incompatibility among other things into account in order to make sure future updates do not automatically install unless known issues have been resolved. This should help reduce the frequency of problems end users encounter.

CORSAIR Announces Support for Xbox One with Gaming Keyboards and Mice

CORSAIR , a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced compatibility with the Microsoft Xbox One for CORSAIR wired and wireless keyboards and mice, following Microsoft's recent announcement of expanded peripheral support for the console. Now, players can take advantage of CORSAIR's award-winning gaming peripherals to play keyboard and mouse-enabled games on a whole new platform-Xbox One.

With the console's new compatibility with keyboards and mice, developers can now choose to add support for those devices to their games. The first announced Xbox One game titles to receive peripheral support include Fortnite, Warframe, and Minecraft, with many more games planned for future compatibility. Microsoft is focused on working with developers to ensure that these games are fun, fair, and properly balanced no matter how players decide to control them.

David Wang From AMD Confirms That There Will Eventually Be an Answer to DirectX Raytracing

We don't know when, but it seems AMD will someday have support for DirectX Raytracing , a feature introduced by Microsoft on March 2018. David Wang, Senior Vice President of Engineering at AMD's Radeon Technologies Group, told so in an interview on the Japanese gaming website 4Gamer. Overclock3D confirmed the comments with the assistance of a Japanese speaker who helped to translate the interview without misunderstandings. It's important to clarify that what Wang said was "a personal view", not an official statement from AMD.

Nevertheless, this executive seems to be that "AMD will definitely respond to DXR", although right now the company is focused on improving its current CG production environment based on Radeon ProRenderer. Wang went further on his comments and told also that "the spread of Ray-Tracing's game will not go unless the GPU will be able to use Ray-Tracing in all ranges from low end to high end". Therefore he thinks that ray tracing technology will not become mainstream until there is support for all types of products, from low-end to high-end, but that doesn't mean that AMD won't offer that support gradually when it sees fit. And he seems to think it will be entirely appropriate at some point, and that's what's important.

Microsoft Investigating Bug that Deactivates Windows 10 Pro Licenses

As if the missing files bug with Windows 10 version 1809 was not enough, Microsoft has more on their plate to tackle with some reports coming from consumers that their Windows 10 Pro digital license was suddenly showing up as deactivated. This was reported by multiple Reddit users first, in an account that seemed to not be restricted to any specific region either. Indeed, many of the affected got further notices by the OS that the license was for Windows 10 Home instead, and that they had to now install that specific variant.

To their credit, Microsoft were quick to take notice of this obvious bug and one of their support team members went on to say that "Microsoft has just released an Emerging issue announcement about current activation issue related to Pro edition recently. This happens in Japan, Korea, American and many other countries. I am very sorry to inform you that there is a temporary issue with Microsoft's activation server at the moment and some customers might experience this issue where Windows is displayed as not activated. Our engineers are working tirelessly to resolve this issue and it is expected to be corrected within one to two business days." This was followed up by a statement from Jeff Jones, a senior director at the company, who went on to say "A limited number of customers experienced an activation issue that our engineers have now addressed. Affected customers will see resolution over the next 24 hours as the solution is applied automatically. In the meantime, they can continue to use Windows 10 Pro as usual."

If you happen to have this issue, try out the activation troubleshooter to see if the update was applied, and that should help resolve the bug.

Crackdown 3 System Requirements Revealed, But Will We Ever See the Game?

System requirements for the upcoming Crackdown 3 have just been revealed, leading up to the games' release date of February 2019. That we're getting system requirements this close to release probably means that the game is in a good state of development and in the finishing stages of going gold. However, we have to remember that this title has had a checkered past: it's initial announcement in 2014 led to a 2015 reveal which showcased the power of integrating Microsoft's Azure servers for processing of in-engine destruction (20 times the available clout of an Xbox one console for online scenarios). At the time, a 2016 release date was pointed towards; this one slid towards November 2017 alongside the Xbox One X, with another delay to Q2/Q3 2018... And then delayed for the third time towards a February 2019 release.

Sunset Overdrive Likely Headed to the PC Platform as per ESRB Listing

Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive first released as an XBOX One exclusive in 2014, and it was generally met with positive feedback from critics and users alike who appreciated the art style and gameplay of the third-person shooter. This was arguably the developer's biggest attempt at an open world action adventure game before they set off working on this year's hit Spiderman game for the Sony PS4 platform. As with just about any Microsoft console title these days, however, this too appears to be coming to the PC sooner than later. The first hint at this came from a Korean Game Ratings and Administration Committee notice earlier in May, and today we got word of the ESRB having a listing for the game as filed for the PC platform.

The game description can be read in the source link, which is NSFW in writing only, and everything points to a game release that does not appear to be nerfed in content thus far. We do not yet know if this is a straight port or more options are added in, and neither do we know whether this comes from the developer (who presumably are also busy handling post-game content for Spiderman) or delegated to someone else. All that can be said at this time is the release of Sunset Overdrive on the PC is now more of a matter of when and at what price point, rather than if at all.

New Exemptions To The DMCA Allow Users To Hack And Repair Their Phones (And Their Tractors, too)

You know that iPhone you bought? Or that home appliance? Or that tractor? They're not yours. Not completely, I mean, because if something breaks, you'll have to repair them through the official repair services of the hardware maker. You can try to repair them by yourself, but you'll probably have a lot of trouble doing it or even getting an unofficial technical service to do it. Oh, and until now it even wasn't legal for you to try. Companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Samsung or John Deere have turned repair control into an art form. The DRM they impose on their products is becoming more and more complex, and there are lots of devices that are very complicated to open to try to repair.

