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8 Reasons to Stop Buying Games on Steam

Steam is the largest digital distribution service for PC games. So if you’re a PC gamer it’s likely that you own games on Steam. But is it really the best way to buy games? Here are some reasons to stop buying games on Steam.

1. DRM Means You Don’t Own Anything

Steam is a form of digital rights management (DRM), which is a method to protect against piracy. When you launch a game, Steam launches with it, ensuring you can benefit from platform features like achievements, cloud saves, and trading cards (how to get Steam trading cards


What Are Steam Trading Cards and How Do You Get Them?




What Are Steam Trading Cards and How Do You Get Them?

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).

The good thing is that the DRM is optional. Developers can disable it and allow their games to launch without Steam running. However, many don’t.

For those that don’t, that game is tied to your Steam account. So, if Steam closes down or your account gets banned, you’ll no longer have access to the games you bought. Which means that, in essence, you are merely renting a license to a game.

2. You Can’t Resell Your Steam Games

GameStop store
Image Credit: JJBers/Flickr

Once you buy a game on Steam, there’s no way to sell it on. While you can get a refund under certain conditions, you can’t list it on any marketplace. The game is tied to your account.

That’s different to a game that you buy physically, for example (providing you don’t have to redeem a key to activate the game.) They can easily be sold on eBay, traded in, or donated to a thrift store.

However, a French court ruled that Steam users do have a right to resell their games. That’s something that hasn’t come in to practice yet as Valve is appealing the decision.

3. Steam Games Rarely Come With Bonus Goodies

Playing the game you buy is of course the main draw, but it’s always nice to receive some extras for free. Sadly, you rarely get any bonus goodies when you buy a game on Steam.

If you buy direct through the developer, or on another storefront like GOG, you often get downloadable treats like art books, soundtracks, wallpapers, and more.

It harks back to the days when you would get physical bonuses with your games, like a cloth map or figurine.

4. Valve Takes a Huge Cut From Developers

empty wallet
Image Credit: Marco Verch/Flickr

Making video games is difficult. Turning a profit on them? That’s even tougher. As standard, Valve takes a 30 percent cut of the revenue of all Steam purchases. That percentage reduces on a sliding scale when certain revenue targets are reached, but most developers will never get to that point.

Some developers don’t think Valve deserve such a large chunk of the pie, but Steam’s ubiquity makes it hard to argue. It’s where many consumers automatically go to buy games, so not having a game listed on Steam is risky.

If you want to support a developer then you should stop buying games on Steam. Instead, your best approach is to buy games directly from developers, if possible. Alternatively, the Epic Store only takes a 12 percent cut, while Humble Bundle lets you choose how much of the purchase price goes to the developer.

5. Steam Isn’t Always the Cheapest Option

Steam store on macOS showing video games on sale

Steam always has sales. There are daily sales and also the big seasonal ones around events like Halloween and Christmas. But even then it’s not necessarily the cheapest place to buy games.

Gaming is an expensive hobby at the best of times, so there’s no point spending more than you need to. Especially when the end product is exactly the same wherever you buy it (things like pre-order bonuses aside.)

Check out our recommendations for the best sites for video game deals


Top 7 Sites for Video Game Deals & Bargains




Top 7 Sites for Video Game Deals & Bargains

Video games are expensive, but you can save money by buying them on sale. Here are seven of the best websites for finding cheap video game deals and great bargains.
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. Some websites even provide your purchase as a Steam code, meaning there’s literally no difference in the product except the price.

6. You Are Tied Into the Steam Ecosystem

Some people like owning all of their games on Steam and being tied into the Steam ecosystem. Perhaps it’s the collector in them coming out, or it’s just what all of their friends use.

The problem with this comes when you want to buy something outside of Steam.

Let’s say you buy a game through Steam and the developer later releases DLC. You have no choice but to buy that DLC through Steam, even if it’s cheaper elsewhere, because there’s no way to link the two purchases together otherwise.

7. You Don’t Get a Physical Box

PC game box and manual
Image Credit: Sergey Galyonkin/Flickr

Video games used to come in big cardboard boxes, with great artwork perfect for display. That changed with the introduction of CDs and DVDs, but there’s still something satisfying about seeing a shelf lined with your favorite games.

While it’s much quicker to browse and search your collection on Steam, it’s not quite the same. Visitors to your home aren’t going to strike up a conversation about your Steam library like they might if they saw a line of physical game boxes.

There was something special about poring over a game’s manual on your way home from the shop too. That’s an experience lost, although, to be frank, it does cut down on paper and plastic waste.

8. The Steam Store Is Full of Trash

Negatively reviewed games on the Steam store

Steam is home to tens of thousands of games. The number of games on the store has skyrocketed in recent years, in part thanks to Valve’s lack of curation.

Unlike when you walk into your local store, where the stock has been carefully chosen, the Steam store plays host to everything. While it’s good that the barrier to entry is low, it means there’s a lot of trash and low-effort games to wade through.

For instance, 4,000 of the games on the store are classed as Early Access, which means development isn’t finished. And there’s no guarantee that these games will ever be properly finished.

Why should it be on the consumer to separate the wheat from the chaff?

The Best PC Game Launchers

Despite all of these reasons to stop buying games on Steam, it definitely still has its place. The problem is, Steam has such a hold on the market that it’s difficult for competitors to enter and shake things up.

If you own lots of games across different platforms and want to organize them, you need a game launcher. To get you started, take a look at our list of the best PC game launchers


The 6 Best Game Launchers to Launch and Organize Your PC Games




The 6 Best Game Launchers to Launch and Organize Your PC Games

Here are the best ways to launch all of your PC games without hopping between game launchers.
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.



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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (for PC) Review & Rating

The Call of Duty franchise has experienced an identity crisis in recent years. From adventures in space, returning to a WWII setting, and shifting its focus to battle royale, the series has strayed far from what made it an excellent first-person shooter franchise. Though Call of Duty games still dominate sales, publisher Activision and developer Infinity Ward felt the need to relive the series’ Modern Warfare glory days with a reboot of the seminal 2007 title. The new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has the action-packed single-player and robust multiplayer modes one expects from the series. It successfully strips all superfluous elements and delivers an experience even non-shooter fans can enjoy.

Modern Warfare’s campaign focuses on the American CIA, British SAS, and freedom fighters uniting to oppose Russian forces that have invaded the fictional country of Urzikstan. As the narrative unfolds, you jump between three playable characters: CIA officer Alex (no last name), SAS Sergeant Kyle Garrick, and rebel leader Farah Karim. Though ultimately united by a singular goal, each character provides different viewpoints of the war. This multi-character structure also keeps the story and gameplay from becoming repetitive.

