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 on: October 26, 2020, 11:37:56 AM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Way back in October 2019, Microsoft announced Windows 10X, a modular version of Windows 10 aimed at dual-screen, foldable, and new form factors. Microsoft also showed off Windows 10X running on the Surface Neo, which has been delayed until at least 2022 as Microsoft has shifted focus to single-screen devices.

Surface Neo with a dual-screen version of Windows 10X has been pushed back to 2022 and Microsoft has already confirmed that Windows 10X OS will come to single-screened devices first, presumably starting with low-cost PCs to compete with the likes of Chromebook in the education market.

Windows 10X for the single-screen device is still on track to hit the RTM (release to manufacturer) status in December 2020. RTM is an industry term that is used at the point when a product is ready to be shipped for installation on a new system.

In other words, when Windows 10X hits RTM status internally in December 2020, it will be deemed ‘finalized’, ‘feature complete’ or ready for manufacturers. Note that this term doesn’t mean Windows 10X will begin rolling out to consumers or anyone in December.

After finalizing the modular OS in December, Microsoft will begin servicing the operating system with fixes and improvements for the Spring 2021 launch. At the moment, we don’t know if Microsoft is still planning to ship Windows 10X to Insiders for real-life feedback and testing.

Windows 10X is expected to be promoted as a lightweight offering that rivals the likes of Chrome OS. Microsoft won’t bring Windows 10X to existing hardware. Instead, if you want to try the brand-new operating system, you’ll need to buy a new affordable device.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft originally wanted to enable Win32 apps virtualization support using a new virtualization technology called ‘VAIL’. Reports have suggested that Microsoft has removed the necessary technology responsible for VAIL, which means this OS can only run UWP and PWAs natively.

However, enterprise customers will be allowed to run the legacy Win32 apps on Windows 10X using a new internet-based servicing service.

Windows 10X will also come pre-installed with web versions of Office apps, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Teams, Skype, etc.

An improved version of Windows 10X with VAIL (Win32 virtualization) and Surface Neo support is expected to be made available by 2022.


 on: October 25, 2020, 05:31:44 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt

Yesterday Microsoft launched a massive $200 discount on the Surface Duo, which is, of course, great for new buyers, but left existing owners of the 6-week old handset seriously miffed.

Many of them have demanded Microsoft issue a refund to match the new price, but as Brad Groux discovered, Microsoft would rather you return the handset (which has a 60-day return window) and repurchase at the new lower price than simple credit you the difference.

In the end, it seems Brad did win out and managed to get Microsoft to issue a credit.

Microsoft’s policy is both wasteful of the buyer's time and resources, and generally wasteful in that it results in a second-hand device that will need to e refurbished.

The reasons are unclear, but hopefully, the ruckus will cause Microsoft to change their practice in the near term.


 on: October 25, 2020, 05:14:19 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Huawei is in a tough spot, but it’s still releasing phones like nothing is wrong. The Chinese megafirm’s newest devices are the Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro. As usual, they have incredible camera setups and super-premium hardware, but the Android software is still bereft of all Google apps and services.

That makes it a non-starter in most countries, and Huawei’s chip situation is potentially perilous for its global operations.

As the names imply, the Mate 40 is the cheaper of the two phones, but it’s still plenty powerful. The Mate 40 has a 6.5-inch 1080p OLED, 8GB of RAM, and 128-256GB of storage. The Pro is just a little bigger at 6.67 inches and has a higher 1344 x 2772. It also has 256GB of storage. Both phones also have a hole-punch in the display for the front-facing cameras; a single 13MP sensor for the base model and a larger space for the 13MP/depth sensor combo on the Pro.

Early reviews are already praising the camera setup, which includes a 50MP RYYB primary sensor on both phones. It has an impressive f/1.9 aperture, allowing it to capture a ton of light. The Mate 40 also has an 8MP 3x telephoto and a 16MP ultrawide sensor. The Mate 40 Pro, meanwhile, has a 12MP periscope camera with 5x optical zoom and a 10MP ultrawide.

