The last seven days saw the release of the Xbox Series X|S consoles, the end of support for Home and Pro versions of Windows 10 v1809, as well as the arrival of updated end of support dates for a number of Surface devices. You can find info about that, as well as much more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of November 8 - 14.
An Xbox launch like no other
On Tuesday, Microsoft at long last launched its next-generation of consoles, the tower of power that is Xbox Series X, alongside the significantly smaller, digital-only Series S.
According to Microsoft, this was the most successful Xbox launch ever, with the company selling more units than any other previous launch, though specifics were not provided. Additionally, the software giant confirmed that 70% of the new devices (meaning either Series S or X) are attached to a Game Pass subscription, and that 3,594 games were played at launch, more than any other previous Xbox launch. This is of course due in no small part to the cross-generational backwards compatibility going back to the original Xbox. In case you want to buy any of the two consoles, here’s a list of five things you need to know about the Xbox Series X|S.
If you did get either device, do be aware that there are some known issues, especially around 4K60FPS / 4K120FPS and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). This specifically concerns folks with LG, Samsung or Vizio TVs, and the issues could very well be mitigated with a firmware update.
Moving on to entertainment in general, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers get a free 30 day trial of Disney+, but that’s not all they can look forward to.
Subscribers on this tier of Game Pass already have access to over 60 EA-published games, including Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Additionally, thanks to cloud gaming support, they can also play Dragon Age: Inquisition, Madden NFL 20, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, The Sims 4, and Unravel 2 on your Android device.
Starting with titles already available, you can now play Gears Tactics, Destiny 2: Beyond Light, as well as Planet Coaster: Console Edition on Android and console. You’re additionally able to play Tetris Effect: Connected and Final Fantasy VIII Remastered on both console and PC, with Gonner2 being available only on Android, and Streets of Rogue only on PC.
Starting November 17, you’ll be able to play Ark: Survival Evolved: Explorer’s Edition across Android, console, and PC, and Halo MCC: Halo 4 on PC.
Wrapping up the part about the added titles, you’ll be able to enjoy River City Girls across Android, console, and PC, as well as Star Renegades on Android and console beginning November 19.
Lastly, being removed from both the PC and console subscriptions on November 16 are Darksiders III, Munchkin, The Talos Principle, and Tracks: The Train Set Game.
In case none of those appeal to you, there’s always Flight Simulator – which got a new patch -, the variety of Deals with Gold currently available, or even LEGO Indiana Jones and Swimsanity!, which are part of the second wave of Games with Gold for November. The former is across Xbox 360, Xbox One, and the Series X|S, while the latter is only for Xbox One and Series X|S.
This week was host to the second Tuesday of the month, so you guessed it, it was Patch Tuesday. Here’s what came out in terms of updates for folks on Windows 10:
- May 2020 Update / October 2020 Update (2004 / 20H2): KB4586781, builds 19041.630 / 19042.630 – adds improvements to security when using devices like mice, keyboards, or pens, as well as improving security of Office products and basic Windows operations. It additionally updates the 2020 DST start date for the Fiji Islands to December 20, 2020.
- Known issues: Folks who use the IME for Japanese or Chinese might experience issues when attempting various tasks. There may be issues with input, receiving of unexpected results, or inability to input text; System and user certificates may be lost when updating a device from Windows 10 1809 or later to a later version of Windows 10. Impacted devices are those that have already installed any of the cumulative updates released September 16 or later and perform the upgrade via installation media that does not have the October 13, 2020 updates (or later) integrated.
- May 2019 Update / November 2019 Update (1903 / 1909): KB4586786, builds 18362.1198 / 18363.1198 – contains a basically identical changelog to the versions above.
- Known issue: System and user certificates may be lost when updating a device from Windows 10 1809 or later to a later version of Windows 10. Impacted devices are those that have already installed any of the cumulative updates released September 16 or later and perform the upgrade via installation media that does not have the October 13, 2020 updates (or later) integrated.
- October 2018 Update (1809): KB4586793, build 17763.1557 – identical changelog to the versions above. Also keep in mind that if you’re on either 1809 Home or Pro, you will no longer be receiving updates.
- Known issue: After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive the error “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”
- April 2018 Update (1803) Enterprise, Education: KB4586785, build 17134.1845.
- Creators Update (1703) for Surface Hub: KB4586782, build 15063.2554.
