You can freely upgrade to Windows 10 beyond the July 29 deadline if you follow certain steps.
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET
The time is nigh. Friday is the last day you can score Windows 10 for free.
Or is it?
What if you don’t want to upgrade to Windows 10 right now but may want to do so down the road? There is a way.
You will need to complete several steps before July 29 comes to a close. Once you do, you can upgrade to Windows 10 at no cost whenever you like, instead of according to Microsoft’s deadline.
Following Windows 8’s failure to win over consumers, Microsoft has been trying hard to push people to jump to Windows 10. Since its official release a year ago, Windows 10 has been a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 users. When that freebie ends today, you technically will be forced to shell out $119 for the regular edition of Windows 10 and $199 for the Pro flavor if you want to upgrade. Fortunately, though, Microsoft has built in a safeguard through which you can avoid that scenario.
Here’s how to conjure up this bit of wizardry.
First, you’ll need to upgrade your Windows 7 or 8.1 computer to Windows 10. (Don’t worry this is only temporary.)
To do so, you can follow the steps in this CNET article appropriately named “Here’s how to upgrade to Windows 10,” or in this article dubbed “Windows 10 is only free for one more day. Here’s how to get it.”
You’ll also want to snag a copy of Windows 10 that you can install on your own without having to grab it from Microsoft’s website. Your best bet is to use Microsoft’s media creation tool, available on the Get Windows 10 website. With the tool, you can place a copy of Windows 10 on a DVD or USB drive to install the OS as an upgrade or as a clean installation at any time.
OK, now Windows 10 is firmly in place on your PC. Your next step is to make sure the software is registered properly. To do this, click on the Start button and then click on the Settings command.
In the Settings screen, click on the category for Update & Security.
In the Update & Security screen, click on the setting for Activation. On the right pane, you should see a bit of text next to the Product Key entry that reads: “Windows 10 on this device is activated with a digital entitlement.” Don’t worry, I’ll explain what this means.
But, you protest, you don’t want Windows 10 right now. Well, that brings us to the next step. You can roll your PC back to Windows 7 or 8.1. Here’s how…
In Windows 10, click on the Start button and then click on the Settings command.
In the Settings screen, click on the category for Update & Security.
In the Update & Security screen, click on the setting for Recovery. On the right pane, you’ll see an option to go back to Windows 7 or 8.1. Click on the Get Started button for that option, and your PC will bounce back to your previous version of Windows.
Naturally, the rollback process will take some time, but it should proceed smoothly. So, will your previous version of Windows work without any problems? That depends. I’ve tried this process on some Windows 8.1 PCs, and it worked smoothly. I tried it on an old Windows 7 computer and did run into a couple of glitches where I had to reinstall certain drivers to get Windows back in gear.
So you’ll definitely want to nose around the OS to make sure your applications and files are intact and working.
Now let’s travel into the future, maybe six months from now. You’ve decided you want to upgrade to Windows 10 after all, and you don’t want to pay for the privilege. You’re in luck. Since you already installed Windows 10 once on your PC, the software has been given what Microsoft calls a “digital entitlement.” Yep, that’s the same piece of text that’s listed next to the Product Key entry.
The digital entitlement ties your Windows 10 license to that specific computer. In a nutshell, this means you can freely reinstall Windows 10 on that PC even after reverting back to Windows 7 or 8.1, as long as you have already installed Windows 10 previously.
Now use the media creation tool you created six months prior to upgrade your current copy of Windows to Windows 10. Follow the steps to install Windows 10 as you had earlier, and the software will find its way onto your PC once again. If you want to be on the safe side, you can back up your PC at various steps in this entire process.
Yes, these steps take some time and you’ll have to complete the first part of the process before today is over. But at least now you can keep your current version of Windows alive and jump to Windows 10 whenever you choose.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comment.
(Via ZDNet and HowtoGeek)
Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET
Windows 10 was designed with touchscreens in mind, but Microsoft hasn’t forgotten traditional PC users. The operating system comes with plenty of built-in keyboard shortcuts — including brand-new shortcuts for the Command Prompt — for those who prefer a physical keyboard.
[Related: Open programs with keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10]
Here’s a handy list of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for navigating Windows 10.
- Ctrl + A: Select all items in a window.
- Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert: Copy selected/highlighted item (e.g., text, images, etc).
- Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert: Paste selected/highlighted item.
- Ctrl + X: Cut selected/highlighted item.
- Ctrl + Z: Undo previous action.