These devices still lack Google services thanks to the trade ban enacted back in 2019. That means buyers will have to make do with Huawei’s App Gallery and cloud services instead of Google. There are no Google services inside China, so Huawei’s sales have remained high even with this major feature gap. However, new actions from the US could be hitting Huawei where it really hurts.

The phones, which look a bit like upside-down iPods from the back, run on the new Kirin 9000 5G chip. Reports indicate that Huawei has only stockpiled about 10 million of these ARM-based octa-core chips, and that’s all it may ever have.

New US trade restrictions on semiconductors have forced Taiwan-based TSMC to stop supplying Huawei. Going forward, Huawei might only have access to manufacturing processes that are several generations out of date.

Without its custom silicon, Huawei would lose the last advantage it has over the competition. While 10 million phones might sound like a lot, it’s not very many for a company like Huawei that used to move tens of millions per year.

The Mate 40 and Mate 40 Pro is probably only coming to Asia and Europe, priced at €899 for the Mate 40 and €1,199 for the Mate 40 Pro. With a limited supply of chips, Huawei will have to think long and hard about which markets will get units.


 on: October 24, 2020, 10:32:04 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
There are times when you like to done things quickly on your Windows 10 system. At those times, you might feel that using the trackpad or mouse is slowing down your work.

In dealing with such situations, Windows 10 run commands can be a mighty tool. Windows run commands allow you to access the features and applications to customize them quickly. With simple keystrokes, you can reach deep down to your operating system files.

I learned and applied correctly, these commands can significantly improve your work efficiency. Let us list out ten frequently used commands.

Open Run Command Dialog Box

Before moving any further, the first thing you should know is how to call the Run command Dialog box.

We can do this in three ways.

First is just press Windows + R buttons of your keyboards together. The second way is type Run in the search bar and then click on the Run application. The third method to open Run Dialog Box is by right-clicking on the Windows start icon, and you will get the Run option there.

So, since we have our Run Dialog Box ready, we can now start shooting the commands on it.

Note: The quotation marks(” “) should not be included in the commands

1. Opening the Home folder of the current user (“.”)

This command is quite handy in better controlling the File Explorer. Just type a single period (.), and you will land on your home folder.

(2) Opening the Windows 10 drive (“\”)

Sometimes you want to explore your root Windows 10 drive(in most cases, it is “C” drive). So instead of navigating using your mouse, use a backslash (\) to jump to the root Windows 10 drive directly.

This (\) command can also be used to navigate towards a specific folder of the drive, by appending that folder name; for example, (\Program Files) will take you to the folder named Program Files in your Windows 10 drive.

(3) Opening the Users folder (“..”)

If you want to reach the all users folder, type (..) on the Run Dialog and hit OK. This command is quite beneficial while performing the system administrative tasks.

(4) Opening the System Configuration (“msconfig”)

If you want to reach the all users folder, type (..) on the Run Dialog and hit OK. This command is quite beneficial while performing the system administrative tasks.

(5) Opening Control Panel (“control”)

This command can be the most useful for you. You might need the Control Panel most of the time for various purposes like Uninstalling/Repairing an application, Security Settings, Hardware & Sound settings, and much more. For quickly accessing the Control Panel type (Control) on the Run Window and hit OK.

(6) Opening Resource Monitor (“resmon”)

Resource Monitor is one of the most important features of Windows 10. Most users simply ignore it or don’t know about it. It helps users to know which running process is using their resources like CPU or RAM usage. This feature can be handy when your system gets hanged, and you want to catch the application, which is causing it.

Getting to this feature is easy by run commands. Type (resmon) on Run Dialog Window and click OK to launch it.

(7) Opening Programs and Features (“appwiz.cpl”)

There comes a time when you get fed up with an application and wants to uninstall it. For that, what you normally do is go to Control Panel and then look for Programs and Features option. Instead of that, you can type the (appwiz.cpl) command on the Run Dialog Box, and you will directly land in Programs and Features Window.

