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Windows 10 ends the year with more than half of PCs on a 2020 flavour
Also: Hints of Windows 10X, and don't press that red button, Dougal
In brief Advertising platform AdDuplex rounded out 2020 with a fresh set of figures showing the latest incarnation of Windows 10 cresting double digits as the last three versions accounted for nearly 90 per cent of the 80,000 PCs surveyed.
As well as 20H2 (the October 2020 Update) reaching 13.6 per cent, 2004 (the Windows 10 May 2020 Update) also saw an uptick from 37.6 per cent in November to 40.4 per cent in December. As one would expect, the increases came from declines in the use of earlier versions.
As for the future, Microsoft is expected to deliver the next version of Windows 10 in the coming months and, judging by what is lurking in the Windows Insider channels, will be taking a different course to recent years. A marked absence of whizz-bang features looks to be on the cards this time around; no bad thing considering the lack of drama compared to years past.
The faithful will, however, be looking for clues regarding the future of the operating system. Perhaps an overhaul to deal with (or add to) the inconsistencies in the Windows 10 UI or a taster of the long-promised Windows 10X.
Activate the Windows rumour mill
It is difficult to separate speculation and ideas being floated by Microsoft managers via helpful mouthpieces from actual facts, but some concrete information regarding the near mythical Windows 10X has turned up in the company's support documentation (via Windows Latest.)
It appears that, besides whatever unicorns may be lurking beneath the 10X moniker, it will be possible for users to enjoy the instant on/off experience found elsewhere via "Modern Standby" (available on both Windows 10 Desktop and 10X). The theory goes that a device plunged into such a mode will keep connected while merely sipping power.
An expansion of the Connected Standby power mode that turned up in the days of Windows 8, Modern Standby adds a Connected Standby-type experience to devices that would normally have gone down the Traditional Sleep power model. Switching the power model will, however, require a reinstallation of the operating system.
While Microsoft has remained mostly silent regarding Windows 10X (other than the odd leak to its chums), the spot indicates that it is, at least, updating its support documentation ahead of an unveiling in the coming months.
Making a big, red button for Teams
Those facing more Teams and Zoom calls but aren't brave enough to try the experimental PowerToys' Video Conference mute feature have been thrown a bone with a big, red mute button courtesy of Jennifer Fox, a senior program manager at Microsoft.
Fox has a rich history of DIY projects, so the emergence of the Adafruit-based kit to trigger the
ctrl + shift + m hot key to mute Teams is not entirely surprising. The guide, in GitHub, was spotted by inveterate Microsoft prodder The Walking Cat.
Microsoft Teams Mute Button https://t.co/7bdn1ZvCse pic.twitter.com/ANUTpfilie— WalkingCat (@_h0x0d_) December 29, 2020
It's a fun project. The Adafruit Circuit Playground Express can be picked up for around £30 and a push-button will add a few more UK pounds to the cost. Admittedly, one could also pick up a decent Raspberry Pi for similar money, but there is a certain joy to be had in mashing a big, red button instead of performing a delicate mouse click.
We look forward to future guides – perhaps something kinetic in order to trigger some of the new "Praise" badges we're sure must be coming down the line to complement the existing, vaguely nauseating ones.
We have some suitably branded punchbags ready to go. ®