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Microsoft's upcoming driver update changes may cause issues with plug-and-play
by Anmol Mehrotra
Earlier this year, Microsoft updated the Windows Update page to separate quality updates and optional/driver updates. This moved the optional and driver updates to a new location and allowed users to independently search for driver updates without using the Device Manager.
Now, Microsoft is making another change to how the company delivers manual driver updates to Windows 10 users. Starting from November 5, Windows 10 users will see a clear distinction between automatic and manual updates in Windows Update. Microsoft says this change will allow users to have more control over plug-and-play accessories that automatically download and install drivers.
Earlier 'automatic drivers' drivers were automatically installed when a device is plugged in for the first time. If the automatic driver is not available, Windows used to install the manual driver as a part of the plug-and-play feature to get the device up and running. However, the new change means if a user plugs in a peripheral that does not have an automatic update available, Windows will return a Driver Not Found (DNF) error and the device won't work. To remedy this, users will need to manually install the driver by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates.
In February, Microsoft rolled out an update that allowed developers to select automatic or manual under driver delivery options in Hardware Dev Center. The automatic driver option will publish the driver as both as Critical (CU) and Dynamic (DU) while the manual driver option will make the driver available under Windows Update UX.
While this gives more control to the user, it also causes issues for peripherals that don't have automatic drivers available and not everyone will know that they will need to go to Windows Update and manually download the driver for the hardware to work. The only way to avoid this is if every device has at least one automatic driver available that can be used to initialize the new hardware.
Samsung launches competition to win Xbox Series X, Cyberpunk 2077, and a TV
by Paul Hill
Samsung has announced that it has partnered with Microsoft and CD Project RED to offer winners of a competition a Samsung QLED Limited Edition Cyberpunk 2077 TV, an Xbox Series X, and a copy of Cyberpunk 2077. The competition will be in the form of a scavenger hunt where entrants will be whittled down to five finalists who then face off in a final puzzle.
The hunt is an alternate reality game called Samsung QLEDecode and brings players “on a journey through the corners of the internet.” Players will have to solve mysterious posts, clues and puzzles to work their way through to the final task. Judging by Samsung’s announcement, there are already a few clues in the wild just waiting to be found.
Samsung has not provided an expansive description of the limited edition TV but it says that it’s QLED and supports 4K HDR at 120Hz with a low ms response time, variable refresh rate, and offers sharp graphics and capabilities specifically with the latest generation of games in mind.
According to a countdown on the QLEDecode competition page, it’ll start around mid-November. If you’re lucky enough to win the prize you’ll be saving yourself hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, but you will face a lot of tough competition as Samsung raises awareness of the competition.
By Rich Woods
Microsoft releases Edge Dev 88.0.680.1 with Caret Mode for PDFs and more
by Rich Woods
It's that time again. This week's Edge Dev is available, and the version number is 88.0.680.1. It's the second build of Edge 88 in the weekly channel. As usual, there's not a whole lot that's new.
However, Microsoft did launch vertical tabs in the Dev channel earlier this week. That wasn't through a new build though. It was a server-side change, so everyone just got it. Edge Canary finally got history sync this week, so that's another thing that you can expect to arrive as a server-side change in the Dev channel soon.
As for this build, there's now Caret Mode for PDFs, better copy and paste on Macs, and more. Here's the list of new features:
As always, there are some fixes and known issues. Here's what got fixed for improved reliability:
Here's what got fixed for changed behavior:
Finally, here's what's still broken:
As always, you can update your browser manually by going to Settings -> About Microsoft Edge. If you don't, your browser will update in the background at some point.
By Abhay V
PowerToys 0.25 out with many fixes, Video Conferencing Mute utility coming next week
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft has released a new version of its PowerToys suite of tools, bringing version 0.25 to all users. Today’s release is heavy on bug fixes and stability improvements and does not bring the much-awaited Video Conferencing Mute utility that the firm has been working to add to the tool. The team states that the utility will be added in “about a week’s time” as it needs more work before it can be shipped to all users.
It also adds that the focus of version 0.25 has been on “stability, localization, and quality of life improvements for both the development team and our end users”, and to that end, there is a long list of fixes. The firm says it is adding 17 languages to the tool and is requesting feedback on the rough edges and issues. Other improvements include new color styles for the Color Picker tool, a host of improvements and fixes to Run, and much more.
Here is the complete list of fixes and improvements being made in version 0.25:
It must be noted that version 0.25 will roll out to users running the stable version of PowerToys, which is currently on 0.23.2. Users on the experimental version will receive a new build of the tool with all the fixes in 0.25 later.
If you are interested in looking at the complete list of commits and bug fixes made in this version, you can head to the issues page here. You can also head to the GitHub page here if you prefer to download the tool manually.
October updates to Microsoft 365 include Productivity Score, OneNote in Outlook, and more
by João Carrasqueira
We're rapidly approaching the end of the month, and just in time, Microsoft has once again gone over the recent updates to the Microsoft 365 family. As always, these updates can target a wide range of products, so there's probably something for everyone.
First, for enterprise customers, Microsoft has announced the general availability of Productivity Score. Initially announced back in April and available in preview since then, this tool lets administrator get insights into how its team members are performing by looking at different kinds of data, such as who's sending emails or messages, participating in shared workspaces, and so on. You can get started with the feature on the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.
For healthcare professionals, Microsoft also introduced Cloud for Healthcare this month, aiming to "empower teams, coordinate care, and generate insights" to deliver better patient care. There's also a Microsoft Teams EHR connector so doctors can launch a virtual visit on Teams from their electronic health record system.
Moving on to security, Microsoft is announcing a new experience for the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, where IT teams can get a better look at how the organization is being protected by Microsoft Defender. This new interface will let admins see threat and device status reports and take action on them when necessary.
Microsoft also introduced App Assure for ARM64 PCs this month, meaning businesses can use devices like the Surface Pro X and Microsoft will provide support in ensuring that apps are still compatible with the devices.
Moving on to consumer-facing updates, Outlook has received a new feature in the ability to book physical workspaces from within the app, similar to how you can book conference rooms. Booking a workspace lets users choose the desired capacity, floor, and more to find the right one for a specific work session. This feature is available in Outlook on all platforms.
Over on the email side of Outlook, Microsoft has launched the OneNote feed, which lets users quickly access their OneNote notes, Sticky Notes, and notes from the Samsung Notes app on Galaxy smartphones (in beta) and attach them to email messages.
Earlier today, the company also introduced the ability to create data types in Excel using data from Power BI and other sources, including an expanded partnerhsip with Wolfram Alpha. This lets users import and organize those data types in Excel, but also update them in the case of live data by using the "Refresh Data" button.
Microsoft also made it possible to create polls and quizzes in Microsoft Forms through the Office mobile app this month, and Forms itself was made available to personal Microsoft account users, so you no longer need a paid subscription.
Microsoft To Do also got a notable update this month, giving users the option to share their personal to-do lists with their own work account, so they can more easily visualize both at the same time. The Edge browser has also seen a couple of improvements, with support for a table of contents in the PDF viewer, plus the ability to compare prices for items you add to your Collections.
Rounding out the updates, a few smaller changes are also highlighted. Action Pen inking and the Visio Data Visualizer add-in are now generally available in Excel, Microsoft Project and Visio are now available via self-service purchasing, and NDI support has been added to Teams.