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ThisIsWin11 adds support for Windows 11 build 22000.348, System Restore, and more
by Sayan Sen
ThisIsWin11 (TIW11) version 0.93.0 was released by developer builtbybel earlier today on GitHub. This third-party tool allows for more Windows 11 customization and the maker even touts the app as "The real PowerToys for Windows 11".
The new update brings support for Windows 11 build 22000.348, adds a "Create Restore Points" option, and more. Here's the full changelog:
If you're wondering what OpenTweaks is, it's one of the six modules that TIW11 currently offers.
While we are on that topic, here's what the other five modules (image below) are:
If you are interested, you can download it from ThisIsWin11's GitHub page linked here.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft should include more information about patches in Windows Update
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft frequently updates multiple versions of Windows, be it through its regular Patch Tuesday updates that happen at the second Tuesday of every month, or optional updates, or even out-of-band fixes. While many people are annoyed by continual updates as they sometimes interrupt their workflow, they are arguably necessary in most cases due to the security holes they plug and the software issues they fix.
Although I personally have no complaints about the frequency of the updates themselves, I do have some concerns about the lack of information and context that Microsoft provides through its built-in Windows Update setting. Case in point is above where I have a bunch of updates pending on my Windows 11 machine but I can't directly find out what exactly they update or fix. You'll have a similar user experience in Windows 10 as well.
You can see in the screenshot that I have two KB updates that I can install, but Microsoft provides me no context about what they fix or update. And that's not due to lack of documentation, you can actually head over to dedicated pages where Microsoft provides more information about each patch.
In fact, Microsoft also provides a "Learn more" hyperlink to each dedicated webpage in its Update history setting (screenshot above). The problem is that this page gets populated with information after you install an update, not prior. This means that until you install an update, Windows doesn't directly provide you more details about what a patch contains unless you copy-paste some identification to a web browser and manually search for it yourself.
I fully understand that this is probably not a highly requested feature by the average user, but given its importance, I feel like Microsoft needs to integrate information about patches into Windows Update in a better way. This is also important because not every update is bug-free, quite a few bring along with them issues of their own, so Microsoft should offer these details to consumers directly in Windows before they go on with installing the updates. This will also enable customers to consider workarounds for any issues and weigh their options before they blindly install an update.
I'm not asking for this additional context to be displayed at all times, that would be an information overload and not a good user experience for your average consumer, but Microsoft should consider nesting these details below a drop-down for each update, or at the very least, provide a "Learn more" hyperlink before you install an update.
Right now, most consumers are dependent on media outlets like Neowin to report on all the changes present in each update and while Microsoft does provide dedicated webpages with more context, offering this information directly to its customers should ideally be the Redmond tech firm's responsibility first. I have talked in detail about how Microsoft has been improving the Windows Update process with Windows 11, and I would really appreciate it if the company could enhance this further for tech-savvy users with the aforementioned changes.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft enhancing Windows Update with more information about each update, that can be optionally viewed before installing a patch? Let us know in the comments section below!
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft Weekly: Defender for the win, trouble with Nextcloud, and ARM exclusivity
by Usama Jawad
As we approach the end of the week, now is the time to catch up on all the Microsoft news you may missed in the past few days. Although it's been a relatively slow week due to the holidays in the United States, there are still significant news stories you might want to read up on. Let's dive into our weekly digest for the week of November 21 - November 26.
Microsoft Defender for the win
German IT Security research institute AV-TEST released its ratings for the best anti-virus software for Windows 10 Home users, ranking them based on metrics like performance, usability, and protection. Microsoft Defender secured all 18 of the available points to join the ranks of other solutions such as Avira, AVAST, AVG, Bitdefender, ESET, and received the "AV-TEST TOP PRODUCT" certification. You can check out more details about the results here.
In related news, a bunch of anti-virus solutions including Microsoft Defender have started flagging UserBenchmark, a freeware benchmarking tool as malware. It's not exactly clear yet whether this is a false positive or something else, but do keep an eye out in case you utilize it.
While we are on this topic, Microsoft is receiving backlash from the security community for apparently lowering its bug bounty rewards, even for high criticality issues. In some cases, this has led to security researchers publicly exposing zero-days out of sheer frustration. This is definitely something that the Redmond tech giant will want to keep an eye out considering public exposure without coordination with the software vendor can cause problems for potentially millions of users.
Trouble with Nextcloud in the EU
Microsoft seems to have found itself in a bit of bother at the European Union (EU). This is due to a Nextcloud-led coalition that has filed a complaint against the Redmond tech firm for anti-competitive behavior. Other notable members of the coalition include Tutanota, OnlyOffice, Free Software Foundation Europe, The Document Foundation, and European Digital SME Alliance.
