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Microsoft Weekly: No more Windows 10X, joint E3 conferences, and better vertical tabs
by Florin Bodnarescu
A confirmation of Windows 10X’s demise, a better vertical tab experience in Edge, and an unsurprising announcement of a joint Xbox – Bethesda E3 event. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of May 16 - 22.
No more Windows 10X
If you were expecting the arrival of Courier v2 (aka Surface Neo) and its companion OS, Windows 10X, sometime this century, that won’t be happening anymore.
Microsoft has officially announced that Windows 10X is for all intents and purposes dead, but that some of its features will live on in Windows 10 proper. Among those, improvements in the voice typing experience, an enhanced touch keyboard, and much more.
What did however make it to market was the May 2021 Update, now available to everyone. It adds some Windows Defender Application Guard performance improvements, as well as enhancements to Windows Hello for systems with multiple cameras that are face-recognition capable. In other words, not much to write home about.
As was the case with previous updates, some features have been deprecated or outright removed. For example, the XDDM-based remote display driver and the legacy version of Edge have been stripped out, with the Windows Management Instrumentation Command line (WMIC) tool and personalization roaming now showing up as deprecated. What this means for the latter two is that Microsoft is no longer developing them and will most likely remove these in a future update.
Staying a little longer on the subject of updates, folks on 1909 may experience problems logging into Microsoft 365 apps following the installation KB5003169. A suggested fix for now is simply to restart the system, and if that doesn’t do the trick, the firm suggests that the web-based variants or clients on other operating systems be used, as those are not affected by the bug.
Flipping over to exploits, one was released, targeting a flaw in the Windows 10 HTTP protocol - CVE-2021-31166. Luckily, this has been fixed with KB5003173 as part of the May 2021 Patch Tuesday set of updates.
Insiders got some updates too, namely build 21382.1000 which landed in the Dev channel to test the servicing pipeline, followed by build 21387, which retires the IE11 desktop app and temporarily shuts down ‘Eco mode’ in Task Manager.
For insiders across the Release Preview and Beta channels, Microsoft also released builds 19042.1023 and 19043.1023 with an impressive list of fixes. What needs to be highlighted here is that those on 2004, 20H2, and 21H1 will all receive these same exact fixes when the Redmond firm rolls out the next set of cumulative updates, seeing as they share the same bits.
And speaking of bits, a rather sought-after bit of news by ARM enthusiasts and, in particular, Surface Pro X owners, is the announcement of apps running natively on the platform. Well, one such announcement was made this week, as Photoshop can now run natively on Windows 10 on ARM, shedding the ‘Beta’ tag that’s been put on it since November of last year.
Joint E3 conferences
Surprising perhaps three people, Xbox Game Studios head honcho Matt Booty has confirmed that Xbox and Bethesda will in fact be combining their E3 presentations into one big show.
Along with news about Halo Infinite and Age of Empires IV, both launching later this year, we might also get a glimpse at BGS’ Starfield, which will benefit from the big improvements to the Creation Engine. Said improvements, as per BGS studio head Todd Howard, are some of the biggest in the engine’s history, perhaps even dwarfing the improvements made from Morrowind to Oblivion.
Of course, let’s not forget that id Software, MachineGames, Arkane, and others are also now under XGS, so it wouldn’t be too unexpected for Microsoft to showcase some unannounced projects from those studios.
Until then, we have some things that are a tad more official. For example, there’s a Halo: MCC Insider test which brings visual improvements to Halo: Combat Evolved, the usual array of Deals with Gold, and the reveal that the next-gen variant of GTA V will be making its debut on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 on November 11, 2021.
For fans of Paradox’s grand-strategy games, the publisher has announced Victoria 3. While still early in development, the game has been confirmed to hit Steam and Xbox Game Pass for PC on launch day, mimicking the launch of Crusader Kings 3.
And speaking of Game Pass, the service is soon set to welcome in its ranks Peggle 2, Conan Exiles, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, SpellForce 3: Soul Harvest, Slime Rancher, and many more throughout the month of May, covering cloud, console, and PC availability.
We’ll end the section with a rather interesting original Xbox Easter egg. Though Xbox’s 20th anniversary is upon us (more specifically on November 15), certain aspects about the original console are still shrouded in mystery.
Among them is this rather quirky Easter egg, which for some reason involves an audio CD and the typing of the name Timmy, followed by the letter ‘y’ 24 more times, and an exclamation mark. It’s just about as weird as it sounds, if not more so, and you can read more about it here.
Better vertical tabs
At the rate Microsoft is adding things to its Chromium Edge browser, we’re bound to cover its development to some extent. This week in particular highlights some good news for fans of the vertical tabs feature.
As per Leopeva64-2 on Reddit, Edge was set to soon support the hiding of its title bar when using vertical tabs, something which perhaps should’ve been there from the start. This was first seen in Canary v92.0.891.0, and not long after its initial discovery, made its way to the Dev channel.
The Redmond firm also took a moment to update its password monitor and health dashboard, though the feature is expected to roll out to users starting this month, so some folks may not have it just yet.
If you’re in one of the Insider channels however, you will have access to Math Solver. The experimental feature does pretty much what it says on the tin, allowing students to take a picture of a math problem, import it into Edge, and use Microsoft’s AI capabilities to find out an answer and instructions on how to solve said problem.
