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Security suites jockey for position on Windows 8.1

Independent security testing firm AV-Test.org released its first Windows 8.1 results earlier this week, showing that, once again, most security suites are capable, but not great, at protecting you from threats.

AV-Test spent most of 2013 focusing on testing security suites on versions of Windows prior to Windows 8. The company's January and February tests showed that top-rated suites on Windows 7 generally performed well on Windows 8. The new Windows 8.1 tests saw similar results.

The new tests compared 24 suites during November and December 2013 on Windows 8.1 with no default security features … Read more

Review: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Breaking with series convention, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag steps back in time instead of forward, filling in the gap between Assassin's Creed III and II. You play as Edward Kenway, a privateer turned assassin caught in a dastardly plan of betrayal.

Pros

Fluid mechanics: Assassin's Creed IV benefits from the work of its predecessors, evident in the game's much refined mechanics. Controlling the assassin, Edward, as he trudges through jungle, climbs trees, or dashes across the rooftops has never felt more natural.

Pirate mode: The naval battles of Assassin's Creed III are now a … Read more

Windows 8.1 update may serve Metro apps from the desktop

Windows 8.1 could move a step closer to bridging the gap between the Start screen and the desktop.

Microsoft reportedly will roll out an update to its latest OS as soon as this spring. And one option apparently slated for that update will let you launch Metro apps without having to switch to the Start screen.

The latest screenshots of the update posted by Russian Web site Wzor show an icon for the Windows Store app nestled on the taskbar. Further, the taskbar and navigation properties window reveals a setting called "Show Store apps on the taskbar."… Read more

Samsung Galaxy S5 could have the look of Windows Phone

Samsung wants ours to be a world full of widgets, if what we saw at CES and the latest leaks of the purported Galaxy S5 home screen are any indication.

Prolific leaker Evleaks initially posted the above images earlier this month, and then later shared the below shots on Twitter of an apparent new home screen design that borrows from both the tiled look of Windows 8 and the constantly updating "cards" of relevant data that Google Now users will find familiar. … Read more

Microsoft publishes new Windows 8.1 how-to guide

Windows 8.1 users who need a helping hand can check out a new how-to guide from Microsoft.

Dubbed the Windows 8.1 Power User Guide for Business, the PDF offers advice on how to use some of the key features in Microsoft's latest OS. The document covers a range of topics, including the desktop, File Explorer, the taskbar, Mobility Center, Internet Explorer 11, and SkyDrive.

With only 17 pages worth of information, the document doesn't cover any one subject in depth but instead touches upon specific settings and features. A handy tipsheet at the end explains how … Read more

HP resurrects Windows 7 PCs 'by popular demand'

Windows 8.1 isn't getting a lot of love from Hewlett-Packard.

The computer maker has begun offering a handful of desktop and laptop PCs running Windows 7, touting the older operating system as "back by popular demand." To spur sales, HP is also offering the Core i5- and i7-powered machines at a $150 discount.

As pointed out by Neowin, the home section of HP's retail Web site also offers Windows 8.1 machines for sale, but the focus of the page is definitely machines running Microsoft's 4-year-old operating system.

Although Windows 8.1 has managed … Read more

Rethinking Microsoft's tablet: Surface Pro 2 succeeds

The Surface Pro 2 is an excellent laptop-tablet hybrid.

I didn't think I would ever be able to write those words after using (for two months) the original Surface Pro, then selling it because, well, I didn't like it.

The Surface Pro 2 changed my mind, though.

A good laptop-tablet hybrid is extremely difficult to design and build; it took me a while to realize this.

Build something that works well as a tablet and it probably won't be a very good laptop. Emphasize the laptop aspect too much and it's a lousy tablet.

In short, … Read more

Path comes to Windows Phone, but it's in beta

Path, the social network for just 150 of your closest friends and family, has finally hit the Windows Phone store, the company announced Friday.

The app first gained popularity on the iPhone in 2010 and later on Android as a dedicated space to share intimate and special moments with close friends and family, instead of publishing them on wider networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The app lets you share photos, status updates, your location, your mood, and even what songs you're listening to on your Path timeline. You can also record when you fall asleep and wake up, … Read more

How to back up and restore your Windows 8 Start screen layout

The Windows 8 Start screen is the gateway to your PC and usually the first thing you see when you log in, unless you've chosen to go directly to the desktop. The update to Windows 8.1 also introduced many more customization options to the Start screen.

Whether you use the Start screen only on occasion or rely on it heavily, you've probably spent some time setting it up just the way you like it. To save you from having to go through it again when you reinstall Windows or if your Start screen gets rearranged accidentally, you … Read more

Sharp goes big with 15.6-inch Windows 8.1 tablet

Sharp's taking the high-pixel-density road with a new 16-inch-class Windows 8.1 tablet.

This could be the year of the large tablet and Sharp just chimed in with a 15.6-inch model with a 3,200x1,800 (WQHD) display and a Core i5-4200U processor.

Samsung announced a 12.2-inch tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show, and Apple is rumored to be working on a 13-inch class tablet.

The 2.7-pound, 0.5-inch thick Sharp RW-16G also packs 4GB of RAM, 128GB solid-state drive, a Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and Windows 8.1 Pro. … Read more