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Microsoft Weekly: a new Windows head, a redesigned Start menu, and a leaked Xbox Series X

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In this episode of Microsoft Weekly, we look at a jam-packed week full of Microsoft news. From a new Windows head to a redesigned Start menu in the latest Windows 11 preview builds, leaked pictures of a new Xbox Series X, revoked Edge updates, and plenty of various app updates.

Table of contents:

  1. Windows 10 and 11 news
  2. Windows Insider Program
  3. Updates are available
  4. Gaming news
  5. Great deals to check
  6. A blast from Microsoft's past
  7. Random fact about Microsoft

Windows 11 and 10

Here we talk about everything happening around Microsoft's latest operating system in the Stable channel and preview builds: new features, removed features, controversies, bugs, interesting findings, and more. And of course, you may find a word or two about older but still supported versions.

Let us start with this month's optional non-security updates. This month, those are big ones. Windows 11 received KB5035942, which delivered the Moment 5 Update and its features to all users. Windows 10 got KB5035941, and it also contains new stuff, such as lock screen widgets and Windows Spotlight for desktop backgrounds. You can skip these two updates and get new features, including the updated lock screen, as part of the April 2024 Patch Tuesday updates.

In addition to the latest non-security updates, Microsoft released a detailed blog post to explain how IT Admins can get faster access to optional updates on managed devices. Previously, it was only possible to expedite security updates.

Windows and Surface have a new leader. This week, Microsoft revealed that the two divisions are now united under one roof, led by Pavan Davuluri. About six months ago, Pavan was assigned as the new head of Surface following Panos Panay's departure from Microsoft to Amazon. Now, Pavan Davuluri will also get behind the wheel of the Windows department. As for Mikhail Parakhin, who is currently the Bing boss, he will step down and look for new opportunities within Microsoft.

The infamous POPCNT instruction struck again. This time, Windows Terminal was hit. However, a Microsoft engineer quickly refuted conspiracy theories about the company intentionally locking out old systems. The problem happened due to a compiler bug in MSVC 19.38 that resulted in the output of the CPUID instruction being misinterpreted.

Did you know that you can still access the old pre-facelift Task Manager in Windows 11? We recently published a small guide detailing how to open the old Task Manager in Windows 11 versions 22H2 and 23H2, so check it out.

The old Task Manager in Windows 11

In a similar fashion, you can resurrect the old Notepad, which will soon become the go-to text editor on Windows 11. Microsoft confirmed that Windows 11 version 24H2 will remove WordPad from the operating system.

Windows Insider Program

Here is what Microsoft Released this week for testing in the Windows Insider Program:

Windows 11 Windows 10
Canary Channel 26090 Not Applicable
Dev Channel Not Applicable
Beta Channel 22635.3420 Not Applicable
Release Preview Channel

The new Beta Channel build brought a surprisingly big set of features. Some of them Microsoft acknowledged publicly, while others are not ready for prime time. For example, the company finally fixed the broken address bar in File Explorer, allowing you to drag files and folders. The Share dialog is getting a built-in QR code generator, and the taskbar has a new home for the widgets button.

beta channel 226353420 screenshots

Some of you will be happy to know that Microsoft is working on a redesigned "All apps" list. Users discovered a feature ID that lets you switch from the list to the grid view. Check out this article to learn more about how to try that. Just keep in mind that the initial implementation is unfinished, which explains why Microsoft has not announced it yet.

The new All apps layout in Windows 11

As for build 26090, which was released in the Dev and Canary Channels, its most exciting part is probably the lack of the watermark in the bottom-right corner of the screen. Microsoft removed it in preparation for the upcoming version 24H2 release.

Updates are available

This section covers software, firmware, and other notable updates (released and coming soon) delivering new features, security fixes, improvements, patches, and more from Microsoft and third parties.

Microsoft Edge had an interesting week. Shortly after version 123 arrived in the Stable Channel, users noticed that it also installed a mysterious Microsoft Copilot app. According to Microsoft, it is there to power the new Copilot experiences, which are not available yet. A few days later, Microsoft pulled Edge 123 from the Stable Channel to address potential compatibility issues. Finally, on March 27, the company re-released the update with extra fixes and security patches.

If you feel like Microsoft Edge is taking too much RAM, you will be delighted to know that Microsoft is working on a feature that would let you limit the maximum amount of memory the browser can consume. It is currently rolling out to Edge Insiders in the Canary Channel, so check out more details here.

RAM settings in Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Teams for personal use is getting a redesign. Teams Insiders on Windows 11 can try the reworked UI that features larger avatars, bigger reactions, more space between elements, improved materials, and other design enhancements. The Teams Insider program is open to everyone, so you can sign in if waiting for the stable release is not an option.

microsoft teams

Microsoft also rolled out a big feature update for OneDrive for Microsoft 365 Basic subscribers. This $1.99/mo tier now includes ransomware detection and protection, an unlimited number of files in Personal Vaults, password-protected and expiring links, and offline folder support on mobile.