Together, these parties claim that Microsoft is bundling its 365 services such as OneDrive and Teams natively into Windows and is shipping the OS with them installed by default. According to the group, this pushes users to Microsoft's bundled software rather than third-party alternatives. As of now, the challenging party's demands include Microsoft unbundling its software from Windows and adopting open standards that makes it easier for users to switch software. The issue is still evolving so do keep an eye out on our coverage.
In related news, the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has announced that it is shifting 25,000 government machines running Windows to open-source alternatives like Linux by the end of 2026. This will be a multi-step process initially involving migrating to LibreOffice from Microsoft Office, and then switching to Linux entirely. One of the reasons being cited for this massive transition is licensing costs. It is important to note that Munich city attempted the same a few years ago but the experiment eventually failed, with the government going back to Windows in 2015.
ARM exclusivity and Windows updates
If you were wondering why Qualcomm is the only company making chipsets for Windows on ARM PCs, wonder no further. It appears that Microsoft has an exclusivity deal in place regarding Windows on ARM with Qualcomm, which is why we have not seen hardware from other competing firms yet. That said, it has been reported that this deal is set to expire soon and MediaTek has already shown interest in developing processors for the Windows SKU.
In other news, it's been a relatively quiet week in the world of Windows updates too, mostly due to the aforementioned holidays in the U.S. Windows 10 did receive an optional KB5007253 update that fixes a bunch of issues related to remote printers, a 32-bit Excel bug, and more. Meanwhile, Windows 11 also received an optional 22000.348 November Update release. The most notable front-facing change here is the inclusion of new Fluent 2D emoji and a bunch of other behind-the-scenes updates that you can check out here.
We also heard back from the creator of APK sideloading app WSATools, who shared that his app was removed from the Microsoft Store for Windows 11 because it did not clearly note the requirements and it also contains the name "WSA" which is seemingly an official branding that Microsoft is using for Windows Subsystem on Android. You can check out more details on this topic here.
Microsoft Flight Simulator players can now buy the PMDG DC-6 Microsoft has announced plans to create a new datacenter region in Belgium A virtual machine running an evaluation copy of Windows 11 Enterprise can now be downloaded by developers, courtesy of Microsoft Some Halo Infinite cutscenes have leaked online (spoilers alert), so do browse safely Under the spotlight
After talking about the top five features I love about Windows 11 the week before, this time I went in the opposite direction and discussed the five features I absolutely hate. That said, it is important to note that both the lists are based completely on personal preferences and user experience. So if there's nothing that you hate about Windows 11 or nothing that you love about it, that's fine too!
I also wrote a brief guide about how to enable Super Duper Secure Mode (SDSM) in Microsoft Edge that will offer you enhanced security at the cost of potentially and slightly degraded performance. If that sounds fine to you, do give it a read here.
Image via Mr. Tempter | Shutterstock This week's most interesting news item isn't related to Microsoft but it's still worth noting in our weekly catchup. Russia has demanded 13 foreign tech companies - mostly belonging to the U.S. - to open offices on its soil by the end of this year. Right now, these demands are being enforced upon social media and tech firms that average more than half a million daily users and includes Google, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Apple, Zoom, Spotify, Viber, and others. The Kremlin has warned that companies that do not comply with its legislation may face data collection, money transfer limitations, and bans within Russia.
If you’d like to get a daily digest of news from Neowin, we have a Newsletter you can sign up to either via the ‘Get our newsletter’ widget in the sidebar, or through this link.
Missed any of the previous columns? Check them all out at this link.
Nextcloud-led coalition complains to the EU about Microsoft stifling competition
by Paul Hill
The cloud storage company, Nextcloud, is leading a coalition against Microsoft in the European Union over what it claims to be anti-competitive behaviour. To back up its claims, it has assembled a coalition of organisations who would also benefit from the action including Tutanota, OnlyOffice, Free Software Foundation Europe, The Document Foundation, European Digital SME Alliance, and many, many more.
According to the coalition, Microsoft is more deeply integrating its 365 services into Windows, for example, OneDrive and Teams ship by default and pushes people to use them. The coalition believes that actions like this make it impossible for them and other smaller firms to compete so it wants the EU to do something about it. Over the years, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon have grown their European market share to 66% while local providers declined from 26% to 16%.
