This past week brought in a review for Microsoft’s next-gen tower of power, a bunch of Windows 10 upgrades and a healthy dose of Surface updates. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of November 1 - 7.
60FPS Xbox gaming
As we’re mere days away from the launch of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox systems, the Series S and X, more and more info about the consoles and related games has started surfacing.
Starting with Fortnite, the Epic-developed battle royale game is set to see 4K 60FPS gameplay on the Series X and significantly faster load times, while the Series S is targeting 1080p 60FPS.
The same accent is being put on 60FPS for the first-party offering from Rare, namely Sea of Thieves. The game will run at 4K 60FPS on the Series X, and 1080p 60FPS on the Series S. Going even further, Ori and the Will of the Wisps developer Moon Studios has stated that its latest Metroidvania will run at 4K 120FPS on Xbox Series X – with an additional 6K supersampled mode, shrunk down to 4K 60FPS -, as well as offering 1080p 120FPS and 4K 60 FPS modes on Xbox Series S.
It's worth also noting that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be coming to EA Play on November 10, and that if you’re a Game Pass Ultimate subscriber, you’ll automatically have access to this – in addition to all of the other EA Play and Game Pass titles.
Whether you picked up one of the new Xboxes or not, you can still check out the ongoing Deals with Gold, our curated list of the best Xbox games launching next week, as well as the review of the tower of power, the Xbox Series X, courtesy of our very own Rich Woods.
Windows 10 upgrades
Just when you thought the number of known issues with Windows 10 version 2004 and 20H2 couldn’t get any more numerous, another one has popped up.
Relating strictly to Thunderbolt NVMe SSDs, the bug has of course resulted in an upgrade block being placed on devices that have these kinds of solid state drives connected. If you do decide to plug in this kind of SSD, you’ll get a BSOD and the error “DRIVER_VERIFIER_DMA_VIOLATION (e6) An illegal DMA operation was attempted by a driver being verified”. As is obvious, you’ll have an upgrade block placed on your machine if it has a Thunderbolt 3 port.
In other update and upgrade news, this time on the other side of the spectrum, Microsoft has begun force-upgrading users on Windows 10 1903 (May 2019 Update) to 1909 (November 2019 Update). This is because 1903 is set to get its last update on next month’s Patch Tuesday, i.e. December 8. This has been par for the course with any of the updates Microsoft has pushed in the spring.
And lastly, if you’re an Insider in the Dev channel, you will have gotten build 20251 earlier this week, which still seems to be from the fe_release branch, but brings no new features. It does include a number of fixes – like the taskbar occluding the Power button in the Start menu – and roughly as many known issues.
As far as when the company is planning on switching back to the rs_prerelease branch, our own Rich Woods has heard that it’ll be done in the second half of November.
In a routine bit of maintenance that’s no longer surprising at this point, Microsoft has pushed out a bunch of firmware updates to the Surface Go 2, in order to improve stability and reliability. Similarly, the Surface Laptop 3 and Book 2 have also received their own firmware and driver updates, which should translate into better performance and smoother integration between system services.
The Surface Laptop 3 got another round of updates a few days later, along with updates for the Surface Book 3 and Surface Pro 7. All these are meant to improve performance and reliability, as well as battery life.
Last but not least, for those who really want to buy one, the Surface Duo is now available from Verizon, while a Tiger Lake-powered (possible) Surface Pro 8 has showed up for sale on eBay. The seller is based in Seattle, and the unit seems to be an engineering sample sporting Intel’s 11-th generation processors. Though it appears to be legitimate, there’s obviously no confirmation of its authenticity from Microsoft.
- The HoloLens 2 Development Edition is now available in the U.S. for $3,500.
- Teams on the desktop will get multiple account support in December.
- The Microsoft Launcher preview has removed Timeline.
- Microsoft, in regards to the U.S. elections: We must build new bridges to unite people.
We end with a bit of news concerning test versions of the Edge browser and Office on the Mac.
Beginning with Edge, Microsoft has pushed out Dev build 88.0.685.3, which has added support for pre-rendered new tab pages on Linux, as well as “support for the management policy to Configure Friendly URL Format” over on the Mac side. As with any test variant, there are some known bugs to keep in mind, like Edge windows becoming all black, or the presence of duplicate favorites.
While we’re on the subject of the Mac, if you’re a Slow ring Office Insider, version 16.43 (build 20110105) has brought over the Watch Window feature in Excel – which allows you to monitor and tweak formulas in cells across different sheets -, as well as the ability to present PowerPoint slides in windowed mode via Reading View, and the addition of support for the SQL Server ODBC connection provider on Apple Silicon-powered macOS devices.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.