Call of Duty stories are notorious for their Michael Bay-like emphasis on over-the-top action. While Modern Warfare has its fair share of bombastic setpieces, the story is decidedly subdued when compared to those of previous game installments. It’s clear Infinity Ward wanted a more realistic representation of modern war; you not only contend with terrorists and soldiers, but must do so without killing civilians. Often, the story presents players with tough moral dilemmas that don’t have clear-cut solutions. The emphasis on realism makes the narrative a truly harrowing and engaging experience.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (for PC)

In the Trenches

Though a first-person shooter, Modern Warfare contains a surprising amount of gameplay variety. One mission sees your character controlling security cameras for the purpose of directing a hostage to safety. In another mission, you play as a child who must sneak past enemy soldiers. There are points when you must plant explosives, navigate through burning structures, or use satellite-controlled missiles to take out air vehicles. The game never lets you get too comfortable and always keeps you on your toes.

One of the new gameplay features is the ability to mount weapons to objects like door frames, walls, and crates. Mounting helps steady your shots and makes it easier to pick off enemies. It’s also an excellent way of creating cover during particularly nasty shootouts. Very few FPS titles have a cover system, so it’s good to see Call of Duty have its own take on it, even if mounting doesn’t always guarantee your safety.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (for PC)

Squad Goals

The single-player campaign is one of the strongest in Call of Duty’s history, but the game contains many multiplayer modes, too. While the multiplayer modes all boil down to shooting enemies before they shoot you, their variety ensures you’ll return for more action.

Modes like Team Deathmatch, Free-for-All, Headquarters, Search and Destroy (now known as Cyber Attack) and Domination are largely unchanged from their previous iterations. If you’re a longtime player who wants the video game equivalent of comfort food, these modes provide familiar thrills.

Things get interesting when you dip into the new multiplayer modes. Gunfight eschews the large arenas and frantic gunplay for something decidedly more strategic. This 2 vs. 2 mode places two teams into a relatively small arena. There is no health regeneration or respawning. Furthermore, your loadout changes every 40 seconds, forcing you to adjust to the new circumstances. A similar mode called Gunfight OSP sees you scouring the map for weapons. This is akin to the way most matches start in battle royale games like Fortnite or PUBG. In fact, it isn’t unfair to call Gunfight a stripped down battle royale mode.

Speaking of elements from other shooters, the new Ground War is reminiscent of the Battlefield series’ sprawling multiplayer matches. Here, two teams consisting of 32 players fight to secure different sectors of a large city. Like in the Battlefield games, Modern Warfare’s Ground War lets you control vehicles, such as tanks and jets. Ground War is in many ways Domination on a massive scale. Though it’s thrilling to fight on such a gargantuan map, Ground War doesn’t satisfy the way Battlefield does. This is mainly due to the map’s labyrinthine nature. With so many buildings and alleys, it makes driving vehicles and getting shots on enemies difficult. Running across the map can also get tedious because of its size. Still, the inclusion of Ground War is not unwelcome.

Those who want a true multiplayer challenge need look no further than NVG. Here, every map is engulfed in darkness, forcing you to use night-vision goggles (hence the name of the mode). To make things more challenging, “realism” rules apply. This means there’s no UI letting you know if your shots connected or killed foes. Weapons deal more damage, too. NVG mode is truly for the hardcore player.

Spec Ops is a four-player PvE, co-op mode that supplements the main story by providing a different perspective on events spoken of in passing. You must complete objectives while under constant assault from AI-controlled enemies. The relentless enemy barrage forces players to truly work as a team if they wish to survive. It’s a fun mode that is best played with friends.

Note that Modern Warfare on PC lacks the PlayStation 4-exclusive Survival mode. Since we reviewed the PC version of the game, we can’t comment on this horde-like mode in any detail. Suffice it to say that it is disappointing PC and Xbox One gamers can’t partake in Survival.

As in previous Call of Duty games, Modern Warfare lets you unlock new weapons, perks, and killstreaks as you level up. Even if you aren’t good at multiplayer, you’ll always gain experience. One of the better additions is how your weapons level up the more you use them in multiplayer. Each weapon gets attachments like muzzles, scopes, and clips with each new level attained. This incentivizes you to continue using your favorite weapons to get the most out of them.

Crossplay is becoming a common feature in multiplayer games, so it’s no surprise to see that Modern Warfare has it. Granted, this doesn’t change much in terms of how you actually engage with the multiplayer since everyone is essentially equal. The novelty of seeing PlayStation and Xbox icons next to player names in the lobby doesn’t last long. Still, it’s good to see the game embrace a feature that expands the play base.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (for PC)

Graphics and Hardware

Modern Warfare is an absolute stunner in the visual department. Each localefrom sun-scorched deserts to dense forests, congested urban centers, and hidden underground bunkerscomes to life in stunning detail. Character models receive as much attention as the environments. Even incidental characters look great.

You’ll need a hefty rig to get the most out of Modern Warfare. The devs recommend an Intel Core i5-2500K central processing unit, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card, 12GB of RAM, 175GB of storage, and the Windows 10 operating system. If you want to enable ray tracing, your PC needs 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU (along with an Intel Core i5-2500k or AMD R5 1600x CPU).

My gaming desktop—featuring an Intel i7 4790 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU—runs Modern Warfare at 1080p resolution with a frame rate that hovers between 130-160 frames per second at max settings (the frame rate is uncapped). The only notable flaw was some choppiness during video cinematics. In-game cutscenes run perfectly fine.

There are a number of different graphics settings in options. This includes the ability to enable or disable post-processing effects like anti-aliasing, depth of field, and motion blur. You can enable DirectX raytracing, tessellation, and ambient occlusion or add graphical tweaks like bullet holes on surfaces.

You cannot purchase the $59.99 Modern Warfare via Steam, but you can buy it from Battle.net.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (for PC)

It’s Back

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the course correction the series needed. Infinity Ward wisely chose to return to the series to its “boots on the ground” roots. This immediately distinguishes the game from current popular shooters like Fortnite and Overwatch. Though it faces stiffer competition compared to its 2007 counterpart, the rebooted Modern Warfare’s engaging campaign and rich multiplayer modes should help it survive in the modern shooter landscape. Whether you’re a veteran or newcomer, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare offers many fun and exciting moments.



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The 9 Best Gaming Smartphones in 2019

Smartphone games are becoming more sophisticated and graphically complex than ever. But while most phones can play most games, you need a smartphone with great specs to properly handle top titles like Call of Duty or Fortnite.

So if you want to buy the best gaming phone for 2019, let’s take a look at your options.

What to Look for in a Gaming Phone

When you’re looking for the best gaming smartphone, there are a few key specs you need to keep an eye out for. You don’t need all of them, but the more you have, the better your phone will perform.

