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Windows 11 blocks testers from using classic Windows 10 Start menu

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Windows 11 has fully blocked the ability to switch back to the traditional Windows 10 Start menu in the latest preview build of the incoming OS, disappointing some testers in the process.

This isn’t really surprising, because the ability to revert to the normal (left-aligned) Start menu was only present as a fudge – as Tom’s Hardware points out, you needed to go into the Registry and apply a workaround to do this.

Remember, editing the Registry isn’t normally recommended, and certainly not for those who aren’t confident about what they’re doing, because putting a foot wrong can potentially be seriously bad news for your system. That said, of course Windows 11 testers should be more tech-savvy types, but even so, messing in this way with beta software which can already be buggy by its very nature comes with its own caveats.

At any rate, with the new build 22000.65, Microsoft has changed Windows 11 so that this Registry tweak no longer works, and now there’s no way to bring back the old Start menu for those who don’t like Windows 11’s fresh take on this part of the UI.

Testing times

Doing this makes sense with the preview build considering that Microsoft will doubtless want testers to be using the new Start menu and finding bugs or problems with that – after all, that’s the whole point of the Windows Insider program.

It’s not clear whether with the final version of Windows 11, Microsoft could bring back an option to switch to a Windows 10-like Start menu, but that obviously remains to be seen. It would make sense in terms of tempting those who aren’t keen on the new menu – which makes some controversial changes, including a central alignment, rather than the traditional left-sided one – to make the switch and upgrade to Windows 11.

Obviously, we don’t know what Microsoft will end up doing – and feedback from testers (or indeed elsewhere online) will likely be a sizeable determining factor – but even if there is no official setting to change the Start menu away from the new configuration, there’ll doubtless be third-party apps from the likes of Stardock on hand to help those who want to turn back the UI clock.

Windows 11 will start rolling out late in 2021 and it’ll be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users, or indeed for those on Windows 7 or 8.1 theoretically.


11 Jul 2021



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  • We overclocked the Intel Core i9-12900K, here's how far we got

    The latest Intel processors for enthusiasts are here and based on early reviews, both the Intel Core i9-12900K and Intel Core i5-12600K are impressive processors placing higher than competition.

    If you’re looking to upgrade to these new Intel processors, you will have to also update your motherboard and other aspects of your PC. This guide not only looks at the parts you would need to invest in, but also how far we were able to push the Intel Core i9 12900K processor with some overclocking tips.

    While the upcoming full review of these processors will go into a lot more detail on the updates Intel has made to the platform, you should know the new 12th gen processors and the new Intel Z690 chipset is irst platform to offer support for PCI-express 5.0 and DDR5 memory. 

    Graphics cards and NVME drives powered by PCIe 5.0 will likely only be available during the second half of 2022, however, DDR5 memory is already here  adding to your list of components that potentially need upgrading. 

    Although Intel 12th gen processors can work with DDR4 memory, and there are some DDR4-compatible motherboards, a DDR5 solution is a wiser investment. You’re already going to be purchasing a new processor and motherboard - might as well bite the bullet and also buy DDR5 memory which will be a lot more helpful for future updates.

    The build

    Here are the three new components that we have used for this guide:

    • Intel Core i9 12900K processor
    • MSI MEG Z690 Unify motherboard
    • Corsair Dominator DDR5 5200Mhz (2 x 32GB CL38 Kit)

    MSI MEG Z690 Unify

    (Image credit: Future)

    The only other component that you might need to upgrade would be your CPU cooler. Since the size of these new CPUs is different, the mounting placement of your cooler is also slightly different. To avoid this, some motherboard manufacturers like ASUS have drilled two sets of holes to allow older brackets to fit onto their new board. But if that’s not the case with the motherboard you get, you should contact your cooler manufacturer to see if it can ship new backplates to you. 

    Corsair DDR5

    (Image credit: Future)

    If you’re lucky, your backplate on the cooler might be adjustable, which was the case with the Corsair iCUE H150i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler we used. Here are the rest of the components we used

    • Zotac RTX 3070 Ti Graphics card (PCI 4.0)
    • Samsung 980 Pro SSD (PCI 4.0)
    • Corsair HX750i 750 watt PSU

    Once the equipment was all set up, we managed to get some help from Tarek Hamdy, the recognized overclocking expert in the Middle East who holds some records for overclocking globally.

