Lightbulb New Windows PC? Make sure it has the latest drivers installed for maximum performance
Posted by: harlan4096 - Yesterday, 06:10 - Forum: Tips and tricks - No Replies

Quote:You may remember that I purchased a new laptop from Asus some time ago, to replace my aging Surface Go 2 laptop. One of the main reasons for making the switch was that Microsoft's own device was not compatible with Windows 11. Since I needed a laptop with the operating system, for testing and work purposes, I decided to purchase a new one.

[Image: intel-update-drivers.png]

Got a good offer for an Asus ZenBook UX425JA laptop and decided to use it from that moment on. The device had been around for some time, and that usually means that some components are not up to date.

When it comes to new Windows PCs, it is essential that you check if updates for these components are available. The BIOS of the ASUS, for instance, dated back to 2020, while a late 2021 BIOS file was available.

Similarly, drivers for the Intel UHD graphics adapter, the wireless adapter and Bluetooth module were all out of date.

Installing these updates may improve performance, have a positive impact on battery live, resolve issues that you may encounter, and may fix security issues next to that.

On my device, I noticed a strange behavior out of the box: the Windows desktop would sometimes flicker and turn dark completely on a restart. I suspected it to be graphics driver related, and it turned out that this was indeed the case.

Some of the updates are not provided via Windows Updates, and many users may ignore these because of that.

Updating the BIOS on Windows 11

[Image: bios-version-windows-11.png]

BIOS and firmware updates may improve the stability, performance and security of a device. Some users shy away from updating a computer's BIOS, but the process is straightforward and done in a matter of minutes.

First thing you need to do is identify the current BIOS version.
  1. Open the Start menu on the Windows PC.
  2. Type System Information and select it when the search results are displayed.
  3. Locate the BIOS Version/Date entry.
On my PC, it showed American Megatrends Inc. UX425JA.306, 31/12/2020. It is usually sufficient to note the date, but in this case, the make of the device and the BIOS version -- 306 -- was also listed.

To find out if an update is available, combine the "system model" information that is displayed in the same window with the information.  In my case, searching for Zenbook UX425JA BIOS, returned the ASUS website for the device with download options.

I checked the BIOS download options and a newer BIOS was offered. Just compare the release date with the installed BIOS version to find out if a newer version is available.

[Image: windows-11-bios-update-asus.png]

Updating the BIOS is a straightforward process as well. Some manufacturers offer executable files that you may start in Windows to initiate the update of the BIOS.

I recommend downloading the BIOS file to an USB device and keep the device connected to the PC.

The next steps involve restarting the PC, loading the BIOS -- most devices highlight how that is done on start -- and select the Flash options when the BIOS interface loads. Select the new BIOS file when asked and wait for the process to complete.

Recheck the BIOS Version/Date line in the System Information tool after the update to verify that it installed correctly.

Update other drivers

Graphics adapter, WLAN, Bluetooth and other devices may operate with outdated drivers as well. How you update these depends on the manufacturer. Most of the time, it is either Intel, AMD or Nvidia that is providing these drivers. While you may also get updated drivers from the device manufacturer, these may not be updated as often as the drivers provided by Intel or AMD. It is safe, usually, to pick these generic drivers. Sometimes, some custom options may be removed if a generic driver is used. Most of the time, you won't see a difference in functionality.

I recommend downloading and installing the drivers manually, but you may use automated tools as well. Intel, for example, has a Intel Driver & Support Assistant tool which scans for updates and supports the downloading and installation of updates.

Closing Words

Windows PCs may ship with an outdated BIOS and drivers that are not up to date. Many Windows users may not be aware of this and run devices that do not provide the maximum performance, stability and security, which they could, if all device drivers were updated. Even brand new devices, that have been out for a month or so, may have driver and BIOS updates available already.

Now You: how do you handle BIOS and driver updates?
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Information The end of Windows 8.1 is near, and Microsoft plans to warn customers about it
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 15:16 - Forum: Microsoft Windows News - No Replies

Quote:Microsoft plans to display notifications on Windows 8.1 systems to inform customers about the upcoming end of support.