Chrome has finally joined the ranks of ARM64-native browsers on Windows. Just a few months before the launch of the first Snapdragon X Elite-powered PCs, Google released the long-promised version of its browser for Windows on ARM to give users better performance and energy efficiency.

Speaking of Chrome, the browser will soon display better fonts on Windows. A page on the Chrome Platform Status revealed that Microsoft is working with Google on making the Skia text engine capable of "picking up" ClearType settings and adjusting text contrast and gamma accordingly. As of right now, Microsoft Edge is the only Chromium browser that follows ClearType settings on Windows 10 and 11 (the feature was introduced about three years ago).

Finally, Intel unveiled Microsoft's guidelines for "AI PCs," which will be on the market in a couple of months. As it turned out, a dedicated Copilot hardware key is a must for Microsoft to label a computer an "AI PC."

The Surface Laptop 6 for Business

Other notable updates include the following:

And here are the newest drivers released this week:

Finally, here is the latest edition of Microsoft 365 Roadmap Weekly, a series covering the newest additions to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap website. This week, Microsoft added new security features for Outlook admins, a new way to view hidden files in OneDrive on the web, and more.

On the gaming side

Learn about upcoming game releases, Xbox rumors, new hardware, software updates, freebies, deals, discounts and more.

Xbox Series X kicks off this week's gaming section with a big leak. Someone leaked images of the upcoming white edition without an optical drive. This is not the first time Microsoft is working on a separate disc-less version of its console to make it affordable to more gamers. Naturally, this leak is unconfirmed, so take it with a grain of salt.

xbox series x

Grounded from Obsidian Entertainment is getting its final free content update. On April 16, the game will receive a new boss creature, the New Game+ mode, and other improvements. On the same day, Grounded will arrive on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Nintendo Switch.


Forza Horizon 5, another first-party title from Microsoft, received a new free update called "Horizon Race-Off." It adds six exclusive cars, new props for Event Lab, and a fresh pack of premium vehicles. The series is now in full swing, so be sure to jump it to get the 2023 Ford F-150 Raptor R, the 2024 Ford Mustang GT, and other new-to-Forza cars.

Forza Horizon 5

Bethesda Game Studios, another Microsoft-owned studio, offered a small hint at Elder Scrolls VI development. The company said developing a new chapter in Tamriel's history still fills it with "the same joy, excitement, and promise of adventure."

With all the fuss surrounding Apple in the EU, Microsoft's gaming boss spoke about alternative marketplaces on Xbox. Phil Spencer told Polygon in an interview that that is not completely impossible. In the same interview, he offered some thoughts about a potential Xbox-branded handled console.

Xbox Insiders can try out keyboard and mouse support on Cloud Gaming. A small number of Xbox titles, such as Fortnite, Sea of Thieves, Halo Infinite, and others, now allow playing with a mouse and keyboard when streaming.

If you live in an officially supported Xbox region, you can try your luck winning one of four custom Xbox Series X, which were made to celebrate the release of South Park Snow Day. Each console features a unique character on its casing and controller. The contest ends on April 22, so be sure to participate.

south park snow day xbox series x

Did you hear the news that Diablo IV is now available in Game Pass? If you plan to hop in, check out this article, which details how to get the game running on PC. Unlike Xbox, the PC experience is slightly more complicated, and it requires installing the Battle.net launcher.

Other interesting gaming news published this week includes the following:

Deals and Freebies

This week's Weekend PC Game Deals features horror bundles, a wholesome metroidvania in the Epic Games Store, a free weekend in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and plenty of big discounts on games of all shapes and forms across different marketplaces.

Islets with EGS logo

Great deals to check

Every week, we cover many deals on different hardware and software. The following discounts are still available, so check them out. You might find something you want or need.

You can still save a lot of money on the following devices from all sorts of categories:

A blast from Microsoft's past

John Callaham's weekly "Look back" series provides throwbacks into the past, detailing the company's products, partnerships, mishaps, and successes from years ago.

This week's blast from Microsoft's past comes from our fellow Aditya Tiwary, who took a look back at Microsoft launching Office for iPad exactly ten years ago. The move was quite bold for the then-new Microsoft CEO and, eventually, turned out to be a massive success for the company overall.

Original Microsoft PowerPoint version for iPad

Random fact about Microsoft

And here is a randomly selected piece of trivia about the company, Windows, and other Microsoft-made things.

This week's trivia comes from Dave Plummer, a Microsoft veteran and a true treasure trove of interesting inside stories from the world of Microsoft. Dave recently published a story on his X, detailing how a temporary UI for the Format dialog on Windows NT had stuck around for over 30 years. Three decades later, it is still in use in the latest versions of Windows 11.

The Format Dialog in Windows 11

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