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Microsoft Weekly: More updates, better productivity, and the launch of Flight Simulator
by Florin Bodnarescu
It’s been a rather big week, especially for Flight Simulator enthusiasts, since Microsoft’s latest entry in the series was officially made available. Furthermore, updates to Windows 10 and Edge popped up too, as did some Office enhancements. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of August 15 - 21.
As is often the case, Microsoft can’t quite stop itself from updating Windows 10, so folks running versions 1809, 1903, and 1909 have received a bunch of mid-stream updates this week. One of the more important aspects of this wave of updates is the backporting of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) to versions 1903 and 1909, a feature previously exclusive to the May 2020 Update (version 2004). Either way, here’s what you need to look out for if you’re running any of the three versions mentioned previously:
May 2019 Update/November 2019 Update (1903/1909): KB4566116, builds 18362.1049 (1903)/18363.1049 (1909) – contains updates for the issue which caused the HDD to fill up in certain error situations, updates time zone info for Yukon, Canada, fixes error 15612 with Microsoft Gaming Services, and more. Luckily, there are no known issues. October 2018 Update (1809): KB4571748, build 17763.1432 – pretty much identical changelog to the versions above, with the exception of the fix for the HDD filling up and the Microsoft Gaming Services bug. Known issue: After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive the error “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”; After installing KB4550969 or later, when using Edge Legacy, you might receive the error “0x800704006. Hmmmm…can’t reach this page” when attempting to reach websites on non-standard ports. Any website that uses a port listed in the Fetch Standard specification under bad ports or port blocking might cause this issue. There was some activity in the Insider Program too, with Microsoft stating that Windows 10 20H2 is ready for commercial testing, which suggests ISOs may arrive soon.
As far as the other Insider channel is concerned, testers got to play with build 20197 of the vNext branch, which brought a very early (and very rough) Disk Management capability to the Settings app. There’s naturally a very long list of fixes to go with the arrival of the build, including fixes for issues with ALT+Tabbing to a browser tab or bugchecks citing a hyperguard violation. Quite a few known issues remain.
There is however some good news for those eager to grab the May 2020 Update, as more blocks have been lifted, which should allow many more people to finally install version 2004. In even more good news, Microsoft has just fixed a security flaw first reported in 2018.
Folks using Microsoft's various productivity apps, in other words the Office suite, and Office-adjacent offerings like Teams, have gotten some updates to play with this week, too.
First and foremost, the suggested replies feature for Outlook on the web has gotten a suggested attachments option, which does exactly what it says on the tin. These are suggested files that the service pulls from OneDrive, and it chooses what to recommend based on the content of the email.
Staying on the web but switching apps, we arrive at Excel, which now has Workbook Link support. This allows users to paste direct links to data from other workbooks, just like the native applications, but without needing to fall back to them.
Last but not least is Teams, which now has 3x3 grid view support for iPads, and allows you to customize the sidebar by choosing which apps you’d prefer to have pinned. You can search for apps you want to pin, and you can also pin apps beside the formatting options for your messages.
The launch of Flight Simulator
We couldn’t have ended the week without taking some time to acknowledge the launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator, sans a number. This is the first entry in the series in nearly a decade and a half – not counting the ill-received and rather lackluster 2012 Microsoft Flight game -, so it’s cause for celebration.
Arriving from French dev Asobo Studio, and published by Xbox Game Studios, Flight Simulator seeks to be, much like Halo Infinite, a platform of sorts, with content constantly added throughout its lifespan. The sim debuted on August 18, but did have some known issues and download problems. Despite this, the game managed to hit a very respectable 92 rating on Metacritic, with much of the praise directed towards its incredible visuals and array of gameplay settings and tweaks.
Following the release, the first public SDK was made available, as was a new Partnership Series update – highlighting Bing Maps -, as well as the first episode of the Around the World Tour series.
