Windows Technical Preview
1,031 members have voted
1. On a scale of 1-5, 1 being worst, 5 being best. What do you think of Windows 10 from the leaks so far?
5.Great, best OS ever156
4. Pretty Good, needs a lot of minor tweaks409
3. OK, Needs a few major improvements, some minor ones168
2. Fine, Needs a lot of major improvements79
1.Poor, Needs too many improvements, all hope is lost, never going to use it41
2. Based on the recent leaks by Neowin and Winfuture.de, my next OS upgrade will be?
Sticking with XP3
Sticking with OSX Mavericks3
3. Should Microsoft give away Windows 10 for free?
Yes for Windows 8.1 Users305
Yes for Windows 7 and above users227
Yes for Vista and above users31
Yes for XP and above users27
Yes for all Windows users192
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Office LTSC and Office 2021 for Mac are now available for commercial preview
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft has announced that the next "perpetual" version of Office, called Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) for Windows and Office 2021 for Mac, is now available for commercial preview. Microsoft announced the next version of the perpetual license version of Office back in February and promised a commercial preview in April, so things are lining up well.
The Office LTSC releases are different from Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365), because they require a one-time purchase, but that also means they never get any new features until the next perpetual license release. Additionally, you get five years of mainstream support, but after that, it's over, while Microsoft 365 subscribers get continuous support and new features added as long as their subscription is active.
Office LTSC/2021 will add some features that have been showing up in Office 365 over the past couple of years, though a full list isn't finalized. Microsoft has already revealed some highlights, though, like support for Dynamic Arrays and the new XLOOKUP function in Excel, Line Focus in Word, and the ability to record a slideshow with narration in PowerPoint.
Another major change from previous releases is that the next Office LTSC version will ship with Teams as part of the installed features, rather than Skype for Business, but Teams is treated differently than other Office apps. Unlike the others, it will continue to get updates continuously over time, but you also only get access to the free version of Teams, since the premium version is licensed separately. You can learn more about managing the free version of Teams here.
If you're interested in trying out the latest release, you can follow the instructions on this page to install the preview.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft will soon begin throttling Exchange mailboxes
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft's proprietary email hosting service Exchange Online - typically utilized by Outlook - has had an upper limit for emails received by "hot recipients" for quite some time. This term encompasses users who receive over 3,600 messages in their mailbox per hour. So far, this has been a soft-limit that Microsoft has not really enforced, but starting from April, this situation will change.
Microsoft has stated that in order to optimize email flow across mailboxes and to ensure capacity across the Exchange services, it will begin enforcing its existing limit of being able to receive 3,600 messages per hour. The company says that when tenants and mailboxes go beyond this limit, services for other customers are disrupted as well, causing delays in emails being received due to network resources being utilized by "hot recipients".
The Redmond tech giant says that once it begins to throttle tenants, emails sent to full mailboxes will receive a non-delivery report. The threshold will be automatically reset every hour. According to the dedicated webpage, this limit applies to all of the following subscriptions:
Microsoft 365 Business Basic Microsoft 365 Business Standard Office Office 365 Enterprise E1 Office 365 Enterprise E3 Office 365 Enterprise E5 Office 365 Enterprise F3 As Microsoft begins to enforce this limit starting in April 2021, it has encouraged admins to keep an eye on activity across mailboxes. The firm will start with a higher threshold and keep lowering it incrementally until it reaches the official limit of 3,600 messages per hour so organizations have time to adapt to the change.
Admins will also receive new insights and reports about the process in the Exchange Admin Center, allowing them to track mailboxes going over the threshold. Microsoft does not expect a significant number of mailboxes to be affected by this change.
Microsoft announces more Azure tools and infrastructure improvements at Inspire
by Florin Bodnarescu
Today during its Inspire digital event, Microsoft unveiled a slew of news about not only Dynamics 365, the Power Platform, and Teams, but also infrastructure and tools enhancements for its cloud platform. For easier browsing, we’ll separate the news in this post by availability, rather than by the specific type of Azure service offered.
Solutions now generally available
To begin with, it’s worth highlighting the fact that a number of updates to networking and Azure Migrate have now reached the GA phase. Among them are advanced specializations, training, and PowerShell support for Azure Migrate, as well as the ability to import and create assessments via uploaded Configuration Management Database data inside the same offering.
Although already unveiled a few days ago, Azure shared disks and Disk Storage have now been made generally available, along with some improvements to Azure Private Link, the extension of single-instance VM SLA to all disk types, support for and much more.
Also GA is Microsoft’s supported distribution of Apache Hadoop, which is fully open source and compatible with the latest version of Hadoop. Thanks to this new version, you’ll be able to provision a new HDInsight cluster based on Apache code built and fully supported by the Redmond giant. Existing customers will be migrated automatically to this new supported distribution.
Rounding off this section is HashiCorp, whose HasiCorp Consul Service (HCS) on Azure is set to be made available via the Azure Marketplace on July 23 in multiple regions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. It’s been in private beta since September of 2019.
This particular service allows folks to provision HashiCorp-managed Consul clusters directly via the Azure dashboard. Service discovery, segmentation and mesh across VMs, hybrid, on-premises, and Kubernetes environments is also possible, with operational burden being placed on HashiCorp’s experts rather than the customer.