  • Fast CPU and GPU: you want a flagship-level processor, ideally something in the Snapdragon 8xx range or similar.
  • Cooling system: a phone’s CPU normally slows down once it starts to get too hot. Liquid cooling, or some other special cooling system, will help control the temperature and keep it running faster for longer.
  • Big battery: a large battery, starting at around 4000mAh, is a must. Fast charging is also good to have.
  • Lots of RAM and storage: Android phones will ideally have at least 6GB of RAM for gaming, if not more, plus as much storage as possible to keep your games on.
  • Fast refresh screen: most phone screens have a 60Hz refresh rate, meaning they refresh 60 times every second. Some gaming phones are 90Hz, or even 120Hz, and can produce smoother, more fluid animations.

iphone 11 pro max

We’ll start with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It is, by almost any measure, the most powerful smartphone you can buy. And iOS is still the best platform for smartphone gaming. Although all the main AAA titles are available on Android, iOS still has the best indie titles.

All the iPhone 11 models have the same core specs, but we’d recommend the 11 Pro Max for gaming because it’s the only one of the three to combine the largest screen with the longest battery life. In truth, though, they’re all great games machines.



Razer Phone 2


Razer Phone 2

Buy Now On Amazon
$399.99

When you’re looking for the best Android phone for gaming, why not start with one of the best-known gaming hardware brands. From a company renowned for its gaming laptops, the Razer Phone 2 is a pretty compelling gaming phone.

What it lacks in style—the large bezels give it a slightly dated look—it more than makes up for in power and performance. It’s got a fast processor, a large 4000mAh battery, dual Dolby Surround Sound speakers, and a vapor chamber cooling system to stop it overheating.

But best of all is the 120Hz display for a super-smooth gaming experience. The device came out in late 2018, and subsequent price cuts make it an absolute bargain.



Red Magic 3


Red Magic 3

Buy Now On Amazon
$550.00

The Red Magic 3 is one of the top gaming phones you can buy right now. Manufacturer ZTE describes it as delivering “Esports grade” performance. The standout feature is a fan assisted liquid cooling system that enables the processor to run at a faster clock speed for longer.

You also get up to 12GB of RAM, a massive 5000mAh battery, and a 6.65-inch HDR display with a 90Hz refresh rate. And if that’s not enough, the device also has capacitive shoulder triggers for some of the most ergonomic gaming you’ll find on a phone.



Asus ROG Phone 2


Asus ROG Phone 2

Buy Now On Amazon
$646.00

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a phone with better specifications than the Asus ROG Phone 2. It crams in the cutting-edge Snapdragon 855 Plus CPU, a 120Hz AMOLED HDR display, twin front-facing speakers, and up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

It’s all backed up with a mammoth 6000mAh battery with 30W fast charging that can take you to 40 percent in just half an hour. The only downside is the aesthetic design—it is not a phone for the style-conscious. The ROG 2 is big, has a rugged looking design, and weighs over half a pound.

black shark pro 2

With its two rear LED lighting strips, the Black Shark 2 Pro from Xiaomi looks more like a gaming phone than any other. It isn’t all gimmicks, though, as it has the specs to match. There’s the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, super-fast UFS 3.0 storage, liquid cooling, and your choice of 8GB or 12GB of RAM.

Most impressive is the gaming-optimized display. The low latency allows for faster in-game responses, while the high sensitivity—it recognizes movements as short as 0.3mm—gives you incredible levels of precision. Best of all, it’s pressure-sensitive. You can use different actions within your games simply by pressing the screen harder.



OnePlus 7 Pro


OnePlus 7 Pro

Buy Now On Amazon
$867.21

You don’t need a dedicated gaming phone to get great gaming performance. The OnePlus 7 Pro has most of what you’re looking for in a sleeker, more stylish package.

This includes a flagship Snapdragon 855 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, a 90Hz QHD display, dual stereo speakers, and a 4000mAh battery with the unique Warp Charge 30 system. As well as charging the phone rapidly, it doesn’t get hot if you keep it plugged in while gaming.

Also, check out the OnePlus 7T Pro, with a slightly upgraded processor. It’s available in the UK and other parts of the world, but not the US.



Honor Play


Honor Play

Buy Now On Amazon
$329.99

Gaming doesn’t have to be off-limits if you’re on a budget, thanks to the Honor Play. This device may come at an affordable price, but it packs in the high-end Kirin 970 processor and up to 6GB of RAM, along with the GPU Turbo feature that’s tuned for high frame rates and low power consumption.

There are a few compromises, inevitably. There’s only a single speaker, and storage is limited to 64GB—although there is a microSD slot. But while the battery looks small at 3750mAh, users suggest it holds up pretty well.



Samsung Galaxy S10


Samsung Galaxy S10

Buy Now On Amazon
$899.00

The Samsung Galaxy S10 excels as a gaming smartphone. There’s an innovative cooling system and the S10 is optimized for games built with the Unity engine. The phone has stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos sound, and a GPU that’s over a third faster than on the Galaxy S9 just a year earlier.

With up to 12GB of RAM, it’ll handle the most cutting edge games for several years to come. And all that’s on top of the other great stuff the S10 has to offer; fast performance, an incredible camera, and a long battery life with fast charging too.



Pocophone F1


Pocophone F1

Buy Now On Amazon
$287.70

You can play games on cell phones of any kind, but the better the specs, the better your experience will be. The Pocophone F1 is the cheapest way to get your hands on a true flagship. Despite its lower mid-range price, the F1 doesn’t skimp on the specs.

It has a top-end Snapdragon 845 CPU, with up to 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and stereo speakers. The 4000mAh battery, with fast charging, will keep you playing for a long time. It even has a liquid cooling system to prevent heat from becoming a problem.

On the downside, it is plastic and does have larger bezels than you might prefer. But these aesthetic issues can’t detract from the sheer power under the hood.

The Best Smartphone for Gaming

All of these devices rank among the best smartphones for gaming this year. Whether you’re a serious player or just prefer casual games, they’ll all serve you well.

If you have other priorities, like how long-lasting a phone is, check out our picks of the Android phones with best battery life


The 7 Best Battery Life-Stretching Phones




The 7 Best Battery Life-Stretching Phones

Battery life is one of the most critical features in a new phone. Here are the best battery life phones available right now.
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Patch Tuesday alert: Make sure Windows Auto Update is temporarily disabled

For those of you who haven’t patched since May, there’s exceedingly bad news on the horizon. Per Catalin Cimpanu at ZDNet, Metasploit’s working-but-just-barely BlueKeep exploit is about to get a significant bug fix. That’ll put BlueKeep infection capabilities in the hands of mere mortals. The script kiddies won’t be far behind.

