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Microsoft Weekly: big deprecated features, fixed Windows 11 bugs, and final updates in 2023

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In this episode of Microsoft Weekly, we look at fixed Windows 11 bugs, even more deprecated features, the upcoming Moment 5 update, the final browser and app updates in 2023, gaming sales and discounts, and more.

Table of contents:

  1. Windows 11 news
  2. Updates are available
  3. Gaming news
  4. A blast from Microsoft's past

AnchorWindows 11

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 some good news: Microsoft has finally fixed an annoying bug causing File Explorer to pop on the screen for no reason. The latest non-security update, released on December 4, contains the necessary fix that somehow slipped under our radar. Feedback Hub is full of people complaining about this infuriating behavior, but the fix is finally available, albeit with a massive delay.

Another patch Microsoft made available to its users is related to the recently discovered printing bug and uncalled HP Smart application. The company released a special troubleshooter, and you can use it to restore the missing printer metadata, remove the HP Smart program, and fix the "No tasks are available" error.

A colorful printer

In addition, Microsoft fixed the bug with the broken Narrator during the initial setup after clean-installing Windows 11 version 23H2. You can now download the updated Windows 11 images from the official website or via the Media Creation Tool app. If you rely on the built-in Narrator, it will work without issues when setting up a clean Windows 11 23H2 installation.

The week went with some bad news, too: the latest Windows updates allegedly break Wi-Fi connections to 802.11r access points commonly used in businesses, schools, and universities. A few of them have already published advisories recommending customers to uninstall December 2023 updates. Shortly after that, the company acknowledged and quickly resolved the problem using the Known Issue Rollback system.

On the technical side, Microsoft updated the list of supported processors in Windows 11, adding recently announced Intel chips. Even though AMD also unveiled a new lineup of mobile CPUs, they are still missing in the documentation.

An Intel processor with a Windows 11 logo on its IHS

Microsoft is done updating Windows 11 in 2023, so now all eyes are turning to 2024. We know that the company plans a big client update, but there is also one more "Moment" update coming to Windows 11. A new report revealed that the "Moment 5" update could land somewhere at the end of February or March 2024. It will not bring much, but you can expect a few solid additions.

Windows 11 Moment 5

As for Windows 10, whose end of support is getting nigh, it might soon send over 240 million computers to landfills. Of course, customers can continue using their devices with the unsupported OS or pay Microsoft for extended security updates. The latter, though, might become a big problem.

Finishing the Windows section with a weird one: here is a MacBook running Windows 10 Mobile and UWP apps. No one knows how, no one knows why ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Windows Insider Program

The Windows Insider team is having some well-deserved rest during the holiday season. Therefore, there were no new preview builds this week. Also, there will be no updates next week. Come back in January 2024 for new updates in the Canary, Dev, Beta, and Release Preview Channels.

AnchorUpdates 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.

The recently released Windows 11 version 23H2 introduced a feature called "Dynamic Lighting," which lets control RGB lights on compatible peripherals without installing additional software. Although plenty of mice and keyboards already support Dynamic Lighting, ASRock is the first manufacturer to implement Dynamic Lighting support in their motherboards. The corresponding update is now rolling out to some Intel and AMD mobos.

A screenshot of the Settings app in Windows 11 showing dynamic lightning options

Microsoft Edge Insiders have a new quirky feature to test: Super Drag and Drop. Turning it on allows the user to open a link, text, or picture in a new tab by simply dragging it slightly. When pulling a portion of text, the feature opens a new tab and looks for it on the internet using your default (a surprise, to be sure, but a welcome one) search engine. Check out this article to learn how to enable Edge Super Drag and Drop.

Edge Super Drag and Drop Feature

AVIF support is another feature coming soon to Microsoft Edge. Version 121, scheduled to arrive at the end of January 2024, will finally catch up with Chrome, Safari, and Firefox in terms of AVIF image support.

Microsoft also deprecated Microsoft Defender Application Guard for Edge. This will not affect "regular customers" since MDAG for Edge is a business-focused feature that opens untrusted websites in isolated environments. This is the thirteenth deprecated feature since September 1, 2023.

To finish the section about Microsoft Edge, here is a new version of the MSEdgeRedirect tool. Its latest update introduced so-called "Europe Mode" you can use to uninstall Microsoft's browser on systems outside the European Union.

What will affect regular customers is the deprecation of Windows Mixed Reality, a major headlining feature from the early Windows 10 era. Windows Mixed Reality Portal and Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR are no longer in development, and they will soon be removed from Windows. Despite that, Microsoft will continue working on its HoloLens headset for the US Army.