Solutions available in preview
By far the biggest announcement from Inspire in regards to available previews is the next-generation of Azure Stack HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure).
Being an Azure service, it allows users to manage Stack HCI and other Azure resources side-by-side from the Azure portal, as well as view and manage VMs running on Stack HCI via Azure Arc, a service announced during Ignite 2019 and enhanced earlier this year during Build. Needless to say, the deep integration with other services from Microsoft’s cloud like Backup, Security Center, and Azure Monitor further enhance this offering. According to Microsoft, due to its “flexible per core subscription model”, the savings are rather noticeable:
Azure Stack HCI includes Extended Security Updates for Server 2008 VMs running on it at no additional cost, as well as new features like Stretch Cluster which gives “native high-availability and disaster recovery” to extend clusters from a single site to multiple ones with ease.
Beyond the service itself, which can be used across various environments, there’s also an integrated systems option available to purchase from various partners, among which Intel and Lenovo – who’s bringing Azure Stack HCI to the ThinkAgile MX1021 edge server platform, to name but one. Azure Stack HCI can be run on existing hardware as well, if it matches Microsoft’s validated node solution.
Staying on the subject of cloud services, last access for Blob Storage is now in public preview, enabling folks to see how often and when the data is accessed. On a related note, Blob Storage now supports Network File System (NFS) 3.0 for read-heavy data workloads, also in public preview.
For the aforementioned Azure Migrate, VMware Solutions assessments and app compatibility support is now in public preview as well.
Last but not least, there’s a preview of Azure Data Factory Managed Virtual Network (VNet) support, which allows users to secure the connection between Data Factory and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) data stores in Azure. This is done through a private connection via Azure Private Link.
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft unveils Flight Simulator Feature Discovery Series, updates development roadmap
by Hamza Jawad
Microsoft has been providing regular updates in regards to its returning Flight Simulator series. A couple of weeks back, Tech Alpha recruitment opened for the series' upcoming title, Microsoft Flight Simulator. And then, last week, the Redmond firm unveiled the release schedule for this testing phase.
Now, Microsoft has released a preview for episode one of the game's Feature Discovery series. For those unaware, this series is centered around the exploration of some of Flight Simulator's features in much greater detail.
As far as the first episode goes, the world that will be offered to players has been discussed. Moving on, the focus will shift towards weather, aerodynamics, and cockpits, in each of the upcoming episodes, respectively. Notably, this preview is only being shown to Insiders, so you'll need to sign up for it if you are interested in learning more about the aforementioned aspects of the title.
Aside from the availability of more details regarding this series, Microsoft has also revealed an updated development roadmap, giving fans a taste of what is in store for the next few weeks. As can be observed above, the Feature Discovery Series will fully kick off on October 10. This is also when phase two for the Tech Alpha seems to be beginning, along with the release of its timeline.
Then, a week later, there is going to be a development roadmap update, much as this one, that previews the schedule for the following couple of months. And finally, on October 25, a new partner feature series will be initiated, along with the launch of the Feedback Pipeline. There will also be some updates for the Insider Program, though not much is known regarding these as of yet.
Notably, an overview of the aforementioned Feedback Pipeline has been pushed to early October, which Microsoft believes will help provide more detail to the deliverable. Stay tuned for more updates on the upcoming title in the next few weeks.
By Hamza Jawad
Revamped look for Power BI Mobile is now available
by Hamza Jawad
Microsoft's recent improvements to Power BI include URL parameters for paginated reports, changes to summarized data export behavior, and new settings to tackle issues related to capacity. The desktop version of the data analytics service also received a host of improvements last month.
Today, the public preview of a new look for Power BI Mobile has been made available. This is primarily intended to make interaction with content quicker and easier for customers on the go. For this reason, a new home page, new navigation bars, and the ability to set your home page theme based upon your organization's branding have been introduced.
Detailing a bit upon each of these, organization branding on the home page now appears in the same way that it does on the desktop version of the service. In other words, custom branding, as defined by Power BI admins in the service, will automatically show up in the mobile app as well.
Furthermore, the home page will provide two tabs - namely, 'Quick Access' and 'Activity'. For now, only the former will be displayed, showcasing your most commonly used items, along with metadata for the associated content. This section will be further sub-divided into two sections, 'Frequents' and 'Recents', with items ordered by most viewed and most recently viewed respectively. With regards to the Activity tab, a feed of events will help users stay up to date on latest happenings relevant to them. More details on this feature will be shared when it is released.
Finally, in-app navigation has been revamped, making it easier to explore the app. More specifically, the "Hamburger" menu in the top-left corner is being replaced with a navigation bar at the bottom, helping efficiently switch between pages. Meanwhile, the top bar will now host a notification and a search icon, with app settings and other features available by clicking on user avatar. Some of the new navigation capabilities can be viewed in the gif below.
If you're interested in trying out the new look, you can opt-in through the introduction banner displayed when you open the app. Alternatively, you can also get the new features by joining the preview through the side panel or in-app settings. Since the new look is currently in preview, Microsoft may add new capabilities or adjust the existing ones based upon your feedback.
You can vote on new feature ideas here, and discuss them on the Power BI Mobile forum as well. If you do not currently have the app on your device, you can download the latest version from the App Store for iOS or Play Store for Android devices.