Agencies like EFF have long been fighting for the so-called "right to repair" movement to try to fight these kinds of strategies, and these days those efforts have paid off. The Librarian of Congress and US Copyright Office have adopted "exemptions to the to the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") that prohibits circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works". This means that from now on, users will be able to hack the software and fix the hardware on (some of) their devices in order to repair or maintain them. The new rules apply to smartphones, "home appliances" and "home systems", but they go beyond there and will allow users to repair cars, tractors and other motorized land vehicles (no boats or planes, though) by modifying their firmware.

Nadella Announces Xbox Game Pass, 'Microsoft's Netflix of Video Games', Is Coming to PC

Microsoft launched Xbox Game Pass in June 2017. This video game subscription service allows users to install and play Xbox games (not just Xbox One ones, there are titles from the Xbox 360 and even the original Xbox) , with over 230 games currently available, a number that is constantly growing. Often called 'The Netflix of video games', the service has been improving its offering, but now the project will go beyond it's initial focus. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, announced during an investor meeting that Xbox Game Pass will come to PCs soon.

Nadella gave no further details, so we still don't know what games will be included on that service or the subscription price (currently $9.99/month), but the announcement is promising and another sign that the company is moving forward to expand their reach and, of course, their earnings. On the latest earnings release (FY19 Q1) Microsoft pointed out how gaming revenue "increased 44% with Xbox software and services revenue growth of 36% mainly from third-party title strength". This move could make that growth go even higher, and it joins other recent announcements that could improve Microsoft's role in this market.

Microsoft Cloud Strength Powers Record first Quarter Results

Microsoft Corp. today announced the following results for the quarter ended September 30, 2018, as compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year:
  • Revenue was $29.1 billion and increased 19%
  • Operating income was $10.0 billion and increased 29%
  • Net income was $8.8 billion and increased 34%
  • Diluted earnings per share was $1.14 and increased 36%
"We are off to a great start in fiscal 2019, a result of our innovation and the trust customers are placing in us to power their digital transformation," said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft. "We're excited to help our customers build the digital capability they need to thrive and grow, with a business model that is fundamentally aligned to their success."

Windows 10 1H-2019 Update to Reduce Performance Impact of Spectre V2 Mitigations

Microsoft is working to reduce the performance impact of "Spectre" V2 security vulnerability software mitigation with its next major update to Windows 10. The major update that's scheduled for the first half of 2019, will feature the "Retpoline" mitigation enabled on the operating system's kernel by default. Retpoline will be enabled in addition something Microsoft's OS kernel developer Mehmet Iyigun calls "import optimization." Together, the two reduce the impact of Spectre V2 software mitigation to "noise-level" (i.e. that which can be discounted for random variation, or minimal).

Paul Allen, Billionaire Microsoft Co-founder and Philantropist, Dies at 65

Something changed forever in a little school in Seattle in the early 1970s. Paul Allen met Bill Gates there, and from that moment on the duo would work together to start Microsoft in 1975. Well, it wasn't Microsoft at that time, it was "Micro-Soft". Eight years later Allen would have to leave Microsoft after receiving a Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis. He kept his shares at Microsoft -Gates tried to buy out them at $5 per share-, a decision that allowed him to become a billionaire, an investor and a philanthropist.

He invested in several companies and became a celebrated sports team owner. He purchased Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, but he was also devoted to philanthropy, giving contributions worth more than $2 billion to several projects and organizations. He won all those battles and even beat cancer both in 1982 and in 2009. On October 1, 2018, Allen wrote on Twitter "Recently, I learned the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma I battled in 2009 has returned. I've begun treatment & my doctors are optimistic that I will see a good result. Appreciate the support I've received & count on it as I fight this challenge.". He finally didn't make it and died yesterday, October 15, 2018. RIP.

PC Shipments Were Flat in Q3 2018, and That's Good News. Also: Microsoft Surpasses Acer in the US

According to preliminary data published by Gartner, worldwide PC shipments totaled 67.2 million units in the third quarter of 2018, which marks a 0.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2017. The study shows how the global market "has shown modest stability for two consecutive quarters" something quite impressive given that for some time now PC shipments have relentlessly decreased. Lenovo has surpassed HP and has secured the top spot driven by its joing venture with Fujitsu, says Gartner. Only those companies and Dell have managed to grow compared to the same quarter last year, while Acer, Asus, and Apple have reduced their shipments in this quarter.

Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at gartner, mentioned the possible impact of Intel problems in the short term: "the Intel CPU shortage could influence the PC market moving forward with price increases and changes to the vendor landscape. While this shortage will have some short-term impacts, Gartner does not see any lasting impact on overall PC demand." In fact, this analyst points out how Intel will prioritize high-end CPUs and business PCs CPUs, with AMD picking up if Intel cannot supply enough CPUs.

Microsoft Joins the Open Invention Network, Adds 60,000 Patents To Protect Linux and Open Source

Steve Ballmer once said 'Linux is a cancer'. Times have changed a lot, and since Satya Nadella became CEO of Microsoft, Linux and Open Source have become really important for Redmond's company. Azure is based on Linux, for example, and this OS dominates the cloud platform with about half of Azure VMs being Linux ones). Running Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, SuSE or Fedora is also possible natively under Windows 10 through Windows Subsystem for Linux.

The company has made big strategic acquisitions, and Microsoft recently acquired Github, but that approach to Linux and Open Source goes further with the new announcement. Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), a consortium that defines itself as a "shared defensive patent pool with the mission to protect Linux". With that move, Microsoft is bringing 60,000 patents to OIN that will be available royalty-free to anyone who joins the OIN community.
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