The coalition has two demands for the EU, it wants Microsoft to be prevented from bundling, pre-installing, or pushing Microsoft services so others can compete on platforms like Windows and it wants more open standards so that users can seamlessly switch between software solutions rather than being forced to pick, for example, Microsoft Office.
To help its argument, the coalition commented on how the situation today is similar to the 1990s when Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer with Windows to compete against Netscape and also accused other tech firms, like Google and Amazon, of doing the same thing.
The European Union does come down quite hard on big tech from time to time, however, it’s unclear what will happen in this situation. If Microsoft, Google, and others were disallowed from bundling their software in their operating systems, that would be one of the biggest changes we’re ever likely to see.
Ultimate Windows Tweaker 5.0
by Razvan Serea
Ultimate Windows Tweaker is a freeware Tweak UI Utility for tweaking and optimizing Windows 11. This tweaker is just around 219 KB in size and includes over 200 tweaks. Like its predecessors, UWT 5 sports the familiar, clean, minimalistic UI, offering links in the left panel, and tabs on the top, in some categories. Hover over any tweak, and helpful tooltips will tell you what the tweak does. While you may be able to access all these via the Windows 11 Settings app, the Registry Editor or the Group Policy Editor, Ultimate Windows Tweaker makes things easier for you by offering all useful tweaks from its single UI.
List of Tweaks in Ultimate Windows Tweaker 5
All the tweaks have been neatly categorized as follows:
System Information: When you open UWT5 you will get to see some basic information about your system like Operating system version, Build, System Type, Processor, Installed RAM, Computer name, User name, and the WEI Score, etc. You also have buttons to open Recovery Options, run DISM, run the System File Checker or create a System Restore Point. Customization: Under this category, you will be able to tweak the settings of your Taskbar, Thumbnails, File Explorer, and the Modern UI. You can opt to use a Light or Dark theme for OS or apps, disable Start animations, use default or change Battery Date & Time flyouts or change the Volume Control, show or hide Frequent folders or Recent files, etc. User Accounts: Under the User Accounts tab, you will be able to change your User Account settings, Logon information, and sign-in options. You can also change the User Account Control settings here. Performance tweaks: The Performance tab offers tweaks to optimize Windows 10 to best suit your requirements. While most of these settings are best left at their default values, this panel gives you quick access to change them, should you wish to. Security tweaks: Harden your Windows 11 security by changing some settings. If you want to restrict access to some Control Panel applets like Windows Updates you can do so easily. You can change Windows Privacy settings and disable Telemetry, Biometrics, Advertising ID, Bing search, Cortana, Windows Update sharing, Feedback requests, Password Reveal button, Steps Recorder, Inventory Collector, disable Wi-Fi Sense and Application Telemetry. Browser: Tweak your Microsoft Edge when you open this section. Context Menu tweaks: Add Windows Store apps, features, and useful functions to the right-click context menu. Add Scan with Windows Defender, Clear Clipboard, all built-in default Windows Store apps, and more to the context menu. Additional system tweaks: Under this category, you will see some additional system and Network tweaks. You can also set UWT to behave the way you want it to. By default, when you apply a tweak and click Apply, UWT5 will automatically restart explorer.exe to apply the tweak. Change its behavior if you wish. Search Bar: Ultimate Windows Tweaker 5 includes a Search Bar. Bow you can easily search for tweaks, and then double-click on the search result to go to it directly. About tab: Here apart from the License Agreement, you will see some useful links. If you need to submit bugs, visit the About page and use the Submit Bugs link. If you need support, you can use the Support link. Clicking on the Check for Update button will inform you if any updates are available. You can then visit the homepage to download the latest version. What's new in Ultimate Windows Tweaker for Windows 11:
A new tab has been added for Windows 11 Option to control Taskbar size Add option to revert to Ribbon UI in File Explorer Option to restore Windows 10 styled context menu Tweak to customize Taskbar Content Alignment Option to remove Open In Windows Terminal option from Desktop Context Menu Option to hide the recommended list from Start Menu Option to enable classic Alt+Tab Menu Option to disable Transparency effects throughout Windows 11 Option to enable accent color for Start menu and taskbar. Several privacy tweaks are there under the Privacy section. Many tweaks in Context Menu for Store Apps to support Windows 11. It calculates Windows Experience Index from the main page. Click on Run assessment to recalculate the WEI. You can Run DISM and SFC command to fix corrupted system image or files with a click Refreshed design with command link buttons The Internet Explorer section has been removed Hover over a tweak, and get the description at the bottom of the tweaker. Download: Ultimate Windows Tweaker 5.0 | 219 KB (Freeware)
View: Ultimate Windows Tweaker Homepage | Screenshots
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