If you’re using — or you know someone who’s using — Windows XP, Vista, Win7, Server 2003, Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2, get patched nowThe fix is easy. Even  Aunt Martha can handle it.

Think of it this way. Would you rather spend the holidays with Aunt Martha over tea and crumpets, or cleaning a BlueKeep infection off her cute little PC? Your choice.

Yes, you have to get patched eventually. But there’s very little reason to jump head first into the pernicious patching pit. Sit back and watch like a pro. Get automatic update disentangled for a while, and wait while we all watch the unpaid beta testers take one (or more) for the Gipper.

Blocking automatic update on Windows 7 and 8.1

If you’re using Windows 7 or 8.1, click Start > Control Panel > System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the “Turn automatic updating on or off” link. Click the “Change Settings” link on the left. Verify that you have Important Updates set to “Never check for updates (not recommended)” and click OK.

Blocking automatic update on Win10 Pro 1803 or 1809

Not sure which version of Win10 you’re running? Down in the Search box, near the Start button, type About, then click About your PC. The version number appears on the right under Windows specifications.

If you’re on Win10 Pro version 1803, you have three options: Stick with version 1803 a while longer (the last scheduled patch for 1803 arrives Tuesday); upgrade to version 1809; or go for 1903, which has had teething problems lately. I have details on the options, what they entail, and how to pursue them here: Is Windows pushing you to upgrade? Don’t be bullied. There’s a middle path.

If you’re using Win10 Pro version 1809, or if you’re on Pro 1803 and want to stay there a bit longer, I suggest an update blocking technique that Microsoft recommends for “Broad Release” in its obscure Build deployment rings for Windows 10 updates –  it’s intended for admins, but applies to you, too. (Thx, @zero2dash)

Step 1. Using an administrative account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. 

Step 2. On the left, choose Windows Update. On the right, click the link for Advanced options. If you’re using Win10 version 1803 or 1809, you see the settings in the screenshot. 

1809 sac 365 15 Microsoft

Step 3. The first box – “Semi-Annual Channel” – is no longer recognized by Microsoft. It’s changed the terminology over and over. In our newly-redefined update world, choosing “Semi-Annual Channel” adds 60 days to the “feature update” setting discussed in the next step. I recommend that you nod, wink and, in the first box, choose Semi-Annual Channel.

Step 4. To further delay new versions until they’ve been minimally tested, roll the “feature update” deferral setting all the way up to 365 days. That tells the Windows Updater (unless Microsoft makes another “mistake,” as it has numerous times in the past) that it should wait until 425 days after a new version is released (60 days for Semi-Annual Channel + 365 days deferral) before upgrading and re-installing Windows on your machine.

Of course, nobody expects Microsoft to keep its mitts off your 1803 machine until Jan. 12, 2020 (that’s the version 1809 release date + 425 days) or refrain from upgrading your 1809 machine until July 19, 2020 (version 1903 release date + 425 days): Even though those settings appear here, Microsoft is sure to ignore them and blast you onto the next version, somehow, at some point. We just don’t know how or when quite yet.

If you’d like to block a forced upgrade to 1903 for the foreseeable future, follow the instructions in How to block the Windows 10 May 2019 Update, version 1903, from installing.

We also don’t know exactly when Microsoft will start pushing the inevitable upgrade to Win10 version 1909. While it’s likely that the upgrade will be far less traumatic than every Win10 upgrade in the past, you might want to hedge your bets on this one, too. To keep 1909 off your machine until you’re good ‘n ready to take it, follow the instructions in How to block the Windows 10 November 2019 Update, version 1909, from installing.

Step 5. To delay cumulative updates, set the “quality update” deferral to 15 days or so. (“Quality update” = cumulative update = bug fix.) In my experience, Microsoft usually yanks bad Win10 cumulative updates within a couple of weeks of their initial release. By setting this to 10 or 15 or 20 days, Win10 will update itself after the major screams of pain have subsided and (with some luck) the bad cumulative updates have been pulled or re-issued. Notably, in February 2019, it took Microsoft 18 days to fix its first-Tuesday bugs.

Step 6. Just “X” out of the settings pane. You don’t need to explicitly save anything.

In the past I’ve recommended that you avoid clicking “Check for updates” simply because, until a few months ago, clicking “Check for updates” would automatically install everything Microsoft had backed up for your machine without giving you a chance to peruse the items on offer. It now appears as if Microsoft has seen the error of its ways, and no longer dumps everything on your machine, should you have the temerity to “Check.” Still, I’m a superstitious old cuss with a long memory. I won’t be clicking “Check for updates” any time soon.

If there are any real howlers – months where the cumulative updates were irretrievably bad, and never got any better, as they were in July 2018 – we’ll let you know, loud and clear. 

Tired old approach for Win10 Home 1803 and 1809

If you have Win10 Home, version 1803 or 1809, your only reasonable option (other than installing a third-party patch blocker) is to set your internet connection to “metered.” Metered connections are an update-blocking kludge that seems to work to fend off cumulative updates, but as best I can tell still doesn’t have Microsoft’s official endorsement as a cumulative update prophylactic. Worryingly, there are some reports that Microsoft is pushing for upgrades even if they go over metered connections.

To set your Ethernet connection as metered: Using an administrator account, click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Ethernet. On the right, click on your Ethernet connection. Then move the slider for Metered connection to On.

To set your Wi-Fi connection as metered: Using an administrator account, click Start > Settings > Network & Internet. On the left, choose Wi-Fi. On the right, click on your Wi-Fi connection. Move the slider for Metered connection to On.

If you set your internet connection to metered, you need to watch closely as the month unfolds, and judge when it’s safe to let the demons in the door. At that point, turn “metered” off, and just let your machine update itself. Don’t click Check for updates.

There’s a better way with Win10 version 1903

I’m close to installing 1903 on my production machines, but haven’t yet made the plunge. It still hasn’t been stable enough, for long enough, to get my wholehearted endorsement. If you’ve already upgraded to 1903, though, your patching life is considerably simpler

In version 1903 (either Home or Pro), using an administrator account, click Start > Settings > Update & Security. At the top, click the Pause updates for 7 days button. 

1903 pause 7 days Microsoft

That button changes so it says Pause updates for seven more days. Click it two more times, for a total of 21 paused days. That defers all updates on your machines until 21 days after you click the button. You can’t extend the deferral any longer unless you install all the outstanding cumulative updates to that point.

Historically, 21 days has sufficed to avoid the worst problems.

It looks like Win10 version 1909 will be distributed just like a cumulative update later this month, possibly on Patch Tuesday. We’ll have more details as the update/upgrade/version/service pack unfolds.

