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Windows 10 build 21364 is now available with support for Linux GUI apps
by João Carrasqueira
With another Wednesday comes yet another build of Windows 10 for Insiders enrolled in the Dev channel. This time, we're getting build 21364, and just like we've seen for the past couple of weeks, this is coming from the co_release branch.
While that would suggest new features aren't being added as quickly in the immediate future, there's quite a bit packed into this one. For example, you can now run Linux GUI apps through the Windows Subsystem for Linux, instead of being limited to command line interfaces. There are also Task Manager improvements for Microsoft Edge, and more. Here's the full list:
There are also a couple of smaller changes in this build, such as Night Light enabling or disabling immediately when toggled manually:
As usual, you'll also find a long list of fixes in this build, though some other improvements are hidden in Microsoft's list, like support for out-of-process x64 shell extension on ARM64 devices:
Finally, the list of known issues is fairly small this time around and it seems like Microsoft is ironing out a lot of the problems in these builds, maybe because the update should be nearly finalized. Here's what you need to look out for:
As usual, you can download the update from Windows Update manually by checking manually, but it should be installed sooner or later if you're enrolled in the Dev channel. It's still unclear if all these changes will make their way to a full feature update later this year or if plans have changed in light of the reported Windows 10X delays.
KB5001391 Cumulative Update in Windows 10 Release Preview resulting in bugchecks
by João Carrasqueira
Earlier this week, Microsoft rolled out a new cumulative update, labeled as KB5001391, to Windows Insiders in both Beta and Release Preview channels. This brought the News and Interests feature, previously exclusive to the Dev channel, to those users.
However, it seems that the update might be causing some major issues for some users, as they're experience bugchecks resulting in green screens of death (GSOD) - the equivalent of BSOD for Insiders - specifically mentioning a BAD_POOL_CALLER error. The bugcheck apparently happens soon after starting the computer, making PCs essentially unusable. Users have also reported that uninstalling the cumulative update solves the problem.
The issue doesn't appear to be very widespread, as there are only a few reports to be found in the Feedback Hub and on Reddit that we could find. We also haven't experienced any issues on our machines running Windows 10 version 21H1.
Finding some issues with Insider builds is not something that should surprise users, but a system crash like this is probably more than most are ready to handle, especially for users in the Release Preview ring, who probably expect builds that are nearly ready for general availability. If you're interested in checking out News and Interests, you may want to hold off on installing the update.
If you happen to have already installed the update and you're experiencing issues, you can head to Settings -> Update and Security, and click View update history. Then choose Uninstall updates, and find KB5001391, then uninstall it and restart. You may also want to head back into Settings and pause updates for a few days until a fix is made available.
Microsoft is reportedly reviving the Microsoft Store with a new UI and policies
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft is reportedly planning to reinvigorate the Store app on Windows 10 with a new design and policy changes that make the platform more appealing for both end-users and developers. The information comes from Zac Bowden of Windows Central, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Most Windows 10 users, even some die-hard Microsoft fans, can likely recognize that the current Microsoft Store is far from being the centralized hub for installing apps that Microsoft wanted it to be. In fact, Microsoft itself has come up with other tools to install apps on Windows 10 more conveniently, specifically the Windows Package Manager that was released last year. Not only that, but the Xbox division created its own storefront for games, further cementing that navigating the Microsoft Store isn't all that pleasant.
With these purported changes, Microsoft apparently wants to change that. The new Store app will fall in line with the UI changes that are expected as part of the big Sun Valley refresh that's been rumored for some time now. That refresh targets Windows 10 as a whole, and we've seen some glimpses of those changes in Windows 10 Insider preview builds and apps like Alarms & Clock. The new Store app will have new layouts, iconography, and fluid animations.
The latest design for Alarms & Clock on Windows 10 Of course, it's not all about the UI, and Microsoft seemingly wants to change some policies, too, hoping to bring in more apps, which is a weak point for the platform right now. Bowden points to three major policy changes: first, developers will be able to submit unpackaged Win32 apps to the store, meaning both EXE and MSI packages will be supported; second, those apps will be able to manage updates using their own cloud distribution network (CDN), meaning apps with built-in update systems no longer need to use Microsoft's update system; and finally, apps will be able to bypass Microsoft's commerce platform and use their own revenue streams without giving Microsoft a cut of their revenue.