As this is published by Microsoft, it’s of course available via Game Pass (though only in its Standard flavor), along with Spiritfarer, Battletoads, Darksiders: Genesis, Crossing Souls, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, and New Super Lucky’s Tale, on PC. Also on PC, coming August 27 is Tell Me Why: Chapter One and Hypnospace Outlaw, followed by Wasteland 3 and Double Kick Heroes on August 28, Crusader Kings III on September 1, and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard on September 3.
Switching to the console subscription, Spritfarer, Battletoads, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, and New Super Lucky’s Tale can be played now, with Tell Me Why: Chapter One, Hypnospace Outlaw, Wasteland 3, Double Kick Heroes, and Resident Evil 7 Biohazard dropping on the same days as their PC counterparts.
It's worth highlighting the games leaving the subscription too. On both Xbox and PC, you’ll say goodbye to Creature in the Well on August 31, while Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Director’s Cut, Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 HD, Metro: Last Light Redux, and The Jackbox Party Pack 3 will also be leaving the console subscription on the same day.
On September 1, NBA 2K20 will leave the console subscription, as will Red Dead Redemption 2, but the latter will do so on September 7.
In more first-party news, Sea of Thieves now has a new summer update focusing on live events, Halo 3: ODST Insider testing has gone live across PC and Xbox One, and Minecraft now has a new Jurassic World DLC.
Flipping over to services, Microsoft has shown off the new software experience for the Xbox Series X, which will also translate across phones, PC, and the Xbox One, while also reportedly gearing up to add multi-device login support to Xbox Live.
Lastly, it’s probably prudent to mention that the Monster Energy and Halo Infinite promo that’s set to start September 1 may have leaked the price of the Series X. There are 200 first prizes awarded, at $599.99 each. That includes both the Series X and a copy of Halo Infinite, and by subtracting the $59.99 for the game, we arrive at $540. That said, it’s unlikely Microsoft will settle for this as the final price, since it’s a bit of a random number.
Microsoft shares more details about the Surface Duo’s camera app and features. A benchmark for the Duo has been spotted, showing the device slightly outperforms other Snapdragon 855 devices. This Windows 10 setup script lets you fine-tune around 150 functions for new installs. Panos Panay is now a member of the Sonos board of directors. The SwiftKey Beta on Android now has a cursor for navigating text. Remote Desktop Mobile on iOS now has new features and bug fixes. Trove, a Microsoft Garage app, has begun its fourth sweepstakes round after its recent launch. Logging off
As has been the case for a couple of weeks before, we’re ending the column with a bit of news regarding Edge, while also throwing in some IE-related developments for good measure.
For one, folks in the Edge Dev channel should by now be familiar with this week’s build, namely 86.0.608.2, which adds improved dark mode support for default form controls like dropdown menus and calendars (in the webpages that use them). Naturally, custom form controls will not be affected.
On the Canary side, you’re now able to sort your Collections in alphabetical order, or by date, if you so prefer. Collections, for those not familiar, are essentially repositories for links, notes, lists, images, and whatever else you find relevant to well, collect from the web. Exporting to Word, Excel, and even OneNote is also possible.
Last but not least, we should touch upon the faith of the old version of Edge, as well as Internet Explorer 11. Support for UWP Edge, Spartan Edge, regular Edge, or as Microsoft calls it, Legacy Edge, will cease on March 9, 2021. By that point, everybody should have Chromium Edge, as it’s set to ship with Windows 10 20H2 later this year.
Also later this year, namely on November 30, web-based Office services like Teams will stop supporting IE11. The rest of Microsoft 365 is set to stop supporting the browser altogether on August 17, 2021. The presence of IE Mode in the new Edge browser is likely why Microsoft has decided to just drop support for IE entirely.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
By Usama Jawad96
New CSS-based vulnerability crashes iPhone, freezes Microsoft Edge, Safari, and IE
by Usama Jawad
iPhones crashing when rendering specific text and opening links isn't anything new, however, the issue is a bit more severe if the problematic content in question isn't malicious in any other way and affects more than one class of devices. Recently, a CSS-based web attack has been discovered which crashes iPhones and causes web browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari to crash when a webpage hosting the specific CSS code format is rendered.