We’re at MS-DEFCON 2 on AskWoody.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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6 Tips for Windows 7 End of Life and Support

Windows 7 end of life draws near. The now-decade old operating system is biting the dust. There are several reasons you might need or want to keep using Windows 7. However, once Microsoft ends Windows 7 support, the operating system will become vulnerable.

Here are six tips for braving Windows 7 end of life, and how to move forward.

1. What Does Windows 7 End of Life Mean?

Windows 7 end of life is as it sounds. Microsoft is switching off all support for Windows 7. After January 14, 2020, all technical assistance and security updates from Windows Update will cease. The Windows 7 EOL also means that all security updates will stop, too.

Windows 7 is an aging, vulnerable operating system. Without Microsoft’s constant updating and security patches, Windows 7 will become an even more vulnerable operating system.

The end of Windows 7 support is a cause for concern for anyone running the fading operating system.

However, it isn’t the end of Windows 7 if you have enough money. Windows 7 Pro and Enterprise have the option to pay $350 to keep Windows 7 alive for three years.

The Microsoft Extended Security Updates program will run until 2023. The program isn’t for everyone, though. Only businesses, professional organizations, and mission-critical computers can apply for the Extended Security Updates program.

When that period ends, those companies must have made provisions to upgrade to Windows 10 (or otherwise).

2. When Is Windows 7 End of Life?

Microsoft announced Windows 7 end of life date a long way back, having “made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support” when it was released way back 2009.

Windows 7 end of life is on January 14, 2020.

3. Can I Keep Using Windows 7?

Of course, you can. Windows 7 won’t suddenly stop working overnight. The Windows 7 EOL date is the specific date support ends. Microsoft cannot force you to stop using Windows 7 remotely.

As above, Windows 7 will no longer receive updates, including security patches. There is another consideration, too. The programs you use on Windows 7 will also stop receiving updates to fix bugs and security holes. Like Windows 7 itself, those programs will continue to work (unless a critical bug appears), but you won’t receive the latest versions.

For many Windows 7 users, the software is a primary reason for persisting with the operating system. The difficulty in finding like-for-like replacements for certain software types is why Microsoft is offering businesses the opportunity to remain on Windows 7 for a little while longer.

Home users do not have the same grace period. Furthermore, there are suitable replacements for most Windows 7 software on Windows 10.

4. Can I Remove the Windows 7 End of Support Notification?

Windows 7 End of Life Message

On March 19, 2019, Microsoft released Windows 7 Update KB4493132. The significance of KB4493132 is that it introduces notifications about Windows 7 end of support to the desktop of those users.

Users remaining with Windows 7 have two options to turn off the end of life notifications.

  1. When the Windows 7 end of life notification box appears, select the Do not remind me again option. The notifications will switch off. If you close the box without selecting the “do not remind me again” option, notifications will continue.
  2. Find and uninstall the KB4493132 update. You will find the list of updates at Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Installed Updates. Browse the list until you find KB4493132, then right-click and select Uninstall.

5. Can I Upgrade to Windows 10 for Free?

Note: If you are considering upgrading to Windows 10, please read section “Should I Back Up Important Files on Windows 7?” below.

The official free Windows 10 upgrade period ended on July 29, 2016. Since then, thousands of users have claimed a free Windows 10 upgrade, from Windows 7, 8, and 8.1. Many systems that never installed the Get Windows 10 program, who then decided to upgrade long-past the end of the official program found their upgraded system fully licensed.

windows upgrade this pc now

The process isn’t guaranteed. I’m making no claims that you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free. But, if you haven’t tried upgrading, it could be worthwhile.

  1. Head to the Windows 10 Download page.
  2. Select Download tool now.
  3. Open the tool and select Upgrade this PC now.
  4. Follow the instructions.

Once the Windows 10 upgrade completes, press Windows Key + I, then head to Settings > About and check your Windows license status under Windows Specifications.

If you find that the process has not resulted in a full license, you can roll back to Windows 7.

Windows 10 Minimum Specifications

There is another consideration to make before upgrading to Windows 10: minimum specifications. Windows 10 minimum specifications are:

  • Processor:1GHz or faster processor.
  • RAM: 1GB for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit.
  • Hard disk space: 16GB for 32-bit, or 20GB for 64-bit.
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later.
  • Display:800×600 resolution.

Those are the minimum specs, but your Windows 10 experience will have all sorts of issues. Microsoft designed Windows 10 to run on a huge range of hardware. But the more power you have, the better your experience is. And while a 1GHz processor and 1GB RAM is okay for Windows 7, it won’t cut the mustard for Windows 10.

6. Should I Back Up Important Files on Windows 7?

A regular system backup should always be a part of your personal security routine. A back up is one of the easiest methods to recover your data from unexpected events like a system crash.

With regards to Windows 7, increasing your back up frequency is a great idea. After the Windows 7 end of life date, security updates will cease. Any vulnerabilities found after that date will remain unpatched. If your Windows 7 is vulnerable, your data is at risk. Backing up more frequently mitigates some of the risks, at least, partially.

Check out the easiest and safest ways to back up your files on Windows 7


6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8




6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8

By now, we’re sure you’ve read the advice over and over: Everyone needs to back up their files. But deciding to back up your files is only part of the process. There are so many…
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.

If you’re considering upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10, back up your files before upgrading. The Windows 10 upgrade process takes care of your files. But you wouldn’t want anything untoward to happen!

Windows 7 End of Support Is Coming

The end of Windows 7 is firmly on the horizon. It is better to prepare now for Windows 7 end of life, rather than start scrambling when January 2020 arrives.

If you think it is time to jump ship, check out the best ways to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10


4 Best Ways to Upgrade From Windows 7 to 10 Before 2020




4 Best Ways to Upgrade From Windows 7 to 10 Before 2020

Windows 7’s end of life is fast approaching. Upgrade from Windows 7 to 10 before January 2020, we show you how.
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before 2020 hits.



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Facebook’s Libra co-creator: Social, financial data will remain separate

The co-creator of Facebook’s Libra says that once the blockchain-based digital currency is launched users’ social media information – and financial data tied to the stablecoin – will not be connected in any way.

Christian Catalini, the head economist at Calibra, the Facebook subsidiary in charge of the launch of Libra and its associated online digital wallet, said that from the beginning the plan for the cash-backed cryptocurrency was to profit from advertising and not the sale of private data.

Calibra Facebook blockchain libra Facebook

Images of the Calibra digital wallet app.

“There will be measures in place, from encryption to access control, to ensure that [data] doesn’t get linked,” Catalini said during an interview for MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “From a Facebook perspective, I think the idea is to not use the data – to show more ads, to sell more ads. The Calibra wallet will have new features and we’ll build on those. And, that will be a new business model for the company, too.”