These are all major changes, and they would make the Microsoft Store arguably a better fit for the expectations of users on a PC. In its current form, it's with the Google Play Store and iOS App Store, but one could argue that the expectations for mobile platforms are significantly different from those of a PC. These policies could allow the current Windows app ecosystem to thrive as it always has, simply offering a hub for apps to be easily accessible.
According to the report, Microsoft will be taking the opportunity to bring many of its own apps to the Store since these changes are in place. Apps like Teams, Office, Edge, and Visual Studio are all said to be coming to the Store, signaling that Microsoft actually believes in the ecosystem.
This is all said to be coming in the fall, which is also when we expect the Sun Valley refresh for Windows 10 to show up, and Microsoft could announce these changes at this year's Build, followed by a public preview some time after that. However, the new Store could be brought over to older versions of Windows 10, too.
Microsoft is bringing News and Interests to Windows 10 versions 21H1, 20H2, and 2004
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft is bringing the News and Interests feature that's been in testing in the Dev channel of the Insider program to older versions of Windows 10, including 21H1, 20H2, and 2004 (via Windows Central). The company released new cumulative updates to users in the Beta and Release Preview channels of the Insider program, bringing the feature to versions 21H1 and 20H2 today.
News and Interests has been a big highlight for Microsoft with the Dev channel since December, but it was believed to be part of a future feature update for Windows 10, so it's interesting to see Microsoft bring it to older versions. The fact that it's already rolling out to the Beta and Release preview channels also suggests we could see it being officially available significantly sooner than initially thought.
As to what News and Interests is, it's essentially a taskbar widget that gives you quick access to recent news and other information you may be interested in, like stocks, sports scores, or traffic information about a specific route you may usually take. It also makes it so that you have weather information displayed directly on the taskbar.
The feature is rolling out with builds 19043.962 for users running Windows 10 version 21H1 in the Beta channel or for pre-release validation in the Release Preview channel in commercial environments. For regular users in the Release Preview channel, running version 20H2, they'll see build 19042.962 instead, but they'll get the feature all the same. In fact, the two updates are exactly the same, labeled KB5001391, which makes sense considering they have the same bits. Here's the full changelog for both builds:
Just like version 20H2, Windows 10 version 21H1 is a simple enablement package, meaning they have the exact same bits, but certain features only light up in the newer release. It looks like this one will be coming to all versions based on the same bits, though. You can read our guide to what's new in Windows 10 version 21H1 here.
By Rich Woods
Dell Latitude 7320 review: The ultimate work from home laptop
by Rich Woods
Last summer, I reviewed Dell's Latitude 7310 laptop, and I truly enjoyed it. When Dell offered the newer Latitude 7320, I couldn't resist, despite the fact that little has changed. Indeed, the fact that so little has changed is part of the charm. I just love the form factor of this tiny little PC,
The main thing that has changed, of course, is that it now comes with Intel's 11th-generation processors. The new chips come with Iris Xe graphics, and they're a massive upgrade from 10th-gen, especially for business PCs like this one. It's also a bit thinner, a bit lighter, has a 1080p webcam, and more.
These days, Dell does offer a higher tier, the Latitude 9000 series, but honestly, I like the Latitude 7000 series a bit more, even though it lacks some key features like 5G support (you can get it with 4G though).