Interestingly, Microsoft's HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset was spotted on the state-run TV in China, raising questions about US-made technology used by the Chinese military. Mind explaining this, Microsoft?

Windows Mixed Reality promo image

Copilot received a unique addition to its already rich feature set: You can now ask Copilot to write songs and generate music. It became possible thanks to collaboration with a company called Suno. The latter has a dedicated site and $10/mo service that lets you generate up to 500 songs and even upload them to streaming services to get some money.

Firefox users received a big update for their beloved non-Chromium browser. Version 121 is now available in the Release channel with AV1 improvements on Windows, Voice Control on macOS, a new compositor on Linux (this one delivers plenty of great improvements), and more.

Firefox logo with number 121 behind it

Google also released a last-minute update for Chrome before the end of 2023. The update focuses on improving your security by running the browser's safety checks in the background, checking for browser leaks, compromised extensions, outdated browser versions, website permissions, and more.

Other notable updates released this week include the following:

Here are the new drivers released this week:

Finally, here is our weekly Microsoft 365 Roadmap recap detailing upcoming features, such as performance improvements for Teams when running in Safari and Firefox and file templates for OneDrive on the web.

AnchorOn the gaming side

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

Microsoft Flight Simulator received the final update for 2023. Called European CIties 1, it delivers graphical and detail improvements for five cities in Europe (The Hague, Brussels, Kosice, Zagreb, and Cadiz) and a new premium plane: the Cessna T207A Turbo for $14.99. All that content is now available for download from the in-game marketplace.

Despite receiving a fair and well-deserved share of beating for shipping Fallout 76 in a disastrous state in 2018, Bethesda is not giving up on the title. Quite the opposite: the game keeps on getting new updates, and 2024 will bring even more. Look out for new areas and quests in Atlantic City and more areas across the US.

fallout 76

Blizzard also revealed some of its plans for the upcoming year, which will mark the studio's 20th anniversary. In 2024, gamers can expect Season 4 of World of Warcraft, a new expansion called "The War Within," and more.

In March 2024, the world will see the release of South Park: Snow Day on PC, Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation. The game will be available for $29.99, and true fans can show their love by ordering the Collector's Edition with a few neat additions, such as a snow globe with Cartman inside, a talking toilet paper holder (also Cartman-shaped), a beanie, a collection of Tarot cards, and the original soundtrack.

Insomniac Games had a really tough week. The studio was hacked by a ransomware group that leaked more than 1.6TB of data after not getting a $2 million ransom. The stolen data includes employees' personal info and files from the recently released Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation 5.

Leaks like that often reveal plenty of interesting information, such as no X-Men games for Xbox until at least 2036. You can bet more will appear on the surface of the internet soon.

Finally, Valve now lets you recap your gaming addiction habits in 2023 with the annual Steam Year in Review 2023. In addition, you can nominate your favorite games for The Steam Awards 2023, another yearly event that recognizes the best titles of the year.

In addition to launching the final sale of 2023, Valve released a new beta update for the Steam client on supported platforms. One of the most notable changes is the ability to hide those socially unaccepted games from your profile without turning the latter private. So, if you have one or several games you are a bit ashamed of, it is now much easier to conceal them.

Steam Winter Sale 2023

NVIDIA's GeForce NOW received eleven more games you can play without owning powerful PC hardware. The latest additions include Monster Hunter: World, RIDE 5, Dark Envoy, Loddlenaut, and others.

Deals and freebies

Now to everyone's favorite part: deals and freebies. The Steam Winter Sale is now in full swing, which means there are plenty of games to buy with discounts and never launch them. You can also check out the latest edition of our Weekend PC Game Deals series, where we cover the hottest deals on popular titles.

AnchorA 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 the past is for oldies to shed a tear and younglings to learn what the early days of the internet looked like. This week marked 29 years since the release of Netscape Navigator, one of the early internet browsers for personal computers. To pay respects to what is no longer with us, check out this look-back article about the launch of Netscape Navigator 29 years ago.

netscape navigator
"Sit down, and let me tell you a story kid."

By the way, Netscape Navigator is not the oldest internet browser: Mosaic was released more than one year earlier, and we also have a look-back article detailing its launch on Windows.

Let's move from browsers to operating systems: did you know Microsoft once held a full-blown musical to promote Windows XP? You can check out this "embarrassing high-tech event of the year or the millennium" here.

Finally, here is a quick look back at the OQO ultra-mobile PC running Windows XP and Windows Vista. This small handheld computer was not a commercial success, but it managed to show up in multiple TV shows and movies. This look-back article details the story of the OQO and its mini computers.

oqo umpc

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