Reza Pahlevi

News, tips and reviews from the experts on PCs, Windows, and more

Revealed: How home router manufacturers dropped the ball on security

Security vulnerabilities in your home router have been the story for years, with the responsibility being placed at the feet of users to keep their router firmware updated. But a damning report by Fraunhofer says that router manufacturers themselves have taken years to issue patches, with potentially dozens of critical vulnerabilities lurking within older routers.

The June report by Fraunhofer-Institut fur Kommunikation (FKIE) extracted firmware images from routers made by Asus, AVM, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link, and Zyxel—127 in all. The report (as noted by ZDNet) compared the firmware images to known vulnerabilities and exploit mitigation techniques, so that even if a vulnerability was exposed, the design of the router could mitigate it.

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PCWorld's July Digital Magazine: The $1,001 Question

Stay on top of the latest tech with PCWorld’s Digital Magazine. Available as single copies or as a monthly subscription, it highlights the best content from PCWorld.com—the most important news, the key product reviews, and the most useful features and how-to stories—in a curated Digital Magazine for Android and iOS, as well for the desktop and other tablet readers.

In the July issue

In the July issue of PCWorld find out the 12 things we learned moving from the Galaxy S20 to the iPhone SE. We have details on the new Dell XPS lineup. Plus, 11 classic games that could use a Final Fantasy 7-style remake.

Other highlights include:

  • News: AMD vs. Intel: Should you buy an Intel laptop right now?
  • Google Pixel 4a preview: Single camera, fingerprint sensor, no 5G, and July launch
  • Intel 10th Gen review: The Core i9-10900K is indeed the world's fastest gaming CPU
  • Kingston KC2500 NVMe SSD review: Good performance at a nice price
  • Razer Kraken X review: A no-frills take on a headset that had few frills to begin with
  • Mortal Kombat 11: Aftermath review: One of 2020's best action films (and a pretty good fighting game)
  • Here's How: 11 cheap or free ways to make your old PC run faster, how to turn on the Chrome ad bocker, and use a Nintendo Switch Pro controller with a PC

Video highlights

Watch: Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro is out, and of course we want to know what it's like. Watch the video review from our sister site Macworld.

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How to fix audio problems on your Windows PC

For all its positives, Windows sometimes acts in unexpected ways—like a sudden lack of audio. If your computer abruptly stops playing sound, try these easy steps to fix the issue:

No sound in one app

  1. First, reboot your computer.
  2. Confirm the program’s volume isn’t turned down or muted. In browsers like Chrome and Firefox, each tab can be muted individually—right-click a tab to see its status. (The option will say “Unmute tab” if currently silenced.)
  3. If you still can’t hear anything in this program, try uninstalling and reinstalling it. Before doing so, first back up any data and/or write down how your settings are currently configured, as applicable.
    Note: For paid software, your license for the program may be tied to a specific version—if that’s the case, you may need to do a little hunting to find its installation program on the vendor’s website. This same advice applies if you just prefer your version of the app over the current one.

No sound at all

  1. sound settings via speaker icon in system tray PCWorld

    First thing to check: The audio output device. Windows 10 can sometimes change it to a different source unbeknownst to you.

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Dell XPS 15 9500 Review: Buy this laptop instead of a MacBook Pro 16

Timing is everything in the PC business, and the Dell XPS 15 9500, an overdue refresh to the company’s high-end workhorse, arrives just in time for it to be truly considered the “MacBook Pro killer” it’s always aspired to be.

Yes, we know “MacBook Pro killer” is overused Internet clickbait. But with Apple’s decision to throw in the towel on x86-based laptops, anyone buying a Mac today is basically volunteering to stand on the deck of the Titanic and wave as the last lifeboats pull away.

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Townscaper impressions: Build picturesque fishing villages with no direction and no drama

In the beginning, there was an ocean. Vast and unbroken, it stretched from one end of the horizon to the other, the blue of the sky barely distinguished from the blue of the sea.

Then there was a pier, dredged up from the nothingness below the sea, a stone-and-sand bulwark battered by waves. The not-ocean grew, the pier becoming a harbor, then an island, and on that island grew houses—in white and red and purple and teal. Cottages and ranch homes, warehouses and monolithic apartment blocks, until ocean gave way to a town.

This is how the story goes in my head, at least. I’ve spent much of the last two days playing (or toying with) Townscaper, and so far I’ve learned I never needed the “Sim” part of SimCity after all.

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How to check your graphics card's GPU temperature

How hot is your PC’s graphics card temperature? During normal operations, your GPU temperature shouldn’t matter much—your graphics card should simply drive monitors and play games without overheating and shutting down. But if you have an older PC, or if you want to try your hand at graphics card overclocking, being able to monitor your GPU temperature is vital.

The good news? Checking your PC’s graphics card temperature is dead simple, especially now that Windows finally includes a native way to keep tabs on temps. All sorts of free GPU monitoring tools are also available, and many of them can help you check your PC’s CPU temperature, too.

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Cambridge Audio CXN (v2) network audio streamer review: This is a sweet-sounding, high-tech musical powerhouse

Support for every audio-streaming protocol and service you can think of, prodigious connectivity options, upgradeable firmware, and sweet sound make for a best-in-class audio component.


Xbox Game Pass for PC: 5 reasons it's the best deal in PC gaming

When I say an Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription is the best deal in gaming today, that’s no idle recommendation. I have a deep-seated hatred of today’s subscription culture. Yes, many streaming and subscription services are worth every penny, but in general, I hate that everything from Microsoft Office to Adobe’s Creative Cloud to freaking underwear tries to tie you up with monthly payments. So when I say Game Pass is worth it, I really mean it. Step aside, Humble Bundles.

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