Recently Browsing 0 members
No registered users viewing this page.
By Abhay V
A new Windows 10 Group Policy now lets IT admins disable feature update blocks
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft releases Windows 10 feature updates in a staggered manner, which means that the rollout targets a small set of users initially, which then expands gradually to more users. However, some devices are blocked from receiving new versions due to ‘safeguard holds’. These are update blocks that are applied to devices that could be affected by known issues – based on the Redmond firm’s telemetry –, that may end up causing blue screens (BSODs) or other performance issues.
However, a recently added Group Policy aimed at IT admins and professional users can now allow them to bypass these update blocks and pull a feature update from Windows Update. The policy, called “Disable Safeguards for Feature Updates” can be found under Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business in the Group Policy Editor. Admins that use an MDM (Mobile Device Management) tool can use the Update/DisableWUfBSafeguards CSP.
The company explains in a recently updated support document that the ability to disable these safeguard blocks is a temporary measure for IT admins who “stay informed with Update Compliance and the Windows Release Health dashboard” and those that are aware of the risks. The reason the firm calls the policy a “temporary” one is because it is reset after an update and must be manually enabled again.
The policy was added with the October Patch Tuesday updates and works on Windows 10 version 1809 (October 2019 Update) with devices running Windows Update for Business. Though, the policy description itself mentions Windows 10 version 1903 or newer as the OS requirement.
The ability to disable safeguards and force an update could be aimed at helping admins perform validation and testing in a business environment. Admins can also use the Update Compliance monitoring tool to ascertain the risks involved with the known issues and decide if a future update is safe enough for deployment.
Source: Microsoft Support via BleepingComputer
Microsoft Forms is now available for personal users
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft has announced that Forms, the poll and quiz creator tool, is now available for personal use. Forms originally launched in 2018 for business users, and it's also available for education, but now, anyone can use it. The tool is free, though some additional features can be unlocked with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
Forms lets users create polls, quizzes, or tests with a variety of options for answers. Forms can ask for text input, a multi-choice selection list, dropdown lists, calendar dates, and so on, with options to allow for long answers or mark certain questions as required. Forms also has templates so users don't have to start from the ground up, and themes are available to customize the look of the form for respondents. In addition to some preset themes, it's possible to upload photos to customize the look of a poll.
Polls can be shared with anyone using a link or a QR code. Poll creators can then see the results of the poll within Forms, with real-time results and automatically generated charts for questions that allow it. Results can also be exported to Excel.
Forms is available on the web using this link, but you can also use it through the Office mobile app, a capability that was announced at Ignite last month.
Microsoft employees will continue to work from home until July 2021
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft is delaying plans to reopen its offices for employees at a wider scale, according to a new internal email obtained by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. Back in July, the company had pointed to January as the target date for its employees to return to work onsite as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the conditions haven't evolved favorably in the past few months.
According to the email, Microsoft work offices in the United States likely won't reach "Stage 6" - when the pandemic is no longer to deemed to have a significant impact on the country - until July 6, 2021. That means the company can't open its offices to all of its workers before then, though some workers may have the option to return to work onsite before then, at least part time.
Currently, most U.S. states are in Stage 3, meaning working from home is encouraged for most employees, though jobs that require onsite presence are exceptionally allowed to work at the offices. In Stages 4 and 5, employees can opt to work at Microsoft's offices, but with some occupancy restrictions.
A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft updated its policy for working from home, establishing part-time work from home as standard for most of its employees, though some may be able to do so full time. Microsoft has also shifted most of its annual events to a virtual format for at least the first half of 2021.
10 more Game Pass Ultimate titles receive touch controls for cloud gaming
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Last month, Microsoft enabled cloud gaming through its Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription service, offering over 150 games that can be streamed straight into Android mobile devices. Alongside the launch, Minecraft Dungeons became the first title from the bunch to receive on-screen touch controls, and now, 10 more games are gaining support for this feature.
Here are the latest Xbox touch controls enabled titles that let Android users jump in without using a physical controller:
"Touch controls have been one of the top-requested features for cloud gaming, so to build this collection we worked closely with players and game designers to create a familiar experience, and support a level of play that you’re used to with a physical controller," said xCloud GM and head of product Catherine Gluckstein in today's announcement. "For each title that uses Xbox touch controls we’ve worked to create an experience designed specifically for that game on mobile devices."
Specifically on Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, the cloud gaming team has worked with Ninja Theory to further enhance the touch input feature. In combat sections whenever players encounter Northmen, the on-screen controls change to a fighting friendly setup. Also, across all games, controls can be customized so they are placed in a comfortable location on the screen.
Moreover, Microsoft is expanding the Xbox touch controls icon selection beyond just ABXY, offering jump, dodge, and other icons for easy access, especially for those new to gaming.
Microsoft Remote Desktop app for iOS gets updated with fixes and improvements
by Anmol Mehrotra
Microsoft has released a new update for its Remote Desktop app for iOS users. The new update fixes multiple bugs and brings general improvements to the app. Furthermore, the update also addresses some of the compatibility issues with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 as well as brings some minor UI improvements.
Here is the full changelog for the update:
The new update bumps the Microsoft Remote Desktop app to version 10.2.0 and is available for download from the App Store.