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Microsoft Weekly: bugs, apps, IE not dead, and the overall calm before Build

A Microsoft Weekly banner with a few bugs

Another weekend—another issue of Microsoft Weekly, your regular seven-day recap of everything that happened in the world of Microsoft. This week was relatively tame and quiet, something you can call the calm before the storm Build, Microsoft's annual developer conference. It is kicking off next week, and we expect many announcements from the software giant. But before that, time to look back at this week full of Windows bugs, apps, updates, Bing, and other news.

Confirmed Windows Bugs and other troubles

This week, Microsoft confirmed several issues and bugs in its operating systems. It all started with multiple users reporting cryptic errors when installing the latest Windows 11 cumulative updates. In addition, some complained about VPN slowdowns that Microsoft subsequently confirmed. Later, Microsoft admitted it could not fix issues with the Local Security Authority feature and offered a temporary workaround.

Hide the Pain harold with a laptop and a red Windows 11 logo indicating bugs

Interestingly, LSA is not the only problem Microsoft has a hard time fixing: the company confirmed the return of the bug causing issues with the Start menu, Office apps, Window Search, UWP apps, and other components. This time, the only workaround as we wait for a real fix is to uninstall specific apps, which might not be acceptable for many.

Finally, Microsoft detailed a weird bug causing internal hard and solid-state drives to show as removable media in Windows 11. Funny enough, it is one of those ancient annoyances from the Windows Vista era, and it still haunts modern Windows versions, such as 11. Luckily, Microsoft has provided a workaround.

It is not all bad news

It is not all negative, though. This week also brought some good news, such as the updated Windows Clock app, in which Microsoft finally mended its "game-changing" feature. After months of neglect, one of Windows 11's productivity-boosting capabilities is working again.

A screenshot of Spotify integration in the Windows CLock app

Another great improvement (do not praise Microsoft for it) is the Weather app infected with ads and MSN News. After a wave of criticism, Microsoft removed all banners and news, resulting in a much cleaner and more pleasant application.

Other app-related news includes the global rollout of the Phone Link app for iOS that now allows you to send iMessage (sort of) from your PC, make calls, and receive notifications. Windows PCs now play much better with iPhones, and it is excellent. Besides, Microsoft has released an update for the Windows Photos app with support for the WebP image format. Windows 11's built-in photo viewer is now much better at handling still exotic and unconventional for many formats, such as WebP or AVIF.

A big Microsoft Edge logo with an IE logo inside it

Internet Explorer lives... wait, what?

This week, Microsoft reverted some of its initial plans to bury the good-old Internet Explorer for good. The company explained that Windows updates would no longer remove visual references from its operating system (icons on the taskbar or Start menu), leaving companies in control over determining the timing to remove IE11. Also, Microsoft would ensure some exceptional scenarios still allow access to IE11 within Edge. So there you go, Internet Explorer is still not dead™.

EU and China say "Go," and Microsoft loves GeForce Now

Every week brings new developments to the ever-going saga of Microsoft trying to get its hands on Activision-Blizzard. After failing to score the green light from the UK, the software giant received approval from the European Union and China.

One of the biggest and most interesting gaming-related news (especially in light of CMA's discontent with the Microsoft-ABK deal) is Microsoft bringing its games to Nvidia's GeForce Now streaming service. The company has announced its plans to let gamers stream Gears 5 and more projects in the future using GeForce Now and not just Xbox Cloud Gaming or xCloud.

GeForce Now promo image

Finally, if you are looking into something new to play, check out the latest addition to the Xbox Game Pass library that now includes FIFA 23, Railway Empire 2, Planet of Lana, and more.

Bing or be careful who you call ugly in Middle School

Bing is no longer Microsoft's unloved child; it gets new updates almost weekly. On May 16, Microsoft announced new AI-powered features to its mobile apps, such as Bing, SwiftKey, Edge, and Skype. Those updates will help you leverage the power of artificial intelligence in your daily life and make things much easier than before.

Microsoft Bing chat

Not so long ago, Microsoft opened Bing Chat to all users, leaving no customer in the waiting line. This week, the company made another notable change with Bing no longer requiring a Microsoft Account to access its artificial intelligence power. It is worth noting, though, that you will not get all features when accessing Bing without an MSA, so the best experience still requires an account.

In addition, Microsoft is rolling out a bunch of features it promised to deliver earlier. Users can now share their conversations with Bing or export them into PDF, text, or Word documents. Finally, the character limit was increased from 2,000 to 4,000, and the service now supports video overlays and extra enhancements in Edge.

Bing's rapid growth and customer interest have made some manufacturers consider swapping Google with Microsoft's upgraded search engine. However, things are not changing in favor of Bing as Samsung has not decided to ditch Google on its smartphones.

A Windows Insider logo next to a sad emoji

No_builds week

The Windows Insider program was quiet this week, with no new builds for those rocking Canary and Dev Channels. All eyes of insiders are now on the upcoming Build 2023 conference, where we want to see some Windows 11-related announcements and details about future updates.

Regarding future updates, reliable sources confirmed this week that the upcoming Windows 11 23H2 update would still arrive as an enablement package based on the 22H2 version with a minor build bump.

A picture showing the sun rising behind a mountain with a large 23H2 script

Although we haven't got any preview builds to test, Microsoft released a few apps and Xbox updates for early trials. For example, the Windows Subsystem for Android received a few neat features improving security and performance thanks to anti-virus software support and memory reallocation. The Xbox app for Windows got a few bugs squashed, and Xbox Insiders received an updated Home experience with improved Reward points integration.

The Surface Duo 2 running Android 12L

As for unofficial updates and projects, the original Surface Duo received another set of drivers that enabled this tiny dual-screen device to run Windows 11. Version 2305.45 brought improved sensor support, compatibility with the Surface app from the Microsoft Store, and more.

Accusations and a new investigation

This week, Twitter sent a letter to the Microsoft CEO complaining that the company has been "improperly using Twitter data" without paying and sharing it without permission. A Microsoft spokesperson was quick to react and told The New York Times that the software giant does not pay Twitter for its data and that Microsoft would review the complaint and respond to it accordingly.

Another not-so-positive story of the week is a new antitrust investigation from the EU. The watchdog is now looking into accusations of Microsoft behaving anti-competitively and abusing its access to confidential information to leverage and compete with other cloud providers.

Fun, useful, and free stuff

Internet Explorer is not the only Microsoft product refusing to die this week. In a surprising move, Microsoft announced a giveaway of an unopened Zune player to help promote Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Although the giveaway sounds extremely exciting, there is one catch: Microsoft does not know if the never opened Zune works ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Am image of a green Zune 8

Adam Bottjen, your source of weekly tips, has published a new guide describing how to stop Edge from automatically loading on Windows startup. It is a handy tip for those wanting to maximize performance on startup and ensure Windows boots as "clean" as possible.

Now to the freebies and discounted stuff: Epic Games is giving away free copies of the highly acclaimed Death Stranding. Also, many games are discounted during the Epic Games Store Mega Sale (coupons included) and you can save up to 90% on games in this weeks Deals with Gold that remain live until Monday. Finally, John Callaham published a guide to all the major streaming gaming events in the next few weeks to help everyone keep up with the upcoming announcements. Dates, time, and where to watch—everything included.

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Signing off

And that is all for the week of May 15, 2023. As we approach the annual Build conference, brace yourself for a massive drop of Microsoft news next week. And to never miss a single Microsoft announcement and support us, subscribe to the Neowin Newsletter.

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