- Ctrl + Y: Redo action.
- Windows key + F1: Open “how to get help in Windows 10” Bing search in default browser.
- Alt + F4: Close the current app/window.
- Alt + Tab: Switch between open apps/windows.
- Shift + Delete: Delete selected item permanently (skip the Recycle Bin).
Start menu and taskbar
You can use these keyboard shortcuts to open, close, and otherwise control the Start menu and the taskbar.
- Windows key or Ctrl + Esc: Open Start menu.
- Windows key + X: Open the secret Start menu.
- Windows key + T: Cycle through the apps (including pinned apps) on the taskbar.
- Windows key + [Number]: Open the app pinned in the [number] position on the taskbar. For example, if you have Edge pinned in the first position on the taskbar and you click Windows key + 1, Edge will open. If the app is already open, a new instance/window will open.
- Windows key + Alt + [Number]: Open the right-click menu for the app pinned in the [number] position on the taskbar.
- Windows key + D: Show/hide desktop (Window key + (,) will display the desktop briefly).
The desktop: Windows, Snap Assist and virtual desktops
These shortcuts control how individual windows act on your desktop, including virtual desktops.
- Windows key + M: Minimize all open windows.
- Windows key + Shift + M: Restore minimized windows.
- Windows key + Home: Minimize all windows except the selected/currently active window.
- Windows key + Up arrow: Maximize selected window.
- Windows key + Down arrow: Minimize selected window.
- Windows key + Left arrow or Right arrow: Snap selected window to the left/right half of the screen. If the window is already in the left half/right of the screen, Windows key + Up or Down will snap it into a quadrant.
- Windows key + Shift + Left arrow or Right arrow: Move selected window to left/right monitor.
- Windows key + Tab: Open Task view (virtual desktops).
- Windows key + Ctrl + D: Add new virtual desktop.
- Windows key + Ctrl + Right arrow: Move to the next virtual desktop (to the right).
- Windows key + Ctrl + Left arrow: Move to the previous virtual desktop (to the left).
- Windows key + Ctrl + F4: Close current virtual desktop.
The Windows key
These keyboard shortcuts use the Windows logo key to perform various tasks on the operating system, such as launching both Windows and third-party apps.
- Windows key + A: Open the Action Center.
- Windows key + S: Open Cortana in text mode (to type in the search bar). Windows key + Q will also do this.
- Windows key + C: Open Cortana in listening mode (similar to saying “Hey, Cortana”).
- Windows key + E: Open File Explorer.
- Windows key + F: Open the Windows 10 Feedback Hub.
- Windows key + Ctrl + F: Search for PCs on a network.
- Windows key + G: Open the Game bar.
- Windows key + H: Open the Share sidebar.
- Windows key + I: Open the Settings menu.
- Windows key + K: Open the Connect sidebar (for connecting to new Bluetooth devices or Miracast).
- Windows key + L: Lock your computer.
- Windows key + O: Lock screen orientation.
- Windows key + P: Open presentation/projection sidebar.
- Windows key + R: Open the Run window.
- Windows key + U: Open Ease of Access center.
- Windows key + Spacebar: Switch input language and keyboard layout.
- Windows key + (+) or (-): Zoom in and out with magnifier.
- Windows key + Esc: Exit magnifier.
You can use these keyboard shortcuts inside the Windows 10 Command Prompt.
- Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert: Copy selected text to the clipboard.
- Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert: Paste copied text inside the Command Prompt.
- Ctrl + A: Select all text on current line (if current line has no text, all text inside the Command Prompt will be selected).
- Ctrl + Up or Down: Move screen one line up or down.
- Ctrl + F: Search Command Prompt via Find window.
- Ctrl + M: Enter Mark mode (allows you to select text with mouse). Once Mark mode is enabled, you can use the arrow keys to move the cursor around.
- Shift + Up or Down: Move cursor up or down one line and select text.
- Shift + Left or Right: Move cursor left or right one character and select text.
- Ctrl + Shift + Left or Right: Move cursor left or right one word and select text.
- Shift + Page Up or Page Down: Move cursor up or down one screen and select text.
- Shift + Home or End: Move cursor to beginning or end of current line and select text.
- Ctrl + Shift + Home/End: Move cursor to beginning or end of screen buffer and select text and beginning/end of Command Prompt’s output.
Last week, Literature & Latte released Scrivener for iOS, bringing the popular long-form writing tool to iPhones and iPads. The price: $19.99.
