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:
- We are rolling out news and interests on the Windows taskbar to Beta and Release Preview rings. This has been available in the Dev Channel, with on-going improvements based on Insider feedback. News and interests on the taskbar make it easy to stay up to date with information at a glance, and we look forward to hearing what you think.
- We fixed an issue that prevents a site from transitioning out of Microsoft Edge IE Mode when expected.
- We fixed an issue that fails to remove mandatory profiles completely when you sign out when using the “Delete cached copies of roaming profiles” Group Policy.
- We fixed an issue that causes blank tiles to appear on the Start menu with names such as “ms-resource:AppName” or “ms-resource:appDisplayName”. These blank tiles represent the installed applications and appear for approximately 15 minutes after updating to a newer version of Windows 10. Installing this update prevents these blank tiles from appearing on the Start menu.
- We fixed an issue with the Microsoft Japanese Input Method Editor (IME) that prevents an app’s custom candidate window from displaying correctly.
- We fixed an issue that occurs when you install inventory applications.
- We fixed an issue that includes kernel mode rules for .NET applications in Windows Defender Application Control policies. As a result, the generated policies are significantly larger than necessary.
- We fixed an issue that causes devices to fail Device Health Attestation.
- We fixed an issue that turns off S Mode when you enable System Guard Secure Launch on a system running Windows 10 in S Mode.
- We fixed an issue that causes lsass.exe memory usage to grow until the system becomes unusable. This occurs when Transport Layer Security (TLS) resumes a session.
- We fixed an issue with a race condition between Task Scheduler and the Workstation Service. As a result, users cannot automatically join a hybrid Azure Active Directory (AAD) domain and error 0x80070490 is generated.
- We fixed an issue that causes Azure Active Directory authentication to fail after signing in on Windows Virtual Desktop machines.
- We fixed an issue that causes AAD Work Accounts to unexpectedly disappear from certain apps such Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Office.
- We fixed an issue with a partial Service Connection Point (SCP) configuration that causes dsregcmd.exe to stop working. This issue occurs because of a case-sensitive domain ID name comparison that occurs when joining a hybrid Azure Active Directory domain using single sign-on (SSO).
- We fixed an issue that accidently triggers hybrid AAD joining when the Group Policy “Register domain-joined computers as devices” is set to DISABLED. For more information, see Post configuration tasks for Hybrid Azure AD join.
- We added the ability to adjust the amount of idle time before a headset goes to sleep in the Settings app for Windows Mixed Reality.
- We fixed an issue that might generate a stop error when Docker containers run with process isolation.
- We fixed an issue that causes automatic enrollment and certificate retrieval to fail with the error, “The parameter is incorrect.”
- We fixed an issue that might cause Microsoft Defender Application Guard virtual machines to stop responding when Microsoft Defender Application Guard for Office opens a document. This issue might occur on some devices or in drivers that utilize GPU Hardware Accelerated Scheduling.
- We fixed an issue that prevents some media players from playing content on hybrid devices that are running with dGPU on iGPU displays.
- We fixed an issue with race conditions that cause high CPU usage. As a result, the system stops working and deadlocks occur.
- We fixed an issue with a deadlock in the New Technology File System (NTFS).
- We fixed an issue that causes DWM.exe to stop working in some cases.
- We fixed an issue that might prevent an application screen from working when using a Remote Desktop ActiveX control that is embedded in an HTML page.
- We improved the Windows Server Storage Migration Service by:
- Adding support for migration from NetApp FAS arrays to Windows Servers and clusters.
- Resolving multiple issues and improving reliability.
- For more information, see Storage Migration Service overview.
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.