Windows 8.1 was not Microsoft's most successful desktop operating system, but it still is used by millions of computer users.. Depending on who you ask, top picks include Windows XP SP3, Windows 7 SP2 and one of the newer Windows 10 versions.

[Image: windows-8.1-support-end-warning.jpg]

When Windows 7 ran out of support more than two years ago, Microsoft displayed notifications on the desktop that informed customers about the upcoming end of support. With ESU, organizations and businesses could extend support for three years for a price that doubled with each passing year. Clever folks found a way to bypass Windows 7 ESU to install the updates that Microsoft releases on home devices.

Coincidentally, Windows 7 ESU support is going to end in the same month that Windows 8.1 support is going to end. Microsoft confirmed already that it won't be launching an ESU program for Windows 8.1 to extend the operating system lifetime for organizations and businesses:
 
Quote:Microsoft will not be offering an Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 8.1. Continuing to use Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023 may increase an organization’s exposure to security risks or impact its ability to meet compliance obligations.

Windows 8.1 support ends on January 10, 2023. Microsoft will release a last round of security updates for the operating system on the day before support is ended entirely. Microsoft won't provide technical support, software updates or security updates after official support ends.

The operating system was launched in 2013 as the successor to the unpopular Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8.1 addressed some of the issues of Windows 8, but it never managed to convince the majority of Windows 7 device owners to make the upgrade. Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 8.1 in January 2018, five years after its initial release. The five years of extended support that follow mainstream support end in January 2022.

Microsoft has three suggestions for customers who are running Windows 8.1 devices:
  1. Buy a new PC with Windows 11 (recommended).
  2. Install Windows 11 on the current PC (if compatible).
  3. Install Windows 10 on the current PC.
Customers have several other options, including making the switch to Linux, or continuing to run Windows 8.1. While not recommended, as security vulnerabilities won't be fixed anymore after January 10, 2023, it may be a temporary option for some.

The upgrade to Windows 10 may not be the best course of action either, as Microsoft plans to retire the operating system in 2025. Still, if compatible, the device could be upgraded free of charge to Windows 11 to continue receiving security updates.

Now You: do you use Windows 8.1 devices? What do you plan to do when the operating system reaches end of support?
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Information Microsoft Edge gets a new gaming homepage and enhancements for Xbox Cloud games
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 15:13 - Forum: Browsers News & Tips - No Replies

Quote:Microsoft Edge 103 was released today with various security fixes. The latest version of the browser also adds some new gaming features.

[Image: Microsoft-Edge-gets-a-new-gaming-homepag...-games.jpg]

The company is touting Edge as the best browser for gamers, by introducing a new Gaming homepage.

When you update the browser to the latest version, it will display a welcome screen highlighting the new features in it. You can access it from your homepage, or new tabs/ Click the Gaming tab to access your gaming feed. It provides a news feed that is tailored to your interests. You can personalize it to add/remove content as you see fit.

If you've used Edge's feed before, you may be familiar with the experience. There is a Live Stream widget at the top of the page that highlights popular games that are being streamed. The next widget displays information about eSports competitions that you can register for. There is another widget called Pro Matches that shows upcoming events that you maybe interested in. Edge's Gaming homepage offers a quick way to view and manage your Microsoft Rewards.

The new version of Edge comes with some Xbox exclusive features. If you log in to your Xbox account in the browser, you can use it to check which games you have been playing recently. It also has shortcuts that you can use to discover games, and access the Xbox Cloud Library.

The Xbox Game Pass widget is particularly useful, as it lists new games that have been added to the subscription, games which are coming soon to it, and games that are currently trending on the service.

Note: The Recently Played section doesn't show up for me, even though I have an active Game Pass subscription.

The news feed features gaming articles from around the web, game guides, etc., like a normal page. You may hide stories, like them, etc, just like you would with the widgets panel.

[Image: Microsoft-Edge-Clarity-Boost.jpg]

Microsoft Edge has a Clarity Boost feature, which improves the graphics quality in Xbox Cloud Games by sharpening the image. It uses spatial upscaling enhancement to deliver a crisp experience for console games that you stream. To enable it in a game, click the three-dot menu in the top left corner of the screen.