Blockchain will enable Libra cryptocurrency to be transferred without the need of a typical financial services clearance and settlement process, which can take days and require additional fees from central banks and other settlement organizations. Thus, Libra in theory would be faster and cheaper than traditional financial systems, Catalini said.

The underlying blockchain network will be able to handle thousands of financial transactions per second; data about those transactions will be kept separate from data about the social network, according to David Marcus, the former president of PayPal. He is now leading Facebook’s new digital wallet division, Calibra.

Blockchain will also reduce the cost of user verification, or the fact that one pre-verified entity has sent a payment to another verified entity. And the distributed ledger technology should also reduce the cost of networking.

“What that really means is that now you can design digital platforms where you don’t have to trust a single intermediary, you don’t have to trust the platform architect, Catalini said.

Facebook also does not plan to force Libra coin holders to use its Calibra digital wallet; instead, it will allow competing wallets to store the cryptocurrecy, meaning data privacy will be another metric on which Calibra will compete to win users.

Michael Cusumano, a professor of Management at MIT Sloan and co-author of The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power, a book on digital platforms and competition, had argued in an earlier interview with MIT Sloan that Facebook cannot guarantee user data would remain private.

“So, far, almost no data on the internet has been really secure. No matter what Facebook says, I don’t think they can really promise us that,” Cusumano said.

Catalini, who was interviewed as part of MIT’s Sloan Expert Series, also addressed the regulatory pressure purportedly that resulted last month in more than a half dozen members of the Libra Association bailing.

Catalini, an MIT professor on leave who has performed extensive research into blockchain and bitcoin and who founded the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab, acknowledged the pressure placed on Libra Association members. But, he said, “there’s a lot of upside in succeeding and… once the regulatory uncertainty is resolved, you’ll see a lot more members coming and building” on the Libra platform.

In September, French and German regulators threatened to block Libra amid fears it could threaten the Euro’s value and unlawfully privatize money. Last year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, announced a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies by any regulated financial entity because of risks.

U.S. lawmakers, including members of the House Committee on Financial Services, have also voiced concerns that Libra could enable money-laundering or other nefarious activities. Shortly after Libra was announced in June, the committee wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking that he “cease implementation plans until regulators and Congress have an opportunity to examine” any issues and take action.

Last month, during testimony before the Financial Services Committee, Zuckerberg vowed not to launch Libra until it had approval from U.S. regulators. Libra was originally scheduled to launch in 2020.

The probability of regulatory pushback was a calculated, “extended phase” of the development and rollout of Libra where executives, Catalini said, planned to work with regulators, policy makers, non-government organizations and other ecosystem participants “who’ll have a major role in defining the success of Libra.

“That’s what we’re in,” Catalini said. “It’s been a phase where you’ve heard a number of criticisms coming from different voices. We’ve absorbed all of that and we’re iterating on the design.”

There is a financial gap not only in developing nations but in the U.S. where Libra could play a role in cross-border financial transactions, Cusumano said. The government, however, would have to make regulatory allowances for Libra, as it represents the sale of an asset that would need to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service – something that would “dampen” adoption.

“In China, the social media platform WeChat added WeChat Pay, and that’s been extraordinarily successful and actually the Facebook Libra model is at least in part influenced by the success of WeChat Pay,” Cusumano said. WeChat Pay, he said, is not an open platform enabling compatibility with other payment systems as Libra is expected to do.

Cusumano said Facebook’s Libra launch was “bad timing,” as the company is in the middle of an uproar about failures to secure user data and “fake news” issues – leaving “goodwill toward Facebook” at a low ebb.

“The government and a lot of users don’t necessarily trust Facebook to have this kind of very detailed transactional data on what we’re purchasing, what people are saving, or where they’re spending their money,” Cusumano said. “Facebook has to ensure or convince everyone that it will not be misusing that data or selling it to advertisers.

“If someone knows I’ve transferred money for a particular reason, advertisers would like to know that. So, it has to build in those protections,” he added.

Facebook has pushed the narrative that Libra would give 1.7 billion people currently without access to banking services the opportunity to convert their local fiat currency into a digital coin and save it or use it for a myriad of purposes – from purchasing goods to B2B transactions.

Scott Onder, senior managing director of Social Ventures at humanitarian aid organization Mercy Corps, said an ongoing flaw in the world’s current financial system is that it keeps many trapped in poverty because theylack basic financial tools most take for granted.

Libra, Onder said, does hold the potential to create a “more inclusive” financial system for those in third-world or developing countries who are “unbanked.”

Asked about how safe Libra currency would be, both from network outages and cyber attacks, Catalini said the cryptocurrency network was built for “adversarial environments.”

“At scale you could have a network with as many as 100 validators across the globe processing transactions. Just to give you a sense of how useful blockchain could be in this realm, in a traditional payment system, if you have outages, networks tend to go down. Libra will be a network where about one-third of the nodes of the validators could disappear for whatever reasons…and the network would still operate and provide payment functionality,” Catalini said.

Libra will begin as a global medium of exchange for cross-border transactions, such as remittances – most often, foreign workers sending money back to families in their native countries.

The digital currency will be backed initially by the U.S. dollar, so a reserve of cash would have to match the number of tokens being sold.

The digital assets and their cash reserves will be managed, governed and controlled by central banks.

“Not only just random central banks, but central banks that have a history of low inflation, of high independence and really delivering on the mission of value preservation,” Catalini said. “So, when you look at the mix, what’s important from a user perspective is if you’re using and trusting the network, you can know the value of Libra won’t be subject to speculation. It’s not an investment vehicle.”

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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The jig is up | Computerworld

It’s back 40 years ago, and this pilot fish is working in the repair department of a company that manufactures microwave transmitting equipment for the telecom industry. (But it’s 40 years ago, so you all should know who uses this stuff.)

One bright morning, fish has a transmitter board in a jig so he can test it, and no matter what he does, the readings aren’t coming out right. Fish opens the jig to see if there’s a problem, and finds that one of the wires going to the power supply is just barely hanging on by a thread. He sees evidence of arcing that would explain why the readings are messed up.

Confident that the tech assisting him has thrown the circuit breaker, fish reaches in to tighten the connection.

Bad assumption. The jig goes POW! Fish gets a shock. But the guy at the station behind him yelps like he’s mortally wounded.

The board that guy is working on puts out about 30,000 volts. Made him a bit jumpy, apparently, because when he heard that pow, he thought he was a dead man.

Sharky’s a bit jumpy himself. You can help calm me down with your true tales of IT life. Send them to me at [email protected]. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Exciting New Tools for Designers, November 2019

There’s a lot of fun packed into the roundup this month with a couple of design games, delightful fonts and animations, as well as design tools that can make your life easier.

