Are You Experienced? Microsoft packs up features developed independent of OS to flash at Windows Insiders

Windows Feature Experience Pack attempts to make beast more modular


The modularisation of Windows 10 continued this week as Microsoft popped a batch of potentially standalone components into a seperate Windows Feature Experience Pack.

Initially available to Beta Channel Windows Insiders running 20H2 build 19042.662, the pack contains bits of Windows 10 that are developed independently of the operating system. In this case, the pack includes some handy tweaks for the screenshot tool to paste directly to a File Explorer folder and a split touch keyboard in portrait mode on a 2-in-1 device.

The plan, according to self-proclaimed "Chief Nerd on the Windows Insider Program Team" Brandon LeBlanc, is to expand the scope of the pack and up the frequency of releases in the future. Eventually, the pack will be delivered to everyday users via Windows Update.

Microsoft has been quietly yanking bits of Windows out of the core operating system for a while now. Doing so makes quite a bit of sense since it unshackles components from the update cycle of Windows 10, which has seen elements become distinctly whiffy as they await the next update.

Notably, Microsoft's Chromium browser, Edge, is updated outside of the core operating system. The Linux kernel at the heart of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 also does not need a full-on Windows 10 release for an upgrade. Other tools, such as the retro throwback PowerToys, have always been outside Windows' update cycle and enjoyed a rapid pace of development.

Microsoft has a rich history when it comes to shipping bits outside of the core operating system. The original PowerToys aside, many will have fond memories of the Plus! pack for Windows 95 and XP or the Ultimate Extras for Vista.

Last night's release, however, is a step towards making Windows 10 a more modular vehicle and untying those components from the OS update cadence. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Robotics and 5G to spur growth of SoC industry – report
    Big OEMs hogging production and COVID causing supply issues

    The system-on-chip (SoC) side of the semiconductor industry is poised for growth between now and 2026, when it's predicted to be worth $6.85 billion, according to an analyst's report. 

    Chances are good that there's an SoC-powered device within arm's reach of you: the tiny integrated circuits contain everything needed for a basic computer, leading to their proliferation in mobile, IoT and smart devices. 

    The report predicting the growth comes from advisory biz Technavio, which looked at a long list of companies in the SoC market. Vendors it analyzed include Apple, Broadcom, Intel, Nvidia, TSMC, Toshiba, and more. The company predicts that much of the growth between now and 2026 will stem primarily from robotics and 5G. 

    Continue reading
  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022