Microsoft says that it has partnered with Epic Games to allow Edge users to play Fortnite directly in the browser.

The Efficiency mode will reduce the amount of  RAM and CPU used by the browser when you are playing a PC game, so you don't have to close the browser while gaming. This setting is enabled by default. If you want to disable it, Head to the Settings page, and switch to the System and Performance tab, and toggle the option that says "Improve your PC gaming experience with efficiency mode".

[Image: Microsoft-Edge-efficiency-mode-gaming-experience.jpg]

The company is promoting its Games menu as part of its new Gaming experience. The new Microsoft Edge gaming features are available for Windows 10 and Windows 11. The current version of the browser is 103.0.1264.37.

The gaming home page seems a little too busy in my opinion, I feel like there's just too much information on the page.
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Information iWork 12.1 update for Pages, Numbers and Keynote released
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 10:51 - Forum: Apple macOS & iOS News - No Replies

Quote:Apple has released the iWork 12.1 Update for its office suite. The Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps have all been updated for macOS, iOS, and iPadOS.

[Image: iWork-12.1-update-for-Pages-Numbers-and-...eased.jpeg]
What's new in the iWork 12.1 Update

Keynote

The presentation app in the suite, Keynote, has some new themes that support dynamic backgrounds. These have an animation effect, they are not too fancy.

The styles are quite subtle, like a wave of colors flowing gently, or shifting from side to side. The effects are also available in other themes, but you have to manually toggle the background to use the dynamic ones.

[Image: Keynote-12.1-update.jpeg]

You may switch between the various backgrounds and the app will display a motion preview of the selected effect. The preview can be disabled, if you find it distracting. If you have a group of collapsed slides, you can now choose to skip or unskip all of them.

[Image: Keynote-app-update.jpeg]

Pages

It's finally here, the Pages app now supports Mail Merge. The feature was removed when Pages 5.0 was released in 2013. (refer: Wikipedia).

[Image: Pages-12.1-update.jpeg]

It's back in Pages 12.1, and you can use the word processor to create personalized documents for multiple recipients. The app has new templates that you may pick from the New Document screen. These templates allow you to create letters, cards, envelopes, event invitations, etc. Pages will request access to your contacts list, if you choose to use one of the templates. This permission is used for adding a recipient to the document quickly.

You can edit the images and text in the themes, and replace them with your own content to give it a bit of a personal touch. There is a new Technical Certificate template that can be useful for educational institutions, tutors, etc. This template style requires some additional fonts that you will need to download.

[Image: Pages-app-update.jpeg]

This may seem like a trivial feature for many, but one that some might appreciate, the Pages app now allows you to export documents in the TXT format. The Pages app on macOS has supported plain text files without the formatting, but this is something new for iOS and iPadOS devices. This can be very useful for editing text in other apps, and even across platforms and non-Apple devices.

Numbers

Numbers is the only app in the iWork suite that did not gain a new feature in the 12.1 Update. Instead, the new version of the spreadsheet app has gained an optimization. The performance of the app should now be improved when you insert new rows and columns in large tables. That can be important given how spreadsheets can be pretty huge.

It took a while for the updates to show up on my Macbook, but I got them today. The iWork 12.1 Update for Pages, Numbers and Keynote is available on the Mac App Store, and the iOS App Store.

Overall, the update might seem a minor one, but it brings some useful features to the table. It seems a little odd that it took so long for Apple to add a basic feature like Mail Merge to Pages.

Have you installed the updated versions of the iWork suite?
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Information Arc A770M Beats GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile, According to Intel
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 06:35 - Forum: Hardware News - No Replies

Quote:
[Image: Du9nMSQhqb6CCjYjUK8uzk-320-80.jpg]

Fear the alchemists

Intel announced the company's Arc Alchemist mobile lineup back in March. The high-end Arc 7 A730M and A770M won't hit the U.S. market until summer, but they're already shipping in select laptops in China. In a new reviewer's guide, Intel claims that the A730M and A770M are faster than Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile and RTX 3060 Mobile, respectively.