    Before we get into overclocking, just a quick note on the motherboard and RAM that we’ve used for this guide. The MSI MEG Z690 Unify motherboard that we are using was sent to us from MSI focused on the overclocking capabilities. It supports Gen 5 on the first PCI-E slot with up to 128GB/s transfer bandwidth and has five M.2 connectors, four of which support PCIe 4.0 speeds. You also get four RAM slots supporting DDR5 memory up to 6,666Mhz.

    MSI MEG Z690 Unify

    (Image credit: Future)

    One of the nice things about the MSI MEG Z690 Unify motherboard is that the LED that posts diagnostic codes during bootup switches to a CPU temperature monitor after booting, showing you the temperature of your CPU.

    The RAM was sent to us from Corsair and is the Dominator Platinum RGB series. This was a 64GB kit with two 32GB DDR5 modules clocked at 5200MHz. DDR5 is a huge upgrade from DDR4 providing a massive increase in bandwidth and performance.


    The new Intel 12th gen processors have two sets of cores - performance cores and efficiency cores. On the Core i9 12900K you have eight performance cores and eight efficiency cores. These performance cores, by default, have voltages set between 0.85v - 1.275v and speeds set between 3.2GHz to 5.1GHz. The exception to this are two specific cores that can go a little higher to 5.2GHz in our case. These cores are referred to as golden cores.

    The first thing we did was update the BIOS on the Unify motherboard to the latest available version. Since this article is more about testing the CPU performance, we primarily tested in Cinebench and AIDA 64, rather than any PC game benchmarks that are more focused on GPU performance.

    We started with the stock speeds and voltages on the CPU and memory by loading the “default optimized settings” on the BIOS which set the following parameters. At stock speed, we got a score of 25,319 in Cinebench.

    MSI MEG Z690 Unify

    (Image credit: Future)

    Before overclocking the processor, we wanted to observe temperatures on it that our AIO cooler could handle. We did that by adjusting the CPU Voltage to 1.32v and ran CineBench. Expectedly, the CPU started throttling when we hit 100C.

    After playing around with voltages a little more, we settled at 1.27v which was the sweet spot for the 12900K. This voltage level is also something an AIO cooler can handle.

    Our next step was to raise the CPU multiplier to 52 effectively running the P cores at 5,200MHz. However the CPU failed to boot and we went down a step to 5.1GHz which posted and managed to run complete ten minutes of Cinebench testing. We tried the same method on the E cores and, after disabling Intel SpeedStep from the BIOS, ended up with a multiplier of 40. 

    MSI MEG Z690 Unify

    (Image credit: Future)

    Using these settings, CPU temperature hit 95c under load when running Cinebench which is just below the 100c mark where the CPU starts throttling. This resulted in our Cinebench R23 score of 27,596 points, which is about 10%  higher than the 25,319 points we got at default voltage and speeds.

    Next we wanted to test overclocking DDR5 which is a bit trickier than DDR4. Our main focus was to achieve the highest speeds on AIDA64’s Read/Write/Copy/latency tests. We switched the CPU back to defaults speeds and voltage and selected the XMP profile for the RAM which was 5200Mhz @ 38-38-38-82-2T VDD/VDDQ  running at 1.25v. We kept an eye on DDR5 temperatures during testing which hit a little over 40c - there was no cooling mounted or pointed towards the RAM modules.

    Corsair DDR5 results

    (Image credit: Future)

    Since we are dealing with Micron chips on the RAM , we weren’t expecting a huge jump in speeds and the max we got to was 5400Mhz with decent CL configurations. That’s just 200Mhz over the XMP profile.

    To reach those speeds, we upped the voltage to 1.435v on both VDD/VDDQ and started to train the RAM from 5200Mhz to 5600Mhz at very loose timings. The PC refused to boot at 5600Mhz but reducing it to 5400Mhz worked nicely. We then started to tighten the table clocks, and after many different combinations, crashes and  restarts, ended up with 36-39-29-74-2T. For some reason, this MSI motherboard wouldn’t  change the Tras Pre time- whatever we selected would just result in 39. Here are the results from AIDA64.