(Cool Opening common Microsoft apps (“calc”, “notepad”, “mspaint”, etc.)

The Run Commands can launch some basic Microsoft apps whose shortcuts are generally not present on your desktop. Like Calculator, Notepad, or MSPaint. Open the Run Dialog Box and use the commands to launch the apps.

(9) Opening Disk Cleanup Utility (“cleanmgr”)

Windows 10 is much advanced in Disk Cleanup than its previous versions. Most of the cleaning process is done automatically in the background. However, there may be some stances when you want to perform disk cleanup manually. For that use (cleanmgr) run command instead of searching for Cleanup Utility.

(10) Open Remote Desktop (“mstsc”)

Remote Desktop is another lesser-known application of Windows 10. It is used when you remotely want to access any other system from your Windows 10 device. This app can be launched directly from Run Command Dialog Box. Type (mstsc) and click OK.


This guide listed out the most common and most useful ten Windows 10 run commands. As already said, they can be super beneficial for enhancing your work speed on your system. However, the key is to learn and remember to use them whenever required.


 on: October 23, 2020, 04:09:22 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Hundreds of PS4 games are on sale via the PlayStation Store and its two new sales. More specifically, Sony populated the PlayStation Store with the following promotional sales: the Halloween Sale and the Games Under $15 sale, which when combined, discount 234 different PS4 games and add-ons. Included in this slab of discounted games are some of the biggest and best titles and series on PS4, such as Assassin's Creed, DOOM, Alien, Far Cry, Destiny, Bloodborne, Crash Bandicoot, The Witcher, Watch Dogs, The Evil Within, Resident Evil, Ghost Recon, Predator, Nioh, Blair Witch, Uncharted, Diablo, Darksiders, Devil May Cry, MediEvil, Death Stranding, Days Gone, Dead Island, Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Dragon Age, Horizon Zero Dawn, Titanfall, and Wolfenstein.

As always, every deal across both sales is a limited time ordeal. For the Halloween Sale, everything will be discounted until November 2. Meanwhile, the Games Under $20 Sale will run until October 29. After both of these respective periods are over, each game will return to its normal price point.

Below, you will find the most notable deals across both sales, organized by which sale they are in, and then ordered alphabetically. Included is not just the game and how much it costs, but a link to its individual PlayStation Store listing.

Halloween Sale

• Alien Isolation: The Collection -- $8.99

• Arc The Lad: Twilight of the Spirits -- $7.04

• Blair Witch -- $14.99

• Bloodborne The Old Hunters -- $9.99

• Crash Bandicoot Bundle - N. Sane Trilogy   CTR Nitro-Fueled -- $37.49

• Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled   Spyro Game Bundle -- $37.49