The A730M and the A770M are the top performers from the A-series mobile lineup. The discrete graphics cards feature Intel's ACM-G10 silicon baked with TSMC's 6nm process node. The A730M comes with 24 Xe cores, 24 ray tracing units, and a clock speed up to 1,100 MHz. The superior A770M has eight more Xe cores and ray tracing units while also enjoying a clock speed that hits 1,650 MHz. As a result, the A770M offers twice the compute performance as the A730M. There's also a significant gap in memory configuration between the A730M and A770M. The A730M has 12GB of GDDR6 memory across a 192-bit memory interface, whereas the A770M wields 16GB of GDDR6 and a 256-bit memory bus.

As always, we recommend you approach vendor benchmarks with caution. The disparity between the hardware for the four gaming laptops that Intel used in its tests is evident. The A730M pre-production unit features the latest Core i7-12700H, a 14-core Alder Lake-H chip, and 16GB of DDR5-4800. On the other hand, the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile belongs to the ROG Zephyrus M16, which has the previous octa-core Core i7-11800H Tiger Lake chip and 16GB  of DDR4-3200 memory. More importantly, Asus' device uses the 60W version of the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti. For reference, there are 70W and 80W variants, so the one inside the ROG Zephyrus M16 isn't the best-performing SKU.

There's even a more notorious difference between the A770M and GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile machines. The A770M's pre-production laptop has a 14-core Core i9-12900HK, the flagship Alder Lake-H SKU, and 16GB of DDR5-4800 memory. The GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile emerges inside the MSI Pulse GL66, which has nearly the exact same specifications as the ROG Zephyrus M16. The graphics card has a TGP range between 60W and 115W, and the MSI Pulse GL66 features the 85W variant.

Caveats on the discrepancies in test hardware notwithstanding, let's go ahead and hit the Intel provided benchmarks.

Arc A730M, A770M Benchmarks

According to Intel's 1080p (1920x1080) results, the Arc A730M was up to 13% faster than the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile. Intel didn't specify the TGP for the A730M, so we can't put those numbers into perspective. We know that the A730M wiggles in between 80W and 120W, and the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile spans from 35W to 80W. Intel used the 60W SKU for comparison paired with a slower processor. Even then, the difference wasn't very substantial.

The Arc A770M, the flagship mobile Arc SKU, delivered up to 12% higher performance than the GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile. But again, the TGP for the A770M remains a mystery. As per Intel, the A770M sits between 120W and 150W. However, the GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile was at 85W and had the same last-generation processor as the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile. The GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile offers TGP limits between 60W and 115W, so the tested variant is basically at the halfway point.

The performance delta between the Alchemist and Ampere graphics cards was less than 15%. The margins would probably be lower if Intel had paired Ampere with identical processors like the Intel units and used the higher TGP versions. Perhaps, it may have even tipped the scales. Then again, that's the problem with vendor benchmarks. You can't trust them.

Overall, it's good to see that Intel might be able to deliver GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile levels of performance, and pricing will, of course, be a factor to consider. Intel offers AV1 encoding hardware, which you don't get on other GPUs right now, and it also has some synergies it can leverage when you pair an Arc GPU with an Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake CPU — things like Hyper Encode and Deep Link.

Drivers and gaming performance, meanwhile, seem like they'll fall toward the mainstream and budget sector, so hopefully, vendors will price laptops accordingly. The fact that Intel is doing all of the Arc GPUs, both mobile and desktop, as China first launches doesn't give us a lot of confidence either, but perhaps by the time the U.S. launch rolls around, more bugs will have been squashed.
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Lightbulb The hateful eight: Kaspersky’s guide to modern ransomware groups’ TTPs
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 06:32 - Forum: Kaspersky Security Blog - No Replies

Quote:
[Image: intro_ransomware_groups-ttps-1200x600.jpg]