- Anniversary Update (1607) LTSB: KB4586830, build 14393.4046.
- Windows 10 RTM (1507) LTSB: KB4586787, build 10240.18756.
Not to be forgotten, Windows 8.1 and 7 (for business that opted for Extended Security Updates) and their server equivalents received patches too:
- Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2: KB458684, KB4586824 (security-only) – contains security updates for a number of Windows components, as well as fixes for LDAP sessions authenticated and sealed with a SASL method being reported incorrectly. Additionally, it allows admins to enable “Save target as” through Group Policy for users of Edge’s IE mode, while also correcting the DST start date for the Fiji Islands to December 20, 2020.
- Known issue: Operations like rename, that are performed on files or folders on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when the operation is performed on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privileges.
- Windows 7 SP1, Server 2008 R2 SP1: KB4586827, KB4586805 (security-only) – corrects the DST start date for the Fiji Islands to December 20, 2020, as well as containing security updates for a number or Windows components.
- Known issues: After installing the update and restarting, the device may receive the error “Failure to configure Windows updates. Reverting Changes. Do not turn off your computer”, and the update might show as Failed in Update History; Operations like rename, that are performed on files or folders on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when the operation is performed on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privileges.
Microsoft has additionally released a new build of Windows Holographic, which bumps it up to version 20H2. This is, specifically, build 19041.1128, but does not see a change in major build number, unlike its Windows 10 equivalent. The update adds support for automatic eye positions and mixed reality video recordings that are no longer capped at five minutes as its more consumer-facing features, as well as a number of improvements for business users.
Beyond the regular set of Windows patches, Microsoft of course pushed out some Insider builds as well.
For example, if you’re in the Dev channel on PC, build 20257 of Windows 10 arrived earlier in the week, containing heaps of fixes for everything from the bug which made the secondary non-OS drive inaccessible if you tried to install Store games on it, to the Windows.old folder not being properly deleted via disk cleanup.
Besides this, Office Insiders on Windows got a Current Channel (Preview) build too, with version 2011 (build 13426.20184) adding the ability to unhide multiple sheets in Excel, as well as the ability to export existing queries into Power Query templates, to name but two features.
Folks in the Edge Dev channel also got some good news this week, with build 88.0.692.0 heralding the return of the ability to pin a website to the Start menu, something which was available in Legacy Edge. In addition, for those lucky enough to have obtained Windows 10X, Microsoft has also released download links for Edge Insider builds that run on said OS.
Last but not least, Windows Terminal version 1.4 is now generally available, with Preview 1.5 also being made accessible and bringing support for full hyperlinks, multiple emojis in profile icons, the ability to start Terminal in Focus mode, the option to use your desktop background as the app’s background image, as well as the ability to disable all animations.
- .NET 5.0 is now available, with improved ARM64 performance and a number of other refinements.
- Az Predictor has been announced, seeking to improve the usability of Azure PowerShell.
- Qualcomm and Microsoft have partnered to enhance AI and ML dev experience.
- The Redmond giant wants folks to ditch SMS-based MFA mechanisms.
- Outlook on Android may soon get the Categories feature present in the desktop app and on the web.
- Here are the OneDrive features that have been added in October.
- Skype 8.66 has started rolling out, with support for 100 call participants.
- Microsoft has warned of slower first launches of Office apps on Apple Silicon Mac devices.
- The software giant has urged governments to fight against North Korean and Russian attacks on healthcare.
- Folks on iOS may soon be able to use Microsoft Authenticator as their password manager.
To wrap things up, we take a look at the latest Surface Duo update, as well as the support lifecycle for other Surface products.
Starting with the Duo, the November update for the device has brought in the security improvements outlined in the November 2020 Android Security Bulletin, as well as improving moving or dismissing of apps spanning both screens, refining camera image quality, and generally enhancing touch and device stability.
Microsoft also published updated support lifecycle dates for a number of Surface devices. Though the company has standardized support to about four years after release, certain device owners are a little luckier. If you own a Surface 3 or Pro 3, Book 1, Pro 4 or first generation Studio, you’ll receive support until November 13, 2021. Given that the Pro 3 released in June of 2014, it’ll be a little over seven years when support finally ends.
Everything released 2017 onwards does have the previously mentioned four year support cycle applied.
Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.