You’re sure to find some tools and resources that will help you save time as we enter what is often one of the most hectic seasons of the year. Here’s what’s new for designers this month.

 

Screen Size Map

Screen Size Map is a tool to showcase popular screen sizes and will even auto-detect yours. Map sizes by device type, usage, size, and popularity. This can really come in handy when thinking about viewports or breakpoints in design projects. You might also be surprised to see what screen sizes are the most (or least) popular.

 

Lordicon

Lordicon is a collection of free and premium animated icons in GIF and JSON formats. Each icon has a fun line style and can be customized to match your color palette. You can also adjust size, stroke width, and animation player type — automatic, hover, click, or morph. Every icon is scalable and compatible with all major browsers. This is a fun animated icon kit for projects built on the Lottie engine.

 

Free Bootstrap Templates and Themes

Free Bootstrap Templates and Themes is a library of free (and premium!) design elements to jumpstart projects using Designmodo’s Startup App. These tools are great starters that you can use as is, or edit in the app to create landing pages, SaaS, admin pages, presentations, and e-commerce websites.

 

Inspect This Snake

Inspect This Snake is a fun goodie by Matthew Rayfield. Go ahead click it and play around. You might even learn something about how he put it all together.

 

FYI: Free Resources for Freelancers

FYI: Free Resources for Freelancers is a collection of tools to connect all the apps for sharing and storing information. It works as a Chrome extension and allows you to connect all your free tools for better workflows. “With FYI every document you’ve created and that’s been shared with you will be accessible in just a few clicks. Your documents will be automatically organized so you won’t be checking each app and account to find what you’re looking for. They’ll all be in one place.”

 

Spectrum

Spectrum is Adobe’s design system and the company recently released these components and tools to the public. You can even use the Spectrum CSS, which is open source, in conjunction with the guidelines from Adobe. Even if you don’t plan to use it, this is a neat look into the design system and how Adobe thinks about the look and feel of its products. (And while it doesn’t look all that detailed at first glance, the system is rather extensive.)

 

Dashdash

Dashdash is a spreadsheet tool that allows you to access business data and APIs, send emails, and more with a traditional spreadsheet online. You don’t need to code to design tools and information. Plus, it integrates with other tools to make your work easier.

 

Can You Draw a Perfect Circle?

Can You Draw a Perfect Circle? is a browser-based game that you might find yourself obsessing over. (I really wanted to draw a perfect circle, but it never happens.)

 

Open Doodles

Open Doodles is an animated collection of hand-drawn illustrations for projects in SVG, PNG, and GIF formats. Use the generator to change the colors and styles to create a semi-custom pack.

 

Claro

Claro is a nifty to-do app that’s open to invites. It features a simple design that’s supposed to be distraction free so that you focus on things you need to get done, not the design of the tool.

 

Tartan Patterns

Tartan Patterns is a collection of more than 5,000 repeating SVG and PNG images. (Seems like the perfect pattern for fall.) Everything is grouped by name in alphabetical order. Warning: It is easy to get lost in looking at all the patterns.

 

Blocke: Social Web UI Kit

Blocke: Social Web UI Kit is a set of 30 components designed for social feeds. The freebie is a preview for a bigger set if you like what you see.

 

CursorOS

CursorOS is a Figma-read (Sketch coming soon) collection of original macOS cursors that you can use in design systems, projects, user flows, UI kits, prototypes, and more.

 

Tutorial: Designing Accessible Color Systems

Designing Accessible Color Systems is a look at how Stripe has worked to improve color contrast and accessibility in its design projects. The lesson is reflective of recent changes to the brand’s color palette to make it more accessible. It’s a good lesson in modern color theory.

 

Izmir Hover Effects

Izmir Hover Effects is a mini CSS library that helps you create customer effects. Load the library to your project, add the element markup and style classes, and you are ready to go.

 

8b

8b is a website builder based on Google AMP. Use it to create modern designs on a fast, responsive template. It’s free to build on and includes plenty of templates for quick builds. You can also link a domain and every site includes SSL/HTTPS.

 

Hexometer

Hexometer uses artificial intelligence to scan over 2,800 data points on your website to make sure your digital assets are in pristine condition. It will also give you tips and tricks on how to improve your website hygiene.

 

FontPairings.ByPeople

FontPairings.ByPeople allows you to pop pairs of fonts onto the screen with just a click to see how they look on different website theme templates. Swap headings and text elements and mix and match pairs to find a typography palette that appeals to you.

 

Antique Cherry

Antique Cherry is a lovely novelty script with nice lines and great curves. It’s available for personal and non-profit use and includes a full character set.

 

Glitch Esports

Glitch Esports combines two trending elements, glitching design and esports in a single typeface. Try it for a fun display option.

 

Grifter Bold

Grifter Bold is a round versatile font in all caps and lowercase that can work great for display options. (Only the bold version is free.) It includes a full character and number set with some extra glyphs.

 

Les Paul

Les Paul is a fun novelty display font with lots of options to create interesting combinations of text elements. All of the characters are uppercase and there is a small fee for commercial use.

 

Recursive

Recursive is a variable font in beta that will soon be added to the Google Fonts collection. It includes a sans and mono option and is a five-axis variable font. Use predefined styles or adjust proportion, monospace, weight, slant, and italic to take full advantage of the variable font technology. Everything is in one font file.

 

Salveation Serif

Salveation Serif is a nice display, uppercase font with fun lines and a vintage feel. The font includes letters, numerals, and unlimited punctuation.



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Popular design news of the week: November 4, 2019 – November 10, 2019

Every week users submit a lot of interesting stuff on our sister site Webdesigner News, highlighting great content from around the web that can be of interest to web designers. 

The best way to keep track of all the great stories and news being posted is simply to check out the Webdesigner News site, however, in case you missed some here’s a quick and useful compilation of the most popular designer news that we curated from the past week.

Note that this is only a very small selection of the links that were posted, so don’t miss out and subscribe to our newsletter and follow the site daily for all the news.

 

No More Brand Colors?