These days ransomware analysis gets a lot of coverage in commercial and public reports, with vendors issuing dozens of ransomware-related publications each year. These reports provide analysis on specific malware families or new samples, describe the activities of a particular ransomware group, give general tips on how to prevent ransomware from working, and so on. Malware analysts and security professionals can learn a lot from these reports, but not much of the content has an immediate or practical use. With the release of the report Common TTPs of modern ransomware, Kaspersky experts have taken a different approach. We want to familiarize the reader with the different stages of ransomware deployment, how cybercriminals use RATs and other tools across the various stages and what they aim to achieve. The report also provides a visual guide to defending against targeted ransomware attacks, using the most prolific groups as examples, and introduces the reader to the SIGMA detection rules that we created.

What are the ransomware groups?

For the report we selected the eight most common ransomware groups:
  1. Conti/Ryuk
  2. Pysa
  3. Clop (TA505)
  4. Hive
  5. Lockbit2.0
  6. RagnarLocker
  7. BlackByte
  8. BlackCat
We analyzed in detail the attacks these groups perpetrated and employed techniques and tactics described in MITRE ATT&CK to identify a large number of shared TTPs. By tracking all the groups and detecting their attacks, we saw that the core techniques remain the same throughout the cyber kill chain. The attack patterns revealed are not accidental because this class of attack requires the hackers to go through certain stages, such as penetrating the corporate network or victim’s computer, delivering malware, further discovery, account hijacking, deleting shadow copies, removing backups and, finally, achieving their objectives.

To highlight the common components and TTPs shared by the ransomware groups across different attack patterns, we’ve created a common cyber kill chain diagram. It provides a visual representation of the techniques and tactics used by different ransomware operators.
 
[Image: Ransomware-groups-cyber-kill-chain-724x1024.png]

Once the incident data relating to the ransomware groups has been collected, we can identify the TTPs characteristic of each of them and then superimpose these onto the shared cyber kill chain. The arrows indicate the sequence of specific techniques and the colours mark the individual groups that have been known to deploy these techniques.

Whom is the report for?

This report is written for SOC analysts, threat hunting teams, cyberthreat intelligence analysts, digital forensics specialists and cybersecurity specialists that are involved in the incident response process and/or want to protect the environment they are responsible for from targeted ransomware attacks. Our main goal is to help with understanding how ransomware groups generally operate and how to defend against their attacks.

You can use this report as a book of knowledge on the main techniques used by ransomware groups, for writing hunting rules and for auditing your security solutions.

The report contains
  • Tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) of eight modern ransomware groups: Conti/Ryuk, Pysa, Clop (TA505), Hive, Lockbit2.0, RagnarLocker, BlackByte, and BlackCat
  • A description of how different groups share more than half of the common components and TTPs, with the core attack stages being executed identically across groups
  • A cyber kill chain diagram that combines the visible intersections and common elements of the selected ransomware groups and makes it possible to predict the threat actors’ next steps
  • A detailed analysis of each technique with examples of how they are being used by various groups and a comprehensive list of mitigations
  • SIGMA rules based on described TTPs that can be applied to SIEM solutions
Common TTPs of modern ransomware (PDF)
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Information Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25145 adds OneDrive management to the Settings app
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 06:26 - Forum: Microsoft Windows News - No Replies

Quote:Microsoft has released Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25145 to the Dev Channel. The update introduces a faster way to manage your OneDrive subscription.

[Image: Windows-11-Insider-Preview-Build-25145-a...gs-app.jpg]

What's new in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25145

OneDrive storage alert and subscription management

Microsoft is transforming the Accounts page in the Settings app to a one-stop shop for managing your Office 365 subscription, Payment Methods, etc. And now, it has added a way to view your OneDrive storage limit to this page.

Head to the Settings app > Accounts and you should see how much total space you have in OneDrive, it also indicates the space that has been used, both numerically and graphically using a progress bar. The bar will turn red, and a warning message will appear above the section, to indicate that your OneDrive space is running low.

[Image: Windows-11-Insider-Preview-Build-25145-O...ttings.jpg]

The app also tells you whether you are using the free services plan, and has a shortcut to upgrade your plan to a premium one (Microsoft 365). You can click the Open OneDrive button below the bar, to open the cloud storage's page in your default browser.

Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS)

Microsoft has added Local Administrator Password Solution management options to the Group Policy Editor. To access them, open Gpedit.msc and navigate to  Configuration > Administrative Templates > System > LAPS.

[Image: Windows-11-Insider-Preview-Build-25145-LAPS.jpg]

App Usage History

Users can now view a 7-day history of permissions accessed by apps including Location, Camera, Microphone, Phone Calls, Messaging, Contacts, Pictures, Videos, Music library, Screenshots and apps. To view the history, open the Settings app > Privacy & security. Scroll down to the App permissions section, and select the category that you'd like to view.

[Image: Windows-11-Insider-Preview-Build-25145-App-History.jpg]

Suggested Actions

Suggested Actions is now available for all users in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Updated Narrator Braille Driver

Windows 11 Build 25145 brings an updated Narrator Braille Driver that works while switching between Narrator and third-party screen readers. In order to use the new driver, you will need to uninstall the current version from Settings > Apps > Optional Features > Installed Features. Search for Accessibility, click on Braille support and uninstall it.

Here's how to install the new Narrator Braille Driver. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Narrator > Braille, and click the more button. Hit the Download and install Braille button. Go back to the page you installed it from, and select your third-party screen reader under the Braille display driver option.

Fixes in Build 25145

Using Ctrl + Tab should display the Tabs in File Explorer in the proper order if you had rearranged them. Pressing Tab or f6 will switch the focus to the row of Tabs, and you can switch between them using the left and right arrow keys. You can now open a new folder by clicking the middle mouse button in the body (right pane) of File Explorer.

Microsoft has fixed an issue that was causing a delay in the Wi-Fi section appearing in the Settings app and the Quick Settings panel. A similar problem was causing crashes, sometimes when connecting or disconnecting from networks through the Quick Settings, this bug has also been patched. Editing the Quick Settings using touch will no longer dismiss the panel unexpectedly.

Typing a number in the search box in the Settings app should no longer display boxes, when the Arabic display language is active. Accessing the
Bluetooth & Devices > Printers & Scanners page in settings will not crash the app.

Users can now navigate through pages in Task Manager using the CTRL + Page Up and CTRL + Page Down keys.

A bugcheck with SYSTEM_THREAD_EXCEPTION_NOT_HANDLED related to USBs has been patched. Microsoft says that it has mitigated an issue that was leading to InventorySvc consuming an unexpectedly high volume of memory the longer it was running.

The 0x1CA SYNTHETIC_WATCHDOG_TIMEOUT error that happened sporadically after the PC was idle for some time or when a laptop lid was closed, has been fixed. Surface Pro X devices should wake up from hibernate properly without hitting a black screen.

Known issues Build 25145

There are no new known issues in this build, the bad news is that Microsoft has not fixed any of the bugs that were in the past few builds in Live Captions, File Explorer, Widgets, Easy Anti-Cheat, etc.

Please refer to the release notes for a full list of changes in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25145.

File Explorer tabs still haven't been rolled out to all users. My desktop background was switched from Spotlight to a solid color (black). When I switched it back to Spotlight, it displayed the Windows 11 blossom wallpaper. I had to restart it a couple of times for it to refresh the image.
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Information Microsoft Edge 103 fixes 12 security issues
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 06:24 - Forum: Browsers News & Tips - No Replies

Quote:Microsoft released new stable and extended versions of its Microsoft Edge web browser on June 23, 2022. Microsoft Edge fixes 12 different security issues, 10 of which are shared among all Chromium-based browsers.

[Image: microsoft-edge-103.png]

Microsoft Edge 103 is already available. It should be updated automatically on most systems. Edge users may check edge://settings/help to display the current version of the browser. Edge checks for updates when the page is opened and will download updates that it finds.

The Security Update Guide lists 12 distinct vulnerabilities that Microsoft patched in Edge 103. Ten of the vulnerabilities are shared across all Chromium-based browsers, the core that Edge shares with Chrome, Brave, Vivaldi or Opera.