CPU Intel Core i7-1185G7 GPU Iris Xe Body 306.5x202.81x16.96mm (12.07x7.98x0.67in), 1.17kg (2.57lbs) Display 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare, Super Low Power, Non-Touch, ComfortView Plus Low Blue Light, WVA, 400 nits, sRGB 100% Memory 16GB LPDDR4 SDRAM (on board) 4266MHz Storage 256GB SSD M.2 2230 PCIe Gen 3 NVMe Input Single Pointing Non-Backlit Keyboard, Spill Resistant
Single Pointing Backlit Keyboard, Spill Resistant
Microsoft Precision Touchpad Ports (2) USB Type C Thunderbolt 4.0 with Power Delivery & DisplayPort
(1) USB 3.2 Gen 1 with Power share
(1) HDMI 2.0
(1) external uSIM card tray (optional)
(1) uSD 4.0 Memory card reader
Battery 4 cell 63 WHr ExpressCharge2.0 Capable Battery & Long Life Cycle capable Webcam 1080p Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 2x2 .11ax 160MHz + Bluetooth 5.1 Material Carbon fiber Color Black carbon fiber weave OS Windows 10 Pro Price $2,149
Dell's Latitude 7000 series comes in a variety of styles. The 7300 series is 13-inch, the 7400 series is 14-inch, and the 7500 series is 15-inch; on top of that, you can choose between the 7320 clamshell like the one I'm reviewing, or the 7320 2-in-1 if you want a convertible. Moreover, there are options between carbon fiber and aluminum.
The clamshell that Dell sent me is carbon fiber, allowing it to weigh in at just 2.57 pounds. The lid has a carbon fiber weave design, something that not a lot of companies are doing, especially in the mainstream space. Lenovo does it for premium, but that's it. It's a nice look, and it's something that's different from the rest of the pack.
What I really love about the Latitude 7320 is just how light and small it is. Being a 13-inch laptop and having small bezels, it has such a small footprint that it's just so easy to carry. When I reviewed the Latitude 7310 last year, I described it as the perfect laptop for around the house. If I had to get work done on the couch, this would be the first machine I'd grab because it just feels so comfortable to carry, and it's a laptop that feels good on a lap.
Being a business laptop, it's also got a solid array of ports, not skimping out on USB Type-A. On the left side, there's a lone Thunderbolt 4 port, which you can use to connect dual 4K monitors, an external GPU, and so on. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack on that side.
Last year's Latitude 7310 supported a single 4K display on each Thunderbolt 3 port, as Dell used the base spec. That means that Thunderbolt 4 is actually a big improvement, offering double the bandwidth.
On the right side, you'll find a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port for 5Gbps speeds, an HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K output, a microSD slot, a SIM slot that's filled with a slug if you get the cellular model, and a second Thunderbolt 4 port.
I really want to commend Dell for putting Thunderbolt 4 ports on each side, and that's actually one thing that did change in the chassis since last year. So few OEMs do it, but it really makes life easier when you can charge your laptop from either side. It's really rare in the Windows world.
Like I said, I really do like the design of this laptop, particularly just the shape and size of it.
Display and audio
The Latitude 7320 has a 13.3-inch 1080p display, and unfortunately, there's no option for 4K resolution. There are four display options, including non-touch options that come in at 250 nits or 400 nits, and two 300-nit touch options, one of which has Dell's SafeScreen privacy display.
Dell sent me the 400-nit non-touch screen, which is pretty good. It's easily bright enough to work from anywhere, which is something that I always appreciate. You should never have to use anything at 100% all of the time in order to be comfortable. You can use this screen at 50% brightness or less without an issue.
While is has narrow side bezels, the top bezel is a bit bigger, and as you can see, there's a lot to unpack there. First and foremost, the webcam is 1080p this time around, and that's super important. We're in an age where working from home is super popular, and while webcam quality wasn't nearly as important a couple of years ago, it's important now. So many companies are still using 720p webcams, so this is another thing I'll commend Dell for.
As you can see, there's also a privacy guard over the camera that you can use if you want to. Of course, that means that a bunch of other stuff won't work, the least of which is the IR camera for facial recognition.
Dell also has a bunch of AI features included, and there are some extra sensors in that are in that top bezel, all of which can be controled in the Dell Optimizer app. Those sensors can tell when you sit in front of the PC or when you walk away. When you sit in front of the PC, it can wake up, and then Windows Hello will light up to know that it's you that sat down, logging you in without you ever touching the PC. And then it can lock your PC when you walk away after a determined amount of time.
This is a security feature if you're working in an office or if you're working in public, but it's also great if you're working from home. When your computer automatically locks a minute after you walk away, you don't have to worry about your little kids messing up your important work. Moreover, you just don't have to think about this stuff.
