6 portable Windows tools for USB thumb drives

PC Gamer at

A USB thumbdrive can be a lot of things—a backup of important photos, a quick transfer device for big files, a cheap way to give out documents. It can also be a Swiss Army knife of portable software, filled with software that runs straight off the USB drive. These tools can be useful for working with computers you can’t install your own software on, or laptops that have dropped the CD drive for a thinner chassis. Our colleagues at TechRadar have covered a variety of portable tools, and we’ve put together six we recommend below. Make your own USB Swiss Army knife.

10 essential Windows 7 applications

PC Gamer at

Windows 8.1 has been out since October 2013, but we still cling to our installs of Windows 7. We love its reliability, even if it's missing some of Windows 8's under-the-hood improvements. If you're also still using Windows 7, your gaming PC is probably loaded with years of accumulated software. But are you using the best? Our colleagues at TechRadar put together a list of the best free programs for Windows 7, and we've boiled that list down to the 10 programs we think are essentials. If you don't have these programs installed already, here's why you should download them.

Microsoft's Phil Spencer says "Xbox is our gaming brand," E3 isn't for Windows

Andy Chalk at

You may have noticed that Microsoft's E3 press event was heavy on the Xbox and rather light on Windows—which is to say, it didn't come up at all. According to Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division and Microsoft Game Studios, there's a good reason for that: E3 is a "console show," and Microsoft didn't want to bring a gun to a knife fight.

Interview with Tripwire's John Gibson: "Microsoft's done their best to kill gaming on PC for as long as I can remember"

Wes Fenlon at

In April, I spent an entire day at Tripwire Interactive's office in Atlanta, Georgia getting the first look at Killing Floor 2. We talked about KF2's new gore system (enemies burst apart dynamically in 19 places), blood system (every drop of blood stays on the map for an entire match), and new guns, which live up to Tripwire's reputation for accuracy.

I also spent a good deal of time talking to Tripwire president John Gibson about PC gaming at large—his thoughts on SteamOS and the Steam Controller, Epic's Unreal Engine 4, and Battlefield 4's ongoing issues. As always, he had strong opinions about the present problems and future possibilities of PC gaming. His boldest prediction: almost every PC game will end up on Linux eventually, and PC gaming will thrive as a result.

Source: Former Steam head Jason Holtman has left Microsoft

Ian Birnbaum at

Microsoft’s often troubled relationship with PC gaming took a positive step in our eyes when the company hired Jason Holtman, previously the head of Steam at Valve, last summer. Now it looks like the gain was short-lived as it emerges that Holtman has left Microsoft after only six months.

"Basic functions" of PlayStation 4 controller will work by default on Windows

Perry Vandell at

President of Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entetainment Shuhei Yoshida has confirmed over Twitter that the “basic functions” of the PS4’s DualShock 4 will be compatible on Windows PCs without the need for additional drivers.

Steam's latest hardware survey - more than twice the number of Linux users since December

Phil Savage at

It's a new month, meaning, for the most part, very little. Still, fans of minor incremental gains and losses in granular data do get the joy of a fresh Steam Hardware Survey, reducing down Steam's userbase into a comparable list of percentages. February's numbers bring strong gains for Linux, a new chunk of Windows 8 users, and the continued and seemingly unstoppable dominance of Windows 7.

Windows 8 head Steven Sinofsky leaves Microsoft

Omri Petitte at

Microsoft's leadership echelon experienced a shakeup in its Windows division yesterday with the sudden departure of President Steven Sinofsky for unexplained reasons. Sinofsky oversaw and was responsible for the development of both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Microsoft's official announcement states the mutually agreed decision takes effect immediately.

Did Bulldozer just get better?

Adam Oxford at

Remember the lacklustre performance of AMD's much vaunted new Bulldozer CPU architecture? Turns out the difficult launch and grilling the chip got in reviews may not have been entirely down to the limits of the hardware.

Launched as the AMD FX brand a month or so ago, Bulldozer performance was behind what most pundits were hoping for. Apparently, some of that is due to Windows not supporting new features that Bulldozer introduced. And now there's a patch that should help.

Saturday Crapshoot: Microshaft Winblows 98

Richard Cobbett at

Richard Cobbett has... nothing to add to that. In fact, after seeing the name of this week's bit of obscura, you should know all you need. Stick around though. The Muppets turn up near the end. Honest.

Drinking leper vomit. Being served a beloved pet in a bun. Being dragged naked behind the Orient Express on train tracks sprinkled with salt and broken glass. Drowning in a vat of live maggots.

Oh, hello there, readers. You just joined us, the PC Gamer team, in our weekly game of "Things That Are More Fun Than Microshaft Winblows 98". We've been playing it for the last decade and a half, for an hour a day, and unlike this terrible excuse for a CD-ROM, we never seem to run out of material. So far, only three things have been disqualified for going too far: the movies of Seltzer and Friedberg, because at least Microshaft doesn't risk being sued by Satan for removing his writing credit, a dentist getting the hiccups during root canal surgery, and the other parodies from creator Parroty Interactive: Star Warped, The X-Fools, and one of the few games to specifically spoof another: Pyst. Shudder.