• Dark Cloud -- $5.99

• Dark Cloud 2 -- $5.99

• Darkest Dungeon -- $7.49

• Darksiders Genesis -- $27.99

• Days Gone -- $19.99

• Death's Gambit -- $9.99

• Death Stranding -- $29.99

• Destiny 2: Forsaken -- $14.99

• Destiny 2: Shadowkeep -- $17.49

• Devil May Cry 5 -- $19.99

• Devil May Cry HD Collection -- $14.99

• Diablo III: Eternal Collection -- $19.79

• Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition -- $23.99

• DOOM 1993 -- $2.49

• DOOM II (Classic) -- $2.49

• DOOM 3 -- $4.99

• DOOM Eternal -- $29.99

• Dragon Age: Inquisition Deluxe Edition -- $4.99

• Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Deluxe Edition -- $42.49

• Dragon's Crown Pro -- $9.99

• Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition -- $17.99

• Fallout 76 -- $15.99

• Fe -- $4.99

• Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted -- $19.49

• Flipping Death -- $4.99

• For Honor -- $7.49

• Frostpunk: Console Edition -- $11.99

• Generation Zero -- $13.49

• Helldivers Dive Harder Edition -- $4.99

• Jotun: Valhalla Edition -- $3.74

•Kingdom: New Lands -- $2.99

• Little Nightmares -- $4.99

• Malicious Fallen -- $8.99

• MediEvil -- $14.99

• Moonlighter: Complete Edition -- $14.39

• Mortal Shell -- $23.99

• Murdered Soul Suspect -- $1.99

• Nioh -- $9.99

• OKAGE: Shadow King -- $4.99

• Othercide -- $27.99

• Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Deluxe Edition -- $14.99

• Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2: Standard Edition -- $4.99

• Predator: Hunting Grounds -- $23.99

• Primal -- $4.99

• Prototype -- $7.49

• Prototype 2 -- $9.99

• Resident Evil 2 -- $15.99

• Resident Evil Revelations 1 and 2 Bundle -- $15.99

• Resident Evil 4   Resident Evil 5   Resident Evil 6 -- $23.79

• Rise of the Kasai -- $7.49

• Salt and Sanctuary -- $5.39

• Sayonara Wild Hearts -- $7.79

• Sea of Solitude -- $9.99

• Shadow of the Beast -- $4.99

• Siren -- $4.99

• Skelattack -- $6.79

• Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition -- $4.49

• Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts -- $19.99

• Sundered: Eldritch Edition -- $4.99

• The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan -- $20.09

• The Evil Within -- $9.99

• The Evil Within 2 -- $29.99

• The Mark of Kri -- $7.49

• The Mummy Demastered -- $9.99

• The Order: 1886 -- $9.99

• The Unfinished Swan -- $4.94

• The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Complete Edition -- $14.99