Google released Chrome 103 on June 21, 2022. The company fixed 14 different security issues in Chrome 103, several of which are Chrome-specific. The ten Chromium-specific vulnerabilities include a critical issue and two issues rated as high.

The two Edge-specific security issues are filed under CVE-2022-33638 and CVE-2022-30192. Both are elevation of privilege attacks, and not exploited at the time of writing.
  • Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability -- CVE-2022-33638
  • Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based) Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability  -- CVE-2022-30192
Microsoft Edge 103: non-security changesMicrosoft Edge 103 includes a small number of non-security improvements and changes. The majority of the changes are designed for organizations.

Microsoft lists the following four feature updates in the release notes:
  • Rewritten Microsoft Defender SmartScreen library. Microsoft claims that it is offering "more reliable protection", but does not provide any details on that. Enterprise customers may delay the use until Edge 105 by using the NewSmartScreenLibraryEnabled policy.
  • Client Certificate Switcher to "clear the remembered certificate and resurface the certificate picker when visiting a site requiring HTTP certificate authentication" without quitting Edge.
  • Option to control automatic profile switching using the GuidedSwitchEnabled policy.
  • Work Search Banner in the Microsoft Edge address bar to narrow the search focus to "work-only results".
The following policies are new or updated:
  • GuidedSwitchEnabled - Controls automatic profile switching.
  • InternetExplorerZoomDisplay - Display zoom in IE Mode tabs with DPI Scale included like it is in Internet Explorer
  • LiveCaptionsAllowed - Live captions allowed. Determines whether Edge's new Live Captions feature is under user control.
  • OriginAgentClusterDefaultEnabled - Origin-keyed agent clustering enabled by default
The SleepingTabsTimeout policy supports a timeout of 30 seconds in Edge 103.

Closing Words

Edge users may want to install the update to Edge 103 as soon as possible to protect the browser against potential exploits targeting the security vulnerabilities.

Now You: do you use Microsoft Edge?
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Lightbulb A Registry key reveals if your PC is compatible with Windows 11 version 22H2
Posted by: harlan4096 - 24 June 22, 06:14 - Forum: Tips and tricks - No Replies

Quote:Want to know if your Windows 10 or 11 devices are ready for the upcoming Windows 11 feature update? You may look in the Registry to find out, instead of using Microsoft's PC Health Check app, or any of the third party programs that have been created for the purpose.

[Image: windows-11-version-22h2-compatibility.png]

While it may sometimes be necessary to run these products, for instance on machines that limit Telemetry or have not been updated in a while, checking the Registry is all that is required on most Windows machines.

Here is how this works:
  1. Open the Windows Registry Editor on the PC. You may do so by opening start, typing regedit.exe and selecting the Registry Editor result from the listing. Using Windows-R to launch it from the run box is also an option.
  2. Paste the following path into the address bar at the top: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\TargetVersionUpgradeExperienceIndicators\
  3. Open NI22H2 to check the compatibility of Windows 11 version 22H2. Future versions of Windows 11 will use different keys, e.g. NI23H2 for the 2023 feature update.
  4. Find RedReason on the page and check it:
    1. If its value is NONE, there are no compatibility issues that prevent the upgrade to Windows 11 version 22H2.
    2. Any other value hints at compatibility issues. You may get multiple values listed, e.g., "TPM UEFISecureBoot", to indicate multiple compatibility issues.
  5. The String SystemDriveTooFull hints at another potential issue. A value of 0 indicates that there is enough storage space available for the upgrade. If you get 1, storage space is not sufficient.
The Registry key should be available on most Windows 10 and Windows 11 21H2 installations. It is no longer available for Windows 11 version 22H2 machines.

Windows 10 machines may show other compatibility keys, e.g., 21H2 for the upgrade to Windows 10 version 21H2 if an older version of the operating system is installed.

Closing Words

The only upgrade that is problematic from a hardware compatibility point of view, is the upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11. There may be edge cases, where hardware is changed or certain features are turned off, which may block the upgrades because of compatibility issues.