Security researcher Sabri Haddouche has posted a proof-of-concept webpage that affects a myriad of software on various devices. The webpage in question contains only 15 lines of code and you can check out the webpage here at your own risk.
Haddouche's research mentions that the problem affects browsers utilizing Apple's web rendering engine WebKit, which has difficulty loading multiple elements in a backdrop filter property in CSS. Loading the webpage uses up all of the device's resources, which causes a device restart due to kernel panic.
A bit of sleuthing from Neowin has also revealed that the problem doesn't only affect WebKit browsers, but also results in temporary freezing on Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11. The following error message can be seen on Microsoft Edge after a few seconds:
Interestingly, the problematic CSS code does not affect Google Chrome, which instantly loads the page without a hitch. Furthermore, it is important to note that the issue only leaves your device vulnerable to crashing or freezing, and does not result in the loss of sensitive data. We have reached out to Microsoft and Apple regarding the bug and will update if the companies respond.
Have you tested Haddouche's webpage in any other browser? If so, does it also crash? Let us know in the comments section below!
By Alley Cat
I meet the system requirements for "Sea of Thieves" on my custom built gaming desktop. My video card has DX 11, listed as a requirement for the game.
But I want to continue using Windows 7, I had nothing but a crap experience with Win 8.1 then 10, on my laptop. I really hate Win 10.
Why wouldn't it be possible to run SoT on my desktop?
Can I fool an installer than I am running Win 10 ?
Windows Longhorn Revival Project
About The Project
The Windows Longhorn Revival Project is a project to bring the Longhorn Hillel/Aero/Protoplex Concepts to life. Almost every app including the sidebar, Start menu, Explorer, and the Internet Explorer will be developed in WPF.
Finish up the Internet Explorer Start on the explorer Find resources(Images/buttons/etc) for the apps Port it to other versions of Windows (Windows 8-10 it should work on vista also I think)
Internet explorer: 40%
Start Menu: 0%
If you guys want to help me find some of the resources or help me with the Apps just let me know because doing this all by myself is fun and all but it would be helpful if people would help me with this projects.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft Edge and IE11 to block websites using SHA-1 certificates next year
by Usama Jawad
SHA-1 is a hashing algorithm that has been used extensively since it was published in 1995, however, it is no longer considered secure. It was deemed vulnerable to attacks from well-funded adversaries back in 2005 and was replaced by SHA-2 and SHA-3 which are considerably more secure hashing functions. Many companies including Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft have already announced that they'll stop accepting SHA-1 TLS certificates by 2017.
Now, Microsoft has detailed how numerous websites, users, and third-party applications will be affected once the company deprecates SHA-1 signed certificates starting February 14, 2017.
Microsoft states that in an effort to further enhance security features on Edge and Internet Explorer 11, the two browsers will prevent sites using SHA-1 signed certificates from loading and will display an "invalid certificate" warning. While it isn't recommended, users will have the option to bypass the warning and access the potentially vulnerable website. The company has clarified that this will only impact websites with SHA-1 signed certificates that link to a Microsoft Trusted Root CA, while manually installed enterprise or self-signed SHA-1 certificates will remain unaffected.
The Redmond giant states that developers who have installed the latest 2016 November Windows updates can test if their websites will be affected by the change. The detailed procedure can be viewed in the company's blog post here.
Microsoft has clarified that third-party Windows applications utilizing the Windows cryptographic API set or older versions of Internet Explorer will not be affected by the changes. Similarly, the update will not prevent clients from using the SHA-1 certificate in client authentication.
Regarding cross-signed certificates, Microsoft has explicitly confirmed that Windows will only check if the thumbprint of the root certificate is in the Microsoft Trusted Root Certified Program. The company has clarified that certificates "cross-signed with a Microsoft Trusted Root that chains to an enterprise/self-signed root" will not be affected by the changes next year.