• Thief -- $1.99

• Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales -- $9.99

• Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint -- $19.79

• Twisted Metal: Black -- $4.99

• Wasteland 3 -- $44.99

• Watch Dogs 1   Watch Dogs 2 -- $14.99

• Watch Dogs 2 -- $9.99

• West of Dead -- $13.99

• Wolfenstein: Alt History Collection -- $47.99

• Zombie Army 4: Dead War -- $19.99

• Zombie Army Trilogy -- $9.99

• Zombie Vikings -- $2.99


Games Under $15 Sale

• Abyss Odyssey: Extended Dream Edition -- $4.49

• Assassin’s Creed Syndicate -- $8.99

• Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle -- $9.99

• Castles -- $1.64

• Chasm -- $9.99

• Citizens of Earth -- $4.49

• Citizens of Space -- $5.99

• Concrete Genie -- $14.99

• Conga Master -- $1.99

• Dead Island Definitive Edition -- $4.99

• Dead Island: Retro Revenge -- $1.24

• Dead Island: Riptide Definitive Edition -- $4.99

• Dead Rising -- $5.99

• Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today -- $3.99

• de Blob 2 -- $5.99

• Demon's Crystals -- $1.74

• Deus Ex: Mankind Divided -- $4.49

• Donut County -- $5.19

• Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 -- $9.59

• Far Cry 3 Classic Edition -- $9.89

• Far Cry 4 -- $6.59

• Far Cry Primal -- $9.89

• GOD EATER 2: Rage Burst -- $9.59

• Gorogoa -- $5.99

• Guts and Glory -- $3.74

• .hack//G.U. Last Recode -- $9.99

• Horizon Chase Turbo -- $9.99

• Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds -- $5.99

• Intruders: Hide and Seek -- $3.99

• Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime -- $7.49

• Marvel's Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps -- $12.49

• Masters of Anima -- $2.49

• Mirror's Edge Catalyst -- $4.99

• NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 3 Full Burst -- $7.99

• NASCAR Heat 4 -- $6.79

• Need for Speed -- $4.99

• Onrush Deluxe Edition -- $8.49

• Overcooked Holiday Bundle -- $7.99

• Party Hard -- $3.24

• Peggle 2 Magical Masters Edition -- $2.99

• Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn -- $4.99

• Streets of Rogue -- $9.99

• The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 -- $5.99

• The Crew 2 -- $12.49

• The Deadly Tower of Monsters -- $4.49

• The Dwarves -- $7.99

• The Escapists -- $4.99

• The Escapists 2 -- $7.99

• Thumper -- $5.99

• Titanfall 2: Ultimate Edition -- $4.49

• Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition -- $3.99


• Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 -- $9.99

• UNCHARTED The Nathan Drake Collection -- $9.99

• Unravel Two -- $4.99

• Wattam -- $9.99

• What Remains of Edith Finch -- $7.99

• Wizard of Legend -- $6.39

• Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus -- $13.19



 on: October 23, 2020, 03:36:11 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt

Nintendo has made a Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite game over on the Nintendo eShop for just $0.09 for a very limited time. In other words, you can currently get a quality-looking Switch and Switch Lite game for just nine pennies. In today's world, nine pennies doesn't buy you anything but 1/9th of a candy bar, but right now it will net you Gurgamoth, a game self-described as "the perfect mix of party chaos and competitive strategy."

Gurgamoth didn't hit Nintendo Switch until 2019, but it first debuted back in 2016. Over on Steam, 81 percent of players have reviewed the game positively. On Switch, the game from Galvanic Games requires only a humble 389 MB, supports all three modes of play, and features co-op for up to four players. It also supports the following languages: Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, and Russian.

"Gurgamoth is a flying fighting game where the level is your weapon," reads an official pitch of the game. "Each match is lightning quick and focuses on intense flying combat and getting in your opponent's head. The controls are simple, but the mechanics and interesting levels bring out the game’s depth."

Normally, Gurgamoth runs at $10, so this is a huge discount, but it's only available for a limited time. How limited this window is though, is unclear. That said, if this deal doesn't tickle your fancy, maybe the Nintendo eShop's deal for Venture Kid will. The retro platformer is currently $0.99, and like Gurgamoth, it usually costs $10.

Venture Kid also didn't hit Switch and Switch Lite until 2019, but it actually debuted in 2018. Over on Steam, 78 percent of users have reviewed the game positively. Meanwhile, on Switch and Switch Lite, it only requires a tiny 16 MB and supports all three modes of play. Further, it supports the following languages: Japanese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, and English.

For more coverage on all things Switch and Switch Lite -- including all of the latest news, rumors, and leaks -- click here.


 on: October 23, 2020, 03:25:00 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Minecraft players have been able to play without a Microsoft account for the past six years that the company has owned the game, but that will change in 2021, the official Minecraft blog announced yesterday. Players who own the original version of the game and do not switch to a Microsoft account will be unable to play.

The game has existed in two separately developed versions since its 2011 launch on consoles. Previously, the original Minecraft: Java Edition used Mojang accounts, while Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, the name for the console and Windows store version of the game, used Microsoft accounts. After this change, the accounts will be the same, but there’s still no crossplay: you still won’t be able to play with friends using the other version of the game.

Mojang says players migrating from Mojang accounts will not lose any information and that the new accounts will offer two-factor authentication (2FA) and other safety features previously available in the Bedrock Edition of the game, like parental controls and the ability to block chats and invitations — a concern for younger players on multiplayer servers.

Players will be emailed in batches in the coming months on how to migrate and will receive an additional notification on their profile page when they’re able to create a new account. Alongside the blog post, Mojang created a video to explain the switch and preempt player complaints:

For anyone worried, the video is reassuring about the compatibility of user-generated content and multiplayer, but it makes some big assumptions about how positively you’ll feel. The video also doesn’t mention something that could make many players angry: usernames for Java Edition players are at risk.

In support articles addressing the change, Mojang is clear that your username won’t be affected in-game, but if someone is already using your name or it doesn’t meet Microsoft’s standards, you might be forced to log in with a different one. There may not be as many names available to pick from, given that console players have had eight years to snap them up.