Now You: do you run Windows? Which version, and do you plan to upgrade to a newer version?
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Information AMD’s MI300 APUs Power Exascale "El Capitan" Supercomputer
Posted by: harlan4096 - 23 June 22, 06:14 - Forum: Tech News - No Replies

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AMD's Accelerated Processing Units earn their name - at Exascale.

We already knew AMD would power the world’s fastest supercomputer - the US Department of Energy (DOE) El Capitan. Expected to be installed in 2023 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the HPE-built system initially leveraged AMD’s Zen 4 CPU cores and MI Instinct GPU accelerators, unlocking unheard-of performance above the 2 Exaflop mark. Yet there’s something that the initial announcement didn’t say: the system won’t be leveraging disparate CPU and GPU accelerators. Instead, confirming our speculation, El Capitan will be leveraging AMD’s recently-announced MI 300 Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). It marks the first time an APU is a supercomputer’s central processing grunt  (opens in new tab)- and at Exascale, no less.

“It’s the first time we’ve publicly stated this,” said associate director for HPC (High Performance Computing) at LLNL, Terri Quinn. In a world-first disclosure in a presentation delivered today to the 79th HPC User Forum at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), he added that the information came straight from the source: “I cut these words out of [AMD’s] investors document, and that’s what it says: it’s a 3D chiplet design with AMD CDNA3 GPUs, Zen 4 CPUs, cache memory and HBM chiplets.” 

AMD’s MI300 APUs will feature CPU and GPU chiplets in the same 3D-enabled packaging with a coherent, HBM3 memory architecture, powered by the company’s 4th generation Infinity Fabric and next generation Infinity Cache. Leveraging both Zen 4 and the CDNA 3 graphics acceleration architecture, MI300 APUs will leverage TSMC’s 5nm process technology (likely N5 or N5P). However, the balance of CPU and GPU cores per APU is still a wild guess.

Being APUs, El Capitan will benefit from what’s likely to be the densest performance profile ever achieved in the world of supercomputing. Make no mistake: El Capitan will represent the pinnacle of semiconductor performance, design, and integration. It’s not hyperbolic to say that it’s likely to be one of humanity’s most technologically complex endeavors.

It is all thanks to tightly-packaged AMD APUs, bundled into HPE Cray XE racks and tied together with Cray’s Slingshot-11 networking, powered by its 16 nanometer Rosetta controllers that can dish out 200 Gb/sec interconnects. The form factor and the number of accelerators per rack is still question mark.

When push comes to shove, Frontier should also become one of the most energy-efficient systems (if not the most efficient), with operating power limited to 40 MW for an optimal performance/power balance. Workloads will run through El Capitan’s circuits starting from 2Q 2024, with the planned end of life set for 2030.

AMD’s continued roll into the Top500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers keeps advancing at a breakneck pace. The company is steamrolling Intel’s previous dominance, already scoring five out of the world’s top ten supercomputers - including first place, thanks to Frontier - against Intel’s single Xeon-based system powering China’s Tianhe-2A, currently ranking ninth (opens in new tab). The company has come a long way from its infamous and nearly company-breaking Steamroller architecture family.

Not all news is bad news for Intel, however, as the company too has earned an Exascale contract with the Argonne National Laboratory. The Aurora supercomputer, too, will be a 2-exaflops HPE-Intel system that has undergone several revisions already. Aurora’s installation is already underway, albeit the exact date it enters operation is still unclear. Intel’s delays on its Sapphire Rapids CPUs have already pushed the supercomputer’s installation, so it remains to be seen how long the execution will take.

Nvidia, too has a relevant presence in the world’s top-performing systems, although it currently only operates in the GPU provider space, scoring three systems powered by its GPUs. But it recently achieved an essential contract as a provider of both CPUs and GPUs for MareNostrum 5, to be installed in the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre (BSC) in Spain. The operation could commence as early as 2023.

Sadly, Nvidia has already taken the “Superchip” nomenclature with its Arm-based Grace CPU product for High-Performance Computing (HPC) deployments. So perhaps AMD should be looking to claim an “Überchip” already?
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