 

How to Design for Assholes

 

Microsoft Previews its Fluid Framework

 

New Microsoft Edge Logo

 

Adobe Announces Photoshop Camera with ‘AI-powered’ Filters

 

The Evolution of Material Design’s Text Fields

 

Sidebearings.com — New Typography Resource for Designers, Typographers & Type Nerds

 

Striking Examples of the Glitch Effect in Web Design

 

Typographic Illusions

 

Baywatch Red: The Birth of a New Pantone Colour

 

How Uber Uses Psychology to Perfect their Customer Experience

 

5 Tips on Making your Website Content Reflect your Brand Identity

 

Exploring New Ways to Manage Content in WordPress

 

Typora: A Truly Minimal Markdown Editor

 

Adobe is Bringing Illustrator to the iPad in 2020

 

We Stood up to a Patent Troll and Won

 

A Year in Graphic Detail

 

Adobe’s Inconsistent Icons are Driving Designers Nuts

 

Recursive Mono and Sans, a Free Variable Type Family

 

Why Some Designs Look Messy, and Others Don’t

 

Laughing OnLine

 

Trusting your Design Instinct

 

Let’s Kill the Hourly Rate: We are Leaving Money on the Table

 

Success Comes to Those Who Understand their Customers

 

Design is a Long Game: Invaluable Advice from Freelancer Lisa Engler

 

Want more? No problem! Keep track of top design news from around the web with Webdesigner News.



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Shortcuts, Commands, and Syntax to Know

Keyboard Shortcuts
On a Mac keyboard, press Option instead of Alt and Cmd instead of Ctrl for shortcuts. Ctrl + k OR

Ctrl + g OR
¹Ctrl + t Open Quick Switcher Ctrl + Shift + k Browse DMs ¹Ctrl + Shift + t Open Threads view ²Ctrl + Shift + a Open All Unreads view Ctrl + Shift + l Browse channel list ³Alt + Down Arrow Jump to next channel or DM ³Alt + Up Arrow Jump to previous channel or DM ³Alt + Shift + Down Arrow Jump to next unread channel or DM ³Alt + Shift + Up Arrow Jump to previous unread channel or DM Cmd + [ OR

Cmd + Left Arrow Move back in history Cmd + ] OR
Cmd + Right Arrow Move forward in history Ctrl + Shift + m Open Activity pane Ctrl + Shift + s Open Starred Items pane Ctrl + Shift + w Open Workspace Directory Ctrl + Shift + i Open Channel Details pane Ctrl + / (Slash) Open Keyboard Shortcuts pane Ctrl + . (Period) Toggle right-hand pane ¹Ctrl + , (Comma) Open Preferences Ctrl + Shift + [ Switch to previous workspace Ctrl + Shift + ] Switch to next workspace ⁴Ctrl + [Number] Switch to specific workspace Ctrl + Alt Show numbers assigned to workspaces in sidebar Ctrl + f Search the current channel or DM Esc Mark all messages in current channel or DM as read Shift + Esc Mark all messages as read ⁵Alt + click message Mark message as oldest unread message Ctrl + Shift + Y Set or edit your Slack status Ctrl + u Upload file to current channel or DM Ctrl + Shift + Enter Create snippet in current channel or DM ⁶Up Arrow Edit your last message in current channel or DM Shift + Up Arrow Select text to beginning of current line in message draft Shift + Down Arrow Select text to end of current line in message draft Shift + Enter Insert new line in message draft Ctrl + b Bold selected text Ctrl + i Italicize selected text Ctrl + Shift + x Strike through selected text Ctrl + Shift + > Indent selected text Ctrl + Shift + c Format selected text as inline code Ctrl + Shift + 7 Format selected text as numbered list Ctrl + Shift + 8 Format selected text as bulleted list @[Character] Show autocomplete options for display names #[Character] Show autocomplete options for channel names :[Character] Show autocomplete options for emoji m Toggle mute during call v Toggle video during call + (Plus) OR
a Show invite list during call e + (1-9) View and select emoji during call @[username] Notify specific person @here Notify active members of channel @channel Notify all members of channel, whether they’re active or not @everyone Notify all members of channel #general Message Formatting Syntax *text* Bold text _text_ Italicize text ~text~ Strike through text >text Indent single block of text >>>text

text Indent multiple blocks of text `text` Format single line of inline code “`text

text“` Format multiple lines of inline code 1.

2. Format as numbered list text OR
• text Format as bulleted list Search Modifiers
Add modifiers before or after search keyword(s). in:[channel] Search specific channel in:[@username] Search specific DM from:username Search messages/files shared by specific user from:me Search messages/files sent by you ⁷on:[date] Search using specific date ⁸before:[date] OR
⁸after:[date] OR
⁸during:[date] Search using specific date or time frame has:[:emoji:] Search for items with specific emoji has:pin Search for pinned items has:star Search for starred items has:link Search for items with links Slash Commands
Type in the message field and hit Enter. /status Set or clear your custom status /away Toggle your “away” status ⁹/dnd for [Time] OR
⁹/dnd until [Time] Schedule Do Not Disturb session /dnd off Turn off Do Not Disturb /expand Expand all inline images and videos in current channel /collapse Collapse all inline images and videos in current channel /feed subscribe [feed address] Subscribe to RSS feed in current channel /feed list List RSS feeds (and their ID numbers) for current channel /feed remove [ID number] Unsubscribe current channel from RSS feed /feed help Get help with /feed commands /join [#channel] Join channel /leave [#channel] OR

/close [#channel] OR

/part [#channel] Leave channel /leave Leave current channel /open [#channel] Open specific channel /topic [text] Set topic for current channel /invite [@username] [#channel] Invite member to channel /remove [@username] OR
/kick [@username] Remove member from current channel /mute [#channel] Mute/unmute specific channel /mute Mute/unmute current channel OR ¹Unfollow current thread /star Star current channel or DM /rename [new-name] Rename current channel /archive Archive current channel /who List members (up to 100) in current channel /msg [#channel] [message] Send message to any channel /msg [@username] [message] OR
/dm [@username] [message] Send DM /me [text] Display italicized text /remind @me or [@username] or [#channel] to [What] [When] Set a reminder /remind list View list of upcoming, past, or incomplete reminders /remind help Get help with /remind commands /search [keyword(s)] Search messages and files /shortcuts Open Keyboard Shortcuts pane /apps [app] Search for app in Slack directory /feedback [text] Send feedback or help request to Slack /shrug [message] Add ¯_(ツ)_/¯ to end of message ¹⁰/giphy [keyword(s)] Share a random GIF 
¹Works only in desktop app.

²Works only if you have enabled All Unreads view under Preferences > Sidebar.

³Includes starred channels and DMs.

⁴Press Ctrl + Alt or hover over workspace logo in sidebar to see number assigned to workspace.

⁵Use Ctrl + Alt + click on Linux.


⁶Ensure cursor is in empty message field.

⁷Use MM/DD/YY(YY) or MM-DD-YY(YY) format for date.

⁸Replace [date] with specific date or with keyword like today, yesterday, [day], [month], or [year]

⁹Use time descriptors like “for 20 mins”, “until 4pm”, until tonight”, etc.

¹⁰Requires integration with Giphy app.



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