Personal features in Teams are now generally available. A preview of Dynamics 365 Intelligent Order Management is out now. LaLiga and Microsoft have expanded their partnership to transform the digital sports experience. O2 has partnered with Microsoft to trial Mobile Edge Computing. The Redmond giant has explained how it’s making gaming more accessible. Teams on mobile will soon get support for large gallery view. Dark mode is rolling out for the unified Office app on Android. According to Microsoft, this is how meeting rooms will look like in the future. Logging off
We round off this week’s column with a look at the EOL of Internet Explorer. Version 11 to be more precise.
With the focus on its Chromium-based Edge browser as of late, as well as the inclusion of IE mode in its latest browser, the Redmond software giant has decided to put a firm date on the end of IE11: June 15, 2022.
While the deprecation of the feature will affect Windows 10 client and IoT versions 20H2 and later. For now, the IE platform (MSHTML/Trident), IE11 on Windows 8,.1, 7 ESU, 10 Server, 10 IoT LTSC, Server LTSC, and client LTSC are spared.
Should the time come for IE mode in Edge to be retired, the company says it will give at least a one-year notice for organizations to prepare. Beyond the all-important EOL date, Microsoft has provided additional details in regards to how businesses can get ready for the browser’s end of support.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.
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By Laurentiu A.
I have one question for all of you...
What is this ugly, beta, squared, badly pixelated THING on my taskbar?
It says News and interests and yes, I know its a new feature from Microsoft.
How can a billion dollar company, with thousands of employees and rich history in software, design this?
The sun icon looks very bad, the text that displays the weather is blurry and the app itself is sluggish.
How can they release something like this worldwide, without shame?
I am serious...
Patch My PC Updater 184.108.40.206
by Razvan Serea
Patch My PC Free is a portable and reliable tool which can quickly check your PC for outdated software. The supported third-party programs include a large number of widely-used applications, including Adobe Reader, Mozilla Firefox, Java, 7-Zip, BleachBit, Google Chrome and many more.
Patch My PC Home updater features:
Updates over 300 common apps check including portable apps Ability to cache updates for use on multiple machines No bloatware during installations Applications install/update silently by default no install wizard needed Optionally, disable silent install to perform a manual custom install Easy to use user interface Installs 64-bit apps by default on 64-bit windows Optionally choose to install 32-bit apps on 64-bit Windows Change updated and outdated apps color for color blindness Option to automatically kill programs before updating it Portable and only about 3.0 MB Create a baseline of applications if installing on new PC’s Quickly uninstall multiple programs Scan time is usually less than 1 second Set updates to happen on a schedule Skip updates for any application you don’t want to update Suppresses restarts when performing application updates Patch My PC Updater 220.127.116.11 changelog:
Updated Vivaldi‘s silent install switch Added switch “/norestart” to VNC Server The form can now be resized by any edge instead of only by the grip size at the bottom-right. Download: Patch My PC Updater 18.104.22.168 | 3.0 MB (Freeware)
View: Patch My PC Free Homepage
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Opera adds support for Apple's M1 processor and custom shortcuts
by Paul Hill
Opera Software has announced that its namesake browser now natively supports Apple’s M1 processor. According to the firm, M1 support makes Opera run two times faster compared to the previous version of the browser. The latest version of Opera also lets users create custom keyboard shortcuts to more quickly access various browser features.
Last November, Apple released several new Macs that ship with the new Apple M1 CPU, which is ARM-based. With the shift from Intel’s processors, Apple had to ship a compatibility layer called Rosetta 2 that would enable programs designed for Intel CPUs to run on the Apple M1. Since the launch, Mozilla has added support for M1 to Firefox and Google has added support to Chrome. Now with the latest update, Opera supports M1 too.
The other feature arriving in this update is the ability to create custom shortcuts that let you easily access Player, Flow, and Crypto Wallet. To set keyboard shortcuts for any of these features you should click the three-dot icon at the bottom of the sidebar then click the three-dot icon next to the feature and select Configure shortcuts; from there, you can type the shortcut you want.
The latest version of Opera is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux (deb, RPM, snap). If you already have Opera installed, press the Opera menu, go to Update & Recovery, press Check for update and once the update has finished downloading, press update.
Linux Mint outlines better, unobtrusive update notifications
by Paul Hill
Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has written a blog post outlining new notifications that try not to be annoying but also remind users that they need to perform software updates to keep their computer secure. The details arrive a little over a month since Lefebvre pointed to stats that show some users were not applying security updates and in some cases, people were even running end of life versions of Linux Mint.
The Linux Mint team prides itself on its users controlling their computer rather than the other way around. New Mint versions only ever introduce conservative changes so that the whole operating system doesn’t need to be relearned and users are also given complete control over when, how, and which updates are installed; unfortunately, this mindset has led to some users running outdated, vulnerable software.
To remedy the issue, a new pop-up has been created which lets the user know how many updates are available, it says why updates need to be applied, it lets users view available updates, and gives users the option to turn on automatic updates. If the user dismisses the notification it will come back two days later so it’s not overbearing.
If the user decides to install updates, the notification will disappear for quite a while on the default settings. By default, the notification will appear if an update has been available for more than seven logged-in days or if it’s older than 15 calendar days. The number of days can be changed to anything between two and 90 days depending on how often you want to see updates. Additionally, these notifications will only be triggered by security and kernel updates but this can be adjusted in the settings.
There is also a grace period setting which is set to 30 days by default, essentially, this means that if an update has been applied in the last 30 days, you will not be bugged by notifications until that time has elapsed.
The Mint team hopes that the default settings will work for most people in that they keep their system moderately up-to-date without being overburdened with constant reminders to update their machine. The new notifications are set to arrive in Linux Mint 20.2 but Lefebvre has also said that it could be backported to older versions.