Ouch. I’m not saying the app isn’t worth it, especially for anyone who’s working on, say, a screenplay or dissertation. But if you can’t afford it or don’t think $20 is a fair price, you may prefer to wait for a sale.
Yep, apps go on sale. Happens all the time, in fact. The challenge is finding out when those sales happen, because although iTunes does let you create a wish list, it doesn’t notify you of price drops for items on that list.
In other words, if you want to find out when an expensive app like Scrivener goes on sale, you’d have to keep checking the App Store — hardly a productive use of your time.
Thankfully, there’s another way: set up a wish list that includes price-monitoring. Here’s how:
Step 1: Head to AppShopper and register for an account. (It’s free.)
Step 2: Check your user profile and make sure that Notify me of Wishlist price drops by e-mail is checked.
Click Want to add an app to your wish list. AppShopper will notify you of price drops!
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET
Step 3: Search for an app you want to track. A good example: Human Anatomy Atlas 2017 Edition, currently priced at $24.99. (If the app has been around awhile, you can check the App Activity sidebar to see what kind of price drops have happened in the past. A game like Bastion is a great example: It frequently goes on sale to 99 cents from its regular $4.99.)
Step 4: Click the Want button, which instantly adds the app to your wish list.
And that’s it! Now, whenever that app’s price drops, you’ll get a notification. If you’ve found a faster/easier/better way to keep tabs on app prices, shout it out in the comments!
The Good The Asus Zen Pad Z8 starts at only $149 with 4G LTE. It’s slim and lightweight with a sharp, bright screen and smooth performance. The battery lasts longer than the vast majority of tablets and charges quickly via USB-C.
The Bad The front-facing speaker and camera quality leave a lot to be desired.
The Bottom Line While it’s not fit for writing your next term paper on, the Asus ZenPad Z8 is our favorite budget Android tablet and is perfect for casual use.
You know the type of love song where the singer basically just lists a bunch of generic things about the person they’re enamored with? Like hair and eyes? That’s kind of how I feel about the Asus Zen Pad Z8. There isn’t just one specific, unique thing about it; it’s everything — the whole package — that makes it special.
While I don’t plan to write a ditty about the Z8 anytime soon, I’m not above rattling off a list to justify my infatuation. Its sharp, bright colorful screen make it great for catching up on episodes of UnReal; its perfectly portable size reminds me of carrying around a paperback book; it has 4G LTE so you can play Hearthstone while relaxing at the park and it packs a long-lasting battery. The best part? It’s totally affordable.
The catch is that it’s only available through Verizon. It costs $249 off contract or $149 with a two-year agreement. Verizon also offers qualified customers with a 25-month payment plan that makes it less than $11 per month.
- Android 6.0.1
- Snapdragon 650 CPU
- Adreno 510 GPU
- 2GB of RAM
- 16GB of internal storage
- MicroSD card slot expandable up to 128GB
A tablet is a glorified toy. Any parent who frequently hands theirs over to their kids knows this. Though some tablets — like your Surfaces and iPad Pros of the world — make great laptop replacements, most are like the Asus ZenPad Z8 — meant for casual tasks, like streaming video, playing games, checking email and browsing the web.
Because of its $149 to $249 retail price (depending on whether you get it under contract or not), the Asus ZenPad Z8 could be considered cheap, (for comparison’s sake, the newest Samsung and Apple tablets in the same size category will cost you a cool $400) however it doesn’t feel, look or act cheap; apps launched swiftly, web pages and videos loaded in seconds, and it charges fast via USB-C.
It has a USB-C connector on the bottom edge.
It averaged 12 hours of life in our battery test, which is really good for an Android tablet; iPads usually hit that number or above.
On separate occasions, I streamed a few episodes of “Supernatural” (catching up) and “Gilmore Girls” (re-watching) on the 4G LTE network with the screen brightness and volume cranked all the way up, and I never had to worry about the battery dying. Wish I could say the same thing about my laptop.
Asus ZenPad Z8
Asus ZenPad S 8.0
Apple iPad Mini 2
3DMark score (Ice Storm Unlimited)
Geekbench 3 score (Multi-core)
Geekbench 3 score (Single-core)
Longer bars indicate better performance
We’re all very proud to have MrMobile with us.
Michael Fisher, aka MrMobile, does video like almost no one else on the net right now, and his smooth performances bring another level of class to the videos he’s sharing with us. He makes the technology he talks about more approachable not just for die-hard enthusiasts but for the everyman on the street who just wants to know what’s the best phone on Android right now or what the hell this Pokémon GO thing is.