    Corsair DDR5

    (Image credit: Future)

    To summarize, we were able to get a decent 10% increase in CPU performance with overclocking. We recommend using at the least, a good AIO cooler if you’re planning on overclocking but a custom kit will definitely get you better results. If you are going the AIO route, you should under-volt the CPU a bit to keep temperatures in check. 

    There wasn’t a big margin with overclocking DDR5; possibly because our modules were using Micron chips. If you’re lucky enough to get Hynix or Samsung, you might get better results.

    We also think that BIOS optimizations updates on Z690 motherboard will help and hopefully MSI fixes the Tras issue. Nevertheless, you’re still getting a much higher performance on DDR5 compared to DDR4. 

    Read More
  • New Linux release candidate cuts thousands of lines of unnecessary code

    Upcoming RC is a good reflection of the current state of affairs of Linux kernel development.

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    It’s been “hiding in plain sight”, security researchers claim.

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  • Apple’s testing a bunch of M2 Macs (including a MacBook Air) that could arrive at WWDC

    Apple is testing a whole bunch of new Macs that are powered by its next-gen M2 chip -- including a new MacBook Air and multiple MacBook Pro models, according to the laptop grapevine.

    This report comes from one of the more reliable sources for Apple spillage, Mark Gurman, who points out in Bloomberg that tapping info in developer logs suggests no fewer than nine possible Macs using different variations of the incoming M2 chip are being tested.

    Obviously, take this with a large pinch of your preferred condiment, although Gurman does clarify that as well as the logs in question, he has spoken to inside sources who have corroborated the info. But remember that there are no guarantees here, nor ever with any nuggets from the rumor mill.

    Okay, so the main points of interest here are the new MacBooks, starting with the purported MacBook Air (2022), which has long been rumored as coming in an all-new design with the M2 chip. Gurman asserts that this laptop is codenamed J413 and will offer an 8-core M2 CPU (with a 10-core graphics solution).

    There’s also an entry-level MacBook Pro with M2 in testing, which will use the same SoC as the Air. And again this refresh of the base 13-inch model has been floated multiple times via the rumor mill.

    Further Apple laptops currently in the testing process purportedly include MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch refreshed models with M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, both running with the same core spec. Supposedly the M2 Max is a 12-core SoC with 38-core graphics (notched up from 10 cores and 32 cores respectively in the current M1 Max). These notebooks will come with up to 64GB of system RAM, the report states.

    As you might expect, the much-rumored Mac mini (2022) comes into play with this batch of testing too, and the next-gen model supposedly runs with the same spec as the MacBook Air and its M2 chip – but there’s a further Mac mini variant with the M2 Pro inside also in testing.

    Interestingly, Apple has supposedly also tested Mac mini machines with an M1 Pro and M1 Max, but Gurman believes these designs won’t come to fruition, and may well be redundant now that the Mac Studio is on the scene.

    Finally, Gurman asserts that there’s a Mac Pro which is built on the follow-up chip to the M1 Ultra currently seen in the Mac Studio.

    Analysis: Best laid plans might still go awry…

    Apple prototypes and tests bushels of hardware, and not all of it is picked for store shelves. So there are no guarantees that we’ll see anything like all of the Macs talked about here. That said, Gurman does observe that testing is “far along” in some cases, so presumably some of this hardware is close to being finalized for launch.

    The leaker believes that two Macs will come out around the middle of the year, and we’ve heard before from Gurman that we may see these unveiled at WWDC (we’re not so sure, as we’ve discussed previously, but hey, we certainly can’t rule it out).

    The theory is that one of those models destined for a WWDC reveal is the redesigned MacBook Air, and in this latest rumor deluge, Gurman again mentions that this is one of the Macs that’ll arrive in 2022, along with the low-end MacBook Pro (13-inch) and Mac mini. We’re looking at 2023 for the others, then, or however many of them make the cut (also interesting to note here is that there’s no mention of any new iMac).

    Clearly, we need to stay skeptical around these predictions – and any crystal ball gazing for that matter – and what’s more, there could be disruption to MacBook production that throws these potential timeframes into disarray, or at least might cause a delay. As we heard earlier this week, the current lockdowns in China could have a considerable impact on MacBook manufacturing in particular.

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