And then there's audio, as the dual speakers are located under the base as usual. The audio gets louder than I thought it would, which is great for listening to music. But I once again want to focus on working from home, as both the speaker and microphone are great for meetings. I really feel like this is the ultimate work from home PC.
Keyboard and touchpad
While there have been some subtle changes to the rest of the PC, I don't think that the keyboard has changed at all. It's a backlit, Chiclet-style keyboard that you'll find on all of Dell's Latitude laptops, which is fine. Dell's keyboards are good, and in fact, I'd probably say I like the Latitude ones even more than the consumer ones.
The only problem is that they're not the best. This is never the highlight of the review because Lenovo's ThinkPad and HP's Elite laptops simply have better keyboards. Again, this is good, but those are better. Of course, I don't think you'd ever think that this is lacking in any way if you didn't compare the two.
The touchpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, as you'd expect. It's also a bit larger than it was last year, taking advantage of more of the real estate on the keyboard deck. This is always nice to see. I much prefer a larger touchpad to wasted space.
Performance and battery life
The Latitude 7320 that Dell sent me includes a Core i7-1185G7, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Strangely enough, when I went to price it out on Dell.com, there were no configs on there with over 256GB of storage. That's just an interesting fact though; businesses can get PCs through other channels that no doubt have additional customization options.
The performance improvement over the last generation is significant. Here's the long story. Last year, Intel's 10th-gen processors had two families: Ice Lake and Comet Lake. Ice Lake moved to 10nm, but it also included Iris Plus Graphics, a significant improvement over the integrated graphics in previous generations. Comet Lake pretty much existed because Intel couldn't make enough 10nm chips, so it was another 14nm lineup, once again including UHD Graphics.
This year's 11th-gen 'Tiger Lake' is a big step forward. The 10nm process has been refined, but also, these chips come with Iris Xe graphics. While last year's Iris Plus was nearly double the performance as before, this is nearly double the performance of Iris Plus.
Here's where it gets even better. Since Intel was so short on Ice Lake chips, all business PCs came with Comet Lake. The company didn't even make a vPro variant of Ice Lake. So while Tiger Lake is a big improvement on Ice Lake, it's an even bigger improvement over Comet Lake, which is what was in the Latitude 7310.
Intel's U-series processors, now called UP3, have been great at productivity for a long time, but now you can do more creative work on them. There's some actual graphics power here. Photo editing is no problem, nor is FHD video editing. It's a great product.
Battery life on this laptop is phenomenal too. I can easily get over a dozen hours of battery life on here, with the battery slider on one notch above battery saver and the screen on about 25% brightness. Dell has been making some bold battery life claims, and it's nice seeing it deliver.
For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench, and Cinebench.
Core i7-1185G7 Latitude 7310
Core i7-10610U XPS 13
Core i7-1065G7 PCMark 8: Home 4,478 3,639 3,899 PCMark 8: Creative 4,655 3,693 4,253 PCMark 8: Work 4,099 3,845 3,797 PCMark 10 4,743 4,253 4,402 Geekbench 1,540 / 5,181 Cinebench 1,230 / 4,428
As you can see, there's a big improvement over the last generation.
While all of the changes that Dell made on this generation seem small, they're meaningful changes. I love that there are charging ports on either side for convenience, and of course, the FHD webcam is a must in 2021. Seriously, the amount of companies that have ignored that just baffles me.
My biggest complaint is that it doesn't have a 4K option again. This is something that's competing with the EliteBook 800 and ThinkPad T-series of the world, just like the Latitude 9000 should be competing with EliteBook 1000 and ThinkPad X1. A 4K option would be nice.
Of course, that would affect the sweet, sweet battery life that I'm getting from this thing. Seriously, it's wild. It's hard to not look at the Dell Latitude 7320 and call it the ultimate working from home PC, because it checks those boxes. It has the proper webcam, which is a rarity, and it's also light and small. It's easy to work from anywhere in your home, whether that's at a desk or on the couch.
This really is just such a good PC, and this year's improvements are really meaningful. If you want to check it out on Dell.com, you can find it here.