With his fancy new set and his fancy new logos came the obvious idea that we needed to bring that MrMobile flare to the home screen. The simple custom theme below is simple, distinct, and MrMobile-approved. Here’s what you need to get it done:
- MrMobile wallpaper
- MrMobile Kustom widget preset
- MrMobile app drawer icon
- Distress’d icon pack ($1.00)
- KWGT Pro ($3.50)
- A home screen launcher that supports icon packs, custom image icons, and resizeable widgets. These instructions are written using Nova Launcher, but you could use many different launchers like Action Launcher or Apex Launcher.
- A file manager for moving files to their intended locations. These instructions were written using Solid Explorer.
Download our MrMobile Wallpaper and MrMobile app drawer icon to your device.
Long-press your home screen and select Wallpapers.
Pick image and navigate to your saved Mr Mobile wallpaper.
Ensure the image is centered and Set wallpaper.
Open Nova Settings.
In Look & feel, select Distress’d as your Icon theme.
Return to the home screen.
Long-press your app drawer shortcut and Edit it.
Tap the icon to edit it.
Select Documents from Gallery apps and navigate to your saved MrMobile icon.
Expand the preview box to cover the entire icon and confirm the icon by tapping Done.
Tap Done in the shortcut edit window to set the icon.
Download our MrMobile KWGT preset.
Use a file manager to copy the KWGT file to Kustom/widgets on your device.
Return to the home screen.
Long-press your home screen and select Widgets.
Scroll to KWGT and press and drag a KWGT 4×4 widget to the middle of your home screen. NOTE: This layout is based on at least a 6 row by 4 column home screen layout, but you could use a standard 4×4 grid if desired, instead using a KWGT 2×2widget.
Tap your KWGT widget to configure it.
Swipe from the Installed KWGT presets page to Exported and select mrmobile-widget.
Save the widget using the floppy disk icon at the top of the screen.
Return to the home screen and resize you KWGT to your preferences.
MrMobile himself prefers a simple home screen with just the KWGT and the dock, but if you want a few more widgets on-screen, I recommend a Clear 4×1 Jack’s Music Widget and/or a 4×1 1Weather widget to fill out the screen and add a bit more functionality.
Also, if you want to get more functionality out of the MrMobile KWGT, you could…
- …Add a touch action to the time or temperature items, giving you a quick shortcut to your clock, weather, or another favorite app. You can do this by editing of the the text items and going to the Touch tab.
- …Replace the temperature text with another system variable, such as your remaining battery or the date. Please note that since the temperature text is two layered items that you’ll need to make the edits to both items.
- …Add a touch action to the MrMobile logo, such as a quick link to the Android Central app or YouTube. You can do this by editing of the the image item and going to the Touch tab.
Feel free to play around with it, and make sure you’re subscribed to everything Mr Mobile has to offer!
Blizzard has announced the next single-player expansion for its collectible RPG card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. One Night in Karazhan, where players get invited to a big party, will be released on August 11.
Here’s how Blizzard describes the plot of the expansion:
Karazhan, long a potent nexus of arcane energies, is about to become the focal point of a very different kind of cosmic force. The wizard Medivh has used every bit of magic at his disposal to set up the most lavish and extravagant party of all time, and your name is on the guest list alongside the crème de la crème of Azeroth and beyond! With such an eclectic mix of attendees, it’s guaranteed that this party will be out of this world. But as you groove to the music and let the sights dazzle you, beware; one night in Karazhan, and even tough guys tumble. Keep your decks straight, your wits sharp, and above all, stay alive!
The new content and features of One Night in Karazhan include:
- New Cards: Make your way through four wings chock-full of challenging bosses, unexpected twists, and mystical mayhem. Beat the bosses and earn their brand-new cards for your collection!
- Legendary: Get ready for truly dazzling legendary cards such as Moroes and many more.
- Class Challenges: As the evening progresses, you will unlock nine all-new class challenges that test your skills in surprising new ways. Succeed, and unlock their rewards!
- New Game Board: When an archmage throws a party, nothing but the best will do. Prepare to be spellbound by the magic of Karazhan!
- Never a dull moment: Your host may be a Guardian of Tirisfal, a vastly powerful magic user, and a fantastic dancer, but nobody’s perfect. Some matters may transpire over the course of the evening that might require your… special attention. Come prepared!
