Microsoft Weekly: Edge for gamers, no Windows for Russia, and a few builds

Microsoft Weekly image with Edge loves Xbox controller on the left and an angry emoji above a crosse

It's the end of yet another week in the month of June and you know what that means: another Microsoft Weekly edition! This time, we have a lot of news about Microsoft Edge, some related to Windows builds, and a sprinkle of news items related to Microsoft's closure of Windows downloads in Russia. Let's dive into our weekly digest for June 18 - June 24!

Microsoft Edge loves gamers

Logos for Edge and an Xbox controller on the sides with a heart logo in the center

Microsoft took on a new initiative this week, pitching Edge as the best browser for gamers. To solidify its claims, it has released some new capabilities including a dedicated homepage to find out about the latest in gaming, the ability to launch Xbox Cloud Gaming titles seamlessly, Clarity Boost, a new configuration for Efficiency mode, and a side panel to access casual titles like Microsoft Solitaire.

But if you think that this is bloat, boy, you better brace yourself. Microsoft is testing a built-in calculator in Edge, a tool to test internet speed, and a unit converter. It truly does feel like Microsoft thinks of Edge as an OS rather than a browser.

Now coming over to the capabilities and improvements that you would typically expect from a browser, Edge DevTools has an improved 3D View tool to visualize issues in web development, you can find all the technical details here.

Meanwhile, Edge Canary and Dev sport a new feature that allows you to launch a command bar to quickly access and invoke some basic browser settings without having to go to the dedicated section. It's a handy capability to have but there's no concrete timeline for its release yet.

Finally, Edge 103 hit the Stable Channel with automatic profile switching, client certificate switching, better security, and a bunch of new policies in tow. Find out all the details here.

No Windows for Russia

A Microsoft logo in front of a flag of Russia

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft announced in March that it is halting the new sales of its products and services in the country. Then earlier this month, it downsized its operations in Russia too, a move which affected 400 employees.

Now, the effects of all these actions can be felt by Russian consumers too. Multiple reports emerged earlier this week confirming that people in the country cannot download Windows 10 or Windows 11 ISOs from Microsoft's portals anymore. While there are obviously workarounds such as using a VPN to bypass these restrictions, it's clear that Microsoft doesn't plan to officially support new customers.

This does not only impact the generally available versions of Windows. Apparently, Insider builds are not being seeded via Windows Update either. Again, a VPN can be used to bypass this block, but there's no knowing if Microsoft will offer support to customers facing issues while using its OS.

Meanwhile, for those still receiving Windows updates, Microsoft has decided to roll back the KB5014019 Cumulative Update made available in this month's Patch Tuesday because it's causing issues with IE mode tabs in Edge. This is a significant issue now for those with legacy use-cases because the company has ended support for Internet Explorer on most versions of Windows and recommended IE mode in Edge as the way forward.

In a similar category of news, Microsoft rolled out an out-of-band (OOB) update to fix some Azure Active Directory (AAD) and Microsoft 365 sign-in issues for ARM devices. This update is available for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 users. There is also an optional Windows 11 update in store for those who are affected by Wi-Fi hotpots being broken with the latest Patch Tuesday. Although the issue also affects Windows 10, a fix is not available for that OS yet.

Windows Insider builds galore

The Windows 11 logo with the stock wallpaper on the background

Build 25145 made its way to the Windows 11 Dev Channel earlier this week with a bunch of new features. It includes better support for Braille devices, an enhanced mechanism for OneDrive storage and alerts management, and native implementation of Local Administrator Password Solution (LAPS) in Windows. It is important to note that this is a Sun Valley 3 build so don't expect these changes to land in the generally available version of Windows 11 this year.

But if you want to know if your PC is eligible for Windows 11 version 22H2 or not, check out this cool registry trick here. And if you want to bypass the version's Microsoft Account requirement, you should probably have a look at Rufus 3.19.

The Dev channel also received build 25145.1011 later but that was a just a release for Microsoft to test its servicing pipeline, it does not contain any changes.

Microsoft did confirm that the latest Windows 11 Insider builds have broken Visual Studio and .NET, and a fix is coming. But considering that Insider builds aren't meant for production environments, this should not be a mission-critical problem for people. In somewhat related news, we also know that the Redmond tech firm has started testing Privacy Auditing tools in Windows 11, which will allow you to see which of your software accessed sensitive hardware such as the mic or the camera.

Microsoft seeded Windows 10 build 19044.1806 (KB5014666) to the Release Preview Channel. It contains a bunch of technical changes including IP address auditing and new Print and Scan features.

Coming over to optional updates, we finally have some proof that Windows 10 version 22H2 is coming. Although it's a bit tricky to enable this version, it's probably not worth doing considering that the update doesn't really pack any new features.

Meanwhile, Windows 11's optional update has introduced Search Highlights along with a bunch of other changes and bug fixes, read all about them here.

Those still on Windows 8.1 for whatever reason should also know that Microsoft will start reminding users that the OS is reaching its end of life on January 10, 2023. The company has recommended people to upgrade to a new Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC.

Talking about Windows updates, an interesting tidbit that emerged this week is that the European Space Agency (ESA) is upgrading the software of its MARSIS Mars water-finder. Software for the equipment was designed in a development environment based on Windows 98.

Git gud

Master Chief helmet surrounded by Halo game covers

This edition of Microsoft Weekly does not have as lengthy of a gaming section as the one we had last week, which is primarily due to the fact that there was no Xbox Bethesda Showcase this time around. However, there is still some ground to cover.

Microsoft has issued a warning about an Xbox Wireless Controller shortage across Europe. Although the U.S. appears to be unaffected, it's probably not a good idea have a controller break within the next few weeks.

The company has also announced that it is working on implementing a micro-transactions mechanism in Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Fan reaction has obviously been largely negative with players asking why faster level ups and more point accruing systems are not being implemented instead of capping progress and offering a new monetized option for gaining cosmetics.

But coming over to the good stuff, a bunch of heavy hitters including FIFA 22, Far Cry 5, and Total War: Three Kingdoms have hit Xbox Game Pass. In related news, Dead Island: Riptide and theHunter: Call of the Wild are also available to play for free until tomorrow via the Free Play Days promotion, but it is only eligible for those who have an Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription.

But if you would rather pay to own games, check out this week's Deals with Gold discounts headlined by Battlefield and Mortal Kombat. However, if you're a PC purist, don't miss out on this massive collection of deals across various storefronts, personally curated by Neowin News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.

Dev Channel

winget upgrade command running on CMD on a Windows 10 desktop

Under the spotlight

Windows 11 logo on a bloom wallpaper desktop with thumbs up and thumbs down emoji on the sides

This week, I wrote a piece commemorating the one-year anniversary of Windows 11 being formally announced by Microsoft. It's been a bit of a bumpy road for the OS so far, but all hope isn't lost yet. Let us know what you think about the OS here and don't forget to vote in the embedded poll too!

Warwagon Tech Tip Tuesday on a Windows 10 wallpaper with 99F Sunny written

Meanwhile, forum member Adam Bottjen - better known as Warwagon - wrote the second edition of his Tech Tip Tuesday series. This time, he has a brief guide about how to disable the "open on hover" behavior of the weather icon in Windows 10, which is a handy tip to know if that particular UX behavior bothers you.

Logging off

A gravestone for Internet Explorer saying that He was a good tool to download other browsers

Our most interesting news item between the previous edition of Microsoft Weekly and this one is about a faux gravestone commemorating the death of Internet Explorer. It's placed in South Korea with the gravestone text being "He was a good tool to download other browsers". The $330 piece was funded by a local software engineer, you can read all the fun details here.

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