Best of the Web for Windows users - 24 - 30 July 2016

This week, Windows 10 Anniversary Update has reached its Release Preview milestone and it is getting ready for next week’s launch. Also, the free upgrade offer for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users has expired and Microsoft has released new interesting stats about Windows 10. We also have received good news about Xbox One and the next major update for this console’s software. To learn more about these events, as well as other interesting news, read this week’s recap:

Microsoft: the news of the week

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Windows 10 Anniversary Update reaches Release Preview milestone - In the last step before its official rollout to the public on August 2, Microsoft has begun delivering Windows 10 version 1607 to the Release Preview branch of the Windows Insider program.

Microsoft shares some interesting stats regarding Windows 10 - While the free upgrade to Windows 10 offer has just expired, Microsoft wants as many users on its latest operating system as possible. To this end, the company is sharing some pretty interesting facts and statistics on its official @Windows Twitter account to entice users to upgrade to Windows 10.

Microsoft Details What’s Next for the Windows Insider Program - Are you curious what’s next for the Windows Insider Program? Read this news article and commentary from Paul Thurrott.

Microsoft responds to Epic’s Tim Sweeney, says Windows 10 is indeed an open platform - Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, clearly thinks UWP is a closed platform. He has been a vocal critic of Microsoft’s new Universal Windows Platform for quite awhile now, and he fears that Microsoft may monopolize the gaming industry.

Seeing the Xbox Design Lab work from Web interface to couch reality - At this year's E3, Microsoft announced that players could head to Xbox Design Lab to customize their Xbox One controllers by letting them pick seven discrete color options spread across its body and buttons. Ars Technica had a chance to see a few sample pads during the conference, and now they've gone and gotten themselves a pair of fully customized pads.

Microsoft publishes details of Xbox One August Update, says it's rolling out today - The Windows 10 Anniversary Update isn't slated to arrive until Tuesday, but it would appear to have come early for Xbox One users. Microsoft is calling it the August Update. The company has detailed the update on a s upport page. The release date is listed as July 29, 2016, Microsoft has also released an introductory video, which you can see below.

Minecraft will get Oculus Rift support in next few weeks - Minecraft for Windows 10 will be adding support for the Oculus Rift VR headset in the "next few weeks." Microsoft and Mojang announced the news on the one-year anniversary of Minecraft’s release on Windows 10, confirming that it will be a free update.

Microsoft pushes for cross-platform applications with ChakraCore for Linux and OS X - Earlier this year, Microsoft open-sourced key components of ChakraCore. Now, the company is pushing for cross-platform applications by bringing ChakraCore to Linux and OS X. For those unaware, ChakraCore is the main element of the Chakra JavaScript engine which essentially powers both Microsoft Edge and the company's Universal Windows Platform.

Microsoft cuts 3,000 jobs in smartphone division, sales - Microsoft plans to lay off nearly 3,000 more jobs over the next year across its smartphone hardware business and global sales division.

Microsoft says software fix coming for Surface Pro 3 models with battery issues - After weeks of complaints by some users experiencing Surface Pro 3 battery-drain issues, Microsoft is now saying a software fix will likely remedy the problem.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher updated with improved notification support for Facebook, WhatsApp and more - Microsoft today updated their Arrow Launcher app in Google Play Store to v2.1. In this update, they added Extend notification badge support for more apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, QQ, Skype, etc. Read the full change log in this news article.

Cool tips and guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

How to Browse and Play Terabytes of Retro Games From Your Couch With Kodi - Ever wish you could browse a massive collection of retro video games, from your couch, and start playing anything without getting up? If you’ve got a home theater PC with both Kodi and RetroArch installed, this dream setup could be yours.

Calculate Your Alcohol Calories For This Weekend, Right Now - How many calories are in your usual night at the bar? Even though beer will soon get nutrition labels, and a few other drinks like cider already have them, doing math with calories is probably not part of your fun night out. Instead, here’s a calculator that will give you a good estimate before (or after) the fact.

Everything There is to Know About Android App’s Beta Testing - If you want to get early access to Android beta apps, this tutorial shows you how you can get them. However, one thing you must be aware of is that beta builds might have bugs and might even crash on devices and that’s the reason they call it a test playground.

Digital Citizen: The best articles of the month

We would like to end with the most popular articles that were published on Digital Citizen, in July, 2016:

Change your Windows 10 network location to Private or Public, in 3 steps - In Windows 10, the process for setting the network location involves enabling or disabling a setting which is named “Make this PC discoverable” . In this guide we will show you where to find this setting and how to fiddle with it in Windows 10, when connecting to networks both wired and wirelessly.

Set Windows 10 to download updates from the local network or the internet - See how to set Windows 10 to get updates from multiple sources, including your local network and the internet, so that they are downloaded faster.

How to set which icons are shown in Windows 10's notification area - Learn how to configure which icons are displayed in the notification area of Windows 10, so that it displays only the icons that you use on a regular basis.