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Intel Rapid Storage Technology 17.2

19 March 2019

Intel has released Version of the Rapid Storage Technology driver for optimal RAID and AHCI drive performance on Intel chipset-based motherboards.

GPU-Z 2.18.0

15 March 2019

GPU-Z, a free graphics card information utility, has reached Version 2.18.0. Changes in this version include support for new chipsets, Hotspot temperature monitoring for the Radeon VII, Vega 10 and 20, updated vendor list, as well as a range of bug fixes.

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.3.2

15 March 2019

AMD has released the Adrenalin Edition 19.3.2 driver for the HD 7700, HD 8500 series and above on Windows 7 and 10. This driver improves performance in Tom Clancy's The Division 2, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gathering Storm, adds support for DirectX 12 on Windows7, and provides a range of bug fixes.

Opera 58.0

15 March 2019

The Opera browser has been updated to Version 58.0.3135.107. This version provides bug fixes.

DirectX 12 on Windows 7/Site Update

14 March 2019

Microsoft recently announced that it has added DirectX 12 support to Windows 7, specifically to allow game developers to port certain DX12 optimizations to Windows 7. It's important to understand that this is not the same as enabling full DirectX 12 support on Windows 7; it's a subset of DX12 aimed specifically at improving the performance of the very popular World of Warcraft. Some other games will receive the same optimization as their developers work with MS to take advantage of this new capability.

However, speculation that this backporting of DX12 features to Windows 7 is an indication that MS will extend the ageing operating system's end of life beyond 14 January 2020 is premature. Indeed, Microsoft also announced on the same day that they will soon commence a campaign of "reminder" notifications that will appear on all Windows 7 systems, giving advanced notice of Windows 7's end of life. Microsoft promises that these notifications can be permanently dismissed with a 'do not notify me again' option. From past experience, such MS campaigns quickly turn from polite and optional to unrepetently underhanded.

Regardless, I strongly recommend that those of you still on Windows 7 start preparing for transition to another OS by year's end; an OS that no longer receives security updates is not viable if you value your data. It will also be a good time to upgrade your system hardware, especially as the next-gen Ryzen CPUs from AMD should also be available. I've already got you covered on the hardware upgrade front with some food for thought in my recent Hardware Confusion article - and note: Intel CPU prices have risen as I speculated earlier, and are expected to continue rising this year due to shortages. In terms of which OS to choose, I'll try to get something meaningful out on that topic towards the middle of the year.

Chrome 73.0

14 March 2019

Google has released Version 73.0.3683.75 of the Chrome browser. This update provides feature improvements, as well as security and bug fixes.

Microsoft Security Updates

13 March 2019

Microsoft has released its monthly set of Windows security updates which you can view here and obtain via Windows Update. This includes the latest Windows 7 Rollup and Windows 8.1 Rollup updates, as well as Windows 10 Cumulative Updates.

Flash Player 32.0

13 March 2019

Adobe has released Version of the Flash Player plugin for browsers. To download the full offline installer, use these links depending upon your browser: Internet Explorer or Firefox or Opera. Use Windows Update to update the built-in Flash Player in IE11 under Windows 8 and 10, and Edge under Windows 10. Update to the latest version of Chrome to update its built-in Flash Player.

CCleaner 5.55

13 March 2019

A new Version 5.55.7108 of the free CCleaner system cleaning utility has been released. This version adds a general Software Updater feature to the Pro version of CCleaner, and fixes a bug with browser plugins.

Opera 58.0

8 March 2019

The Opera browser has been updated to Version 58.0.3135.90. This version provides an important security fix, as well as bug fixes.

Windows Updates

8 March 2019

Microsoft has confirmed that the latest Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1809 released last week can reduce performance in certain games, such as Destiny 2 - see the updated Known Issues list at the bottom of the Update page. MS is working on a fix, but for now, people who are affected can uninstall the update by going to Control Panel>Programs & Features>View Installed Updates, right-clicking on 'Update for Microsoft Windows (KB 4482887)' and selecting Uninstall.

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.3.1

7 March 2019

AMD has released the Adrenalin Edition 19.3.1 driver for the HD 7700, HD 8500 series and above on Windows 7 and 10. This driver improves performance in Devil May Cry 5, and provides a range of bug fixes.

Nvidia GeForce 419.35 WHQL

6 March 2019

Nvidia has released the 419.35 WHQL certified graphics driver. This driver is for GeForce 600 and higher graphics cards under Windows 7, 8 and 10. It adds support for new GSync monitors and provides the optimal experience in Apex Legends, Devil May Cry 5, and Tom Clancy’s The Division II. The driver also updates PhysX to version 9.19.0218 and contains GeForce Experience version 3.17.0.

Site Update

6 March 2019

Thanks to those of you who've given me feedback on the Hardware Confusion article. After nearly two months of buying, configuring and writing about the new system, I'm taking the opportunity to just enjoy it right now. However, I haven't forgotten the "Linux Experiment" I promised - give me a bit of time and I'll be ready to roll on that. Remember, Windows 7 reaches End of Life on 14 January 2020, so the second half of this year is a good time for all of us to weigh up our options and decide whether Windows 10 meets our needs, or whether we need to move to another OS. For now, everything seems fine.

CCleaner 5.54

5 March 2019

A new Version 5.54.7088 of the free CCleaner system cleaning utility has been released. The main changes in this update are improved notifications and a preview feature for some paying users.

For previous news items go to the Archived News