Mojang says that it was easier to use Microsoft accounts to offer these new features rather than create them from scratch, but if they’re so important to offer in the first place, why did they take so long to arrive? Players have requested two-factor authentication for as long as the game has offered a place to buy and sell content — that’s three years if you’re counting. Protecting your virtual objects from theft seems like an important enough reason to prompt a change, but it didn’t until now. I can’t help but wonder if this is an issue Microsoft forced, simplifying the management of their biggest game before the launch of next-generation consoles.

While not as incendiary as Facebook’s decision to require Facebook accounts for the use of Oculus headsets, Minecraft is still one of the biggest games in the world and now many players will have to take action if they still want to play.


 on: October 22, 2020, 06:12:59 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt

Microsoft is beginning to roll out the Windows 10 October 2020 update, formerly known as 20H2, with a bunch of changes to the UI including changes to the start menu and tablet mode, Alt   Tab in Edge, and Xbox Game Pass.

The Start menu will be getting a design with transparent tiles, which should make them look better with your theme or wallpaper. The taskbar will also become more touch-friendly and will change automatically when you go into tablet mode, without asking whether that's what you want. Additionally, Microsoft is making some changes to notifications to better indicate which piece of software it's coming from.

Those with high refresh displays will be able to change the refresh rates in settings, under Settings > System > Display, Advanced display settings.

There are some new Edge features, which are exclusive to the browser on Windows 10. Alt   Tab will let you tab through open, well, tabs. Additionally, when you hover over a favicon, it will highlight all of the open tabs from that site.

As is typical for major OS updates, Microsoft will be throttling the release of this update. The May 2020 update took quite some time to reach some PCs and also had quite a few bugs, so this approach maybe for the better. The company wrote that "In this work, learn and connect from home environment where people are relying on their PCs more than ever before, we are taking a measured seeker-based rollout approach to the October 2020 Update."

Devices with hardware compatibility issues may also trigger safeguards, so it may be a bit until the October 2020 update hits your laptop or desktop.

If you want to see if the October 2020 update is ready for you now, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and click on Check for updates. If you want to roll the dice and force update your PC to the latest build, you can use the Media Creation Tool.


 on: October 22, 2020, 06:03:13 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
Nintendo has pushed a patch to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that removes the unintentionally NSFW victory pose used by Minecraft Steve.

The Mojang mascot arrived in-game on October 13, and shortly after fans made the internet aware of his provocative victory animation. If Steve triumphs over his Nintendo colleagues, he will start eating a piece of steak in the endgame screen and then hold the steak slab at waist height, creating an image rife with potential innuendo for those of us with a dirty mind.

However, Nintendo has now made it so that the steak vanishes after he eats it, removing its promiscuous potential. You can see Steve's new victory pose in the video above, uploaded by Twitter user Plun_Yu. This is one of the many tweaks introduced in the Ver. 9.0.1 update, issued on October 21. As well as getting rid of Steve's slab, the patch has fixed a few issues with the Minecart and Anvil moves used by the new suite of Minecraft characters.

Microsoft's head of gaming Phil Spencer was shown the image in an interview with Kotaku's Stephen Totilo last week. After a long pause, Spencer responded "Yeah. Who did that?" before being told it was a real screenshot for the game, and saying, "I assume that will be fixed."

In our review of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Minecraft Steve DLC, we considered more than just his modesty, scoring the fighter a 7 and noting that "his uniqueness carries him far nonetheless." In other Smash Bros. Ultimate news, check out the new Banjo-Kazooie, Byleth, and Terry Bogard amiibo that will arrive in 2021.


 on: October 22, 2020, 04:07:45 PM 
Started by javajolt - Last post by javajolt
This underappreciated Android gem can protect your privacy and make your phone significantly more secure, but it's up to you to dust it off and use it.

It's amazing how many useful Android features get buried in the operating system and then forgotten over time.