- Portals Everywhere: This party is so intense, it’s warping the very fabric of space and time to bring in more guests! Use the new portal spell cards to unleash the magic and summon random minions to the field.
Hearthstone players will be able to access the first prologue mission in the One Night in Karazhan expansion for free when it is released.
AT&T has announced it will begin selling the 8-inch Trek 2 HD tablet on August 5, in its stores and online. The tablet will have Android 6.0 Marshmallow pre-installed.
Here are some of the other features that will be included with the AT&T Trek 2 HD tablet:
- Dual Front-facing Speakers: The tablet features Dolby Audio™ speakers that provide high quality sound.
- Battery Life: The AT&T Trek 2 HD contains a battery size of 4,600 mAh that provides up to 10.5 hours of usage.4
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.5Ghz Octa-core
- Internal Memory: Store images, videos and apps with 16 GB of internal storage,5 with the option for an additional 128 GB with a microSD card (sold separately).
- Camera: Capture brilliant photos & selfies with the tablet’s 5 megapixel rear and front-facing cameras.
Customers can purchase it for $0.99 with a two-year contract, or for $7.50 a month for 20 months. That usually means that it will have a no-contract price of $150.
Wanna know a sweet hack for leveling up faster? Go actually play the game.
Everyone’s looking for an edge in Pokémon Go. Maybe you don’t get to play as much as your friend, and that level and a half gain they have on you is sending that competitive itch you have into overdrive. Maybe your co-worker’s bike ride to work means they hatch eggs twice as fast as you because you drive. Maybe that little jerk at the end of your street has basically been playing nonstop because school is out and that makes it next to impossible to take and hold the local gym. Whatever the reason, we get it. Sometimes you need an edge, and the sudden popularity of Pokémon Go meant the internet was immediately filled with “hacks” to give you that edge.
We’ve been documenting these little hacks and testing them for ourselves. Some of them work. Surprise! Most of them are fake. To help you sort through these “tips” we’ve got everything that has been thoroughly debunked here, including an explanation for why people thought the trick worked int he first place.
No, Poké Balls cannot be recovered.
Yeah, this is going to start with a “tip” that was started right here on Android Central. The first week of Pokémon Go had a ton of server-side bugs, and that included delays in showing you how many Poke Balls you actually had left after a throw. When combined with a perfectly synced disappear animation and re-appear animation, it looked like you could tap on Poke Balls that didn’t hit their target and recover them.
Now that things have settled down a little, it’s clear this is not what has been happening in the game. There is no way to recover Poke Balls in the game, so don’t waste your time tapping behind that Porygon to and just get ready for your next throw. Maybe try a curveball throw this time?
Spinning your phone in circles is not hatching eggs faster.
You have to travel specific distances under specific speeds in Pokémon Go to hatch eggs, and players have been looking for shortcuts to this from day one. Some figured out that a skateboard or bicycle meant you could travel faster and hatch things quicker, but that’s not fast enough for everyone. People started trying all sorts of crazy things to get some extra kilometers in on those incubation meters, but all of them are crap. We know, we tested them with multiple phones on multiple carriers just to be sure.
Pokémon Go egg hatching works on a fairly simple formula. The app pings your GPS location once every 60 seconds, and measures the distance between each ping as the distance you’ve traveled. If that distance can be traveled under 15mph, that distance is added to your eggs as distance traveled. Every four minutes that information is added to your incubators.
How many steps your travel isn’t relevant, and if you’re walking circles around the same block over and over again you’ll find a lot of the distance you’re actually travelling isn’t being recorded because the GPS pings are only measuring in straight lines. Distance traveled is basically recorded “as the crow flies” because the game is only checking distance every 60 seconds.
- Taping your phone to a ceiling fan will not make your eggs hatch.
- Shoving your phone between bike spokes will not make your eggs hatch faster.
- Leaving your phone on a Roomba while it cleans your house might help you hatch your eggs, but only if you have a really big house and the Roomba can reach from one end to the other.
But I’ve seen it work!
What you’re seeing when you go nowhere and traveled distance is still added to your incubators is GPS drift. When you see your character float around in the game while the GPS tries to lock down your actual position, there’s nothing the game can do to confirm whether that’s actual movement from you. As a result, GPS drift can count towards incubation movement. If your phone has a terrible GPS connection and you want to use that to your advantage, there’s nothing stopping you. Just stop taping your phone to your ceiling fan, that’s just asking for disaster.
Weather does not affect Pokémon spawns
Pokémon Go is not pulling data from weather services, and so cannot spawn Pokémon based on weather. As cool as it would be for Fire-type to spawn in greater capacity when it’s 103-degrees out, that’s not how the game functions right now.
Whether rain or snow or relentless Summer sun, the Pokémon that spawn around you are part of Niantic’s location-based system. This means you’ll find Water-type near water as it appears on your map, and an unhealthy amount of Rattata and Pidgey in the suburbs. There are some great tools available now to give you a better idea of where you can find what Pokémon in your area, so give this a shot instead.
Cemetaries do not have more Ghost-type Pokemon
Don’t go looking for Pokémon in cemeteries, please. While this would make sense with the whole location-based thing, you will not find more Ghastly, Haunter, or Gengar in a cemetery. You may stumble across one or two during the day, but your best bet is to go looking for these and other Ghost-type Pokémon at night.
There are specific Pokémon that show up in greater volume after the sun goes down, so keep that in mind as you adventure!
There is only one way to control an Eevee evolution
In the regular Pokémon games, Eevee have many possible evolution paths and you have some control over those paths if you know the right combination of actions. In Pokémon Go, Eevee have an evenly random chance of evolving into the Fire-type Flareon, the Water-type Vaporeon, or the Lightning-type Jolteon after you tap the Evolve button on the screen. Rumors started saying you could control the evolution if you evolved based on attack type or at certain times of day or near specific locations, but none of that is true.
Currently, there’s only one way to control an Eevolution and it’s with an Easter Egg that hails back to the television series. If you change the nickname of your Eevee before you evolve it, you can control the kind of Pokémon it evolves into.
- For Jolteon, name your Eevee Sparky
- For Vaporeon, name your Eevee Rainer
- For Flareon, name your Eevee Pyro
This is guaranteed to work as long as you change the name before you hit the evolve button, so go have some fun!
We’ll be adding to this list as we discover and test these “hacks” that find their way onto the internet. If you have any you’d like to share, toss them in the comments!
- Join our Pokémon Go forums!
- How to deal with GPS errors in-game
- Which team should you choose?
- How to play without killing your battery
- The Ultimate Pokémon Go Game Guide!
- Listen to the Pokémon Go podcast!
Today on In Case You Missed It: NASA is planning a trip to get a sample of the large asteroid Bennu and see if any organic materials can be found on it. If you remember hypercolor t-shirts, you’ll want to know about an air pollution sensing shirt that changes color and patterns when carbon monoxide, radioactivity and particle pollutants are detected.
You’ll want to see this video from Japan showing a volcano’s eruption with a thunderstorm inside. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.
China is set to launch a satellite that could form part of an unassailable, worldwide communications network. The 600 kg (1,300 pound) QUESS craft, launching sometime in August, will perform the first ever quantum experiments in space. A special crystal onboard will generate pairs of “entangled” photons that will be fired at labs in China and Austria. Ground based teams will then perform tests to see if the photons remain bonded even when 1,200 km (700 miles) apart.
Quantum physics dictates that entangled particles are linked, so that if you change the property of one by measuring it, the other will instantly change, too. In theory, the particles stay linked even if they’re light-years apart, so quantum entanglement effectively defies Einstein’s principal that nothing can travel faster than light. Since there are still doubts that entanglement works over a long distance, the QUESS satellite team will do a so-called Bell test with entangled photons in China and Austria.
The same entanglement principal also helps cryptologists. Since measuring one entangled photon instantly changes the properties of the other, the photons can be used to create an encryption key. Any attempt to listen in by measuring a photon would instantly change the other, letting the two parties know that a breach has occurred.
Such effects have been demonstrated on the ground across a distance of 300 km (186 miles), but photons fired across fiber-optic cables or the air are eventually dispersed, making measurement impossible. The QUESS satellite, by contrast, will fire photons in clear space, theoretically increasing the test distances.
The team will run quantum experiments with the first satellite for about two years, but “if the first satellite goes well, China will definitely launch more,” physicist Chaoyang Lu tells Nature. He estimates that up to 20 satellites would be needed to generate a secure quantum communications network. Similar research is also being conducted by Canadian researchers who want to create entangled photons on Earth and fire them at tiny “cube sat” microsatellites. Italian researchers, meanwhile, plan to fire entangled photons off mirrors mounted on existing satellites.
The research may yield a completely secure, space-based “internet” within a decade. Quantum satellites could also join up to form a telescope with enormous resolving power that could “read license plates on Jupiter’s moon,” according to NASA physicist Paul Kwiat.