When you stop and think about it, it's also kind of inevitable: With every passing year, Android grows increasingly robust and complex, as more advanced options make their way into the software. So it's only logical that certain elements will become out of sight and out of mind and get lost in the shuffle somewhere along the way.

One such item jumped out at me the other day, triggering an immediate "AHAH!" in this rusty ol' noggin of mine as I remembered its existence and then scolded myself for forgetting to use it all this time. It's a little somethin' called Android Guest Mode, and it first showed up way back in the Android 5.0 (Lollipop) era of 2014.

Guest Mode, in case you've also forgotten, does exactly what you'd expect: It gives you an on-demand way to switch your phone into a blank-slate-like state, where your personal apps, accounts, and data are all securely tucked away and you instead get an out-of-the-box-like experience, with only the basic preinstalled system apps in place. It's almost like an incognito mode of sorts, applied to your entire phone: All your regular stuff is gone, and nothing done in that environment has any impact on your standard smartphone setup.

The implications for that are enormous. The biggest realistic threat with smartphone security, after all, isn't the coming invasion of scary-sounding malware monsters (which, as we've discussed to death 'round these parts, are more about sensationalism and security software sales than any pressing, practical danger). Nope — it's your own negligence and occasional lapse in judgment.

And even if you take every possible step to protect your privacy and strengthen your phone's security, all it takes is a single, brief pass-off of your device to the wrong person to send all your best-laid efforts swirling down the drain. Whether we're talking about sensitive company data or your own personal photos, messages, and maybe even browsing history, it doesn't take long for the wrong set of eyes to see something they shouldn't — whether it's deliberate or by mistake.

That's exactly the sort of slip-up Android's Guest Mode can prevent — and best of all? Once you remember that it's there, it's simple as can be to deploy.

First things first, we need to make sure your phone is set up properly to support the feature, as it's often disabled by default these days. If you have a Samsung phone, unfortunately, you're out of luck here, as Samsung has for no apparent reason opted to remove this standard operating system element from its software (insert tangentially related soapbox rant here). On Google's own Pixel phones and many other Android devices, though, it takes all of 20 seconds to get it ready:

• Open up the System section of your phone's settings.

• Tap "Advanced" followed by "Multiple users."

• On the screen that comes up, make sure the toggle at the top is set into the on position.

(If you're using a device where the manufacturer has arbitrarily moved things around from Android's typical arrangement and you don't see the exact series of options described above, try instead searching your phone's settings for the phrase "Guest Mode." Provided you're using a device with Android 5.0 or later — which, for the love of Goog, you'd better be — that should get you to the appropriate and equivalent place.)

And that, m'dearie, is it: Android's Guest Mode is now active, ready, and at your beck and call.

What remains is mostly just a matter of remembering. The next time you're about to pass your phone off to a colleague, a client, a friend, a family member, or even a ferret (hey, those little beaks can peck a screen like nobody's business), take 10 seconds first to do this:

• Swipe down twice from the top of your screen to open the full Quick Settings panel.

• Tap your user profile picture — which is probably just gonna be a blank circular person icon — in the lower-right corner of the panel, directly next to the gear-shaped settings icon.

• Tap the "Add guest" option on the screen that comes up.

And with that, your phone should inform you it's switching into Guest Mode — and a moment later, you should find yourself on a generic-looking home screen with only the basic system apps in place. If you open anything like Gmail, Drive, or Docs, you'll simply be prompted to sign in. It'll be as if you were using a brand new phone, without any of your usual stuff available or in any way accessible.

When you're ready to exit out of Guest Mode and get back to normal, just repeat the same first two steps from above — opening the Quick Settings panel and tapping the user profile picture — and this time, select "Remove guest" from the menu that comes up. That'll completely erase and reset everything that was done in that temporary profile and, once you put in your PIN, pattern, or password (or use biometric authentication), take you back to your own standard Android setup.

A pretty useful possibility, right? The power's been right there at your fingertips all along — and now that you've got it activated and in the back of your mind, you can tap into it anytime the need arises.


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