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Microsoft Weekly: even more Windows 11 ads, Start menu updates and Windows 10 MSA prompts

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In this episode of Microsoft Weekly, we look at even more ads in Windows 11, fresh preview builds, leaked AI PCs, system requirements for the rumored AI Explorer, gaming news, app updates, and many more.

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

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.

Microsoft and AMD announced new Windows 11 AI PCs with new Ryzen 8000 PRO chips. Made for commercial customers, these PCs offer a built-in NPU and the Microsoft Pluton security processor to protect credentials, identities, personal data, encryption keys, and other information.

Later this year, PC manufacturers will launch their AI PCs with Snapdragon X Elite processors inside. Some of those models have already leaked, such as the alleged Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Snapdragon Edition.

Lenovo Slim 7 14

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 Snapdragon Edition and other ARM-powered AI PCs will allegedly have at least one exclusive feature that differentiates them from other computers with Intel and AMD chips. Enthusiasts discovered that code inside Windows 11 version 24H2 mentions hardware requirements for the rumored AI Explorer. According to the finding, you will need a computer with a Snapdragon X Elite processor, a dedicated NPU, at least 16GB of RAM, and a minimum of 225GB of total disk space.

By the way, we will learn more about the Snapdragon X Elite processor next week. Qualcomm published a short teaser promising to reveal some information about its next-gen PC chip on April 24.

A picture of the Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite SoC embargo until 1024 12PM PT

Do you remember that mysterious Microsoft Edge update pushing the unknown Copilot app to all Windows 10 and 11 PCs? We finally have more details about that. Microsoft published a new note in the official documentation, confirming that the thing was a mistake and that 8KB Copilot app does not transmit any data to Microsoft.

The Settings app in Windows 11 with the Copilot app in it

This week, a YouTuber made it possible to run thousands of apps that were previously not compatible with Windows 95. He achieved the seemingly impossible by porting the .NET Framework to Windows 95.

Speaking of apps on more modern Windows versions, it is now easier to download stuff from the Microsoft Store. The app received a major performance upgrade and better algorithms to improve discoverability.

A screenshot of the Microsoft Store UI prompting to install Adobe Photoshop on Windows 11

If you mistakenly installed Windows 10 or 11 Home instead of Pro, you can fix the hiccup without re-installing everything. Did you know that a single registry tweak can switch SKUs? You can learn more about it here. Just keep in mind that you still need a matching SKU license key for activation.

Finally, users noticed that the recently discovered Windows 11 system requirements bypass trick also works on non-LTSC versions of Windows 11 version 24H2.

Windows Insider Program

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

Windows 11 Windows 10
Canary Channel Build 26200 with some general changes and fixes Not Applicable
Dev Channel Build 26100.2 Not Applicable
Beta Channel Build 22635.3500 with the new "Account Manager," widget improvements, and more. Not Applicable
Release Preview Channel Nothing in the Release Preview Channel this week Build 19045.4353 with various minor changes

Build 19045.4353 for Windows 10, which was released in the Release Preview Channel this week, brings a change that some users will find annoying, to say the least. Microsoft plans to add special banners targeting customers with local accounts to prompt them to sign in with a Microsoft Account instead.

Some odd stuff could also be found in this week's Beta build. For some reason, Microsoft decided to hide the "Sign Out" and "Switch User" buttons behind a Microsoft 365 upsell. Now, in build 22635.3500, switching users or signing out requires opening an additional submenu on the new "Account Manager" flyout.

The new Account Manager in Windows 11

Fortunately, build 22635.3500 is not all negative: Microsoft made the recently spotted new Start menu layout notably better, plus fixed the bug with broken context menus. By the way, we published a recap of five cool features coming soon to Windows 11, so check it out in case you missed some of the announcements.

New All apps in grid view grouped by list

Finally, some insiders also received an update for the Windows Photos app. It now features a dedicated Designer button, which lets you quickly transfer a picture into the service for quick edits.

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.

This week, another executive left Microsoft, namely the Surface division. Ralf Groene, the former head of Industrial Design at Microsoft, announced his immediate departure from the company. This is another big shift in the company following Panos Panay's departure a few months ago.

The Surface family with all the latest devices

Microsoft released Edge 124 in the Stable Channel. The latest feature update packs multiple changes for business customers, patches for security vulnerabilities, and general fixes that benefit all users, including regular ones.

Microsoft has announced the end of support date for Office 2016 and Office 2019. Those productivity apps will reach their end of life on October 14, 2025. Besides apps, Microsoft will stop supporting related productivity servers, such as Exchange Server and Skype for Business Server.

Speaking of Office, Microsoft 365 Insiders on Windows can try out a new feature that makes it easier to write and annotate with a stylus. The latest update adds handwriting straightening in OneNote for Windows. In addition, Microsoft released OneNote for those who own Apple Vision Pro.

onenote vision pro

Now, here is some creepy stuff: Microsoft unveiled its newest AI framework for generating lifelike talking faces using only one picture and one audio clip. However, the company understands how serious of a problem the thing could be, so it is not going to release it to the general public any time soon. But if you want to see Mona Lisa rap, check it out below. We are just not sure where Microsoft sourced a sample of Mona Lisa speaking.

Microsoft also released a bunch of firmware updates for its Surface computers. The Surface Pro 10 for Business and the Surface Laptop 6 for Business got quite a big update with day-one patches to improve your user experience. Also, the Surface Laptop 4 with Intel chips got fixes for USB-C charging and display output.

The Surface Laptop 6 for Business

On the third-party side, Logitech released a new update for the Options+ app, which now features the so-called Logi AI Prompt Builder for custom ChatGPT prompts. The tool is available on all supported Logitech accessories, but there is now also a special edition mouse with a dedicated ChatGPT key. Yes, Microsoft is not the only one pushing gimmicky buttons on your devices.

A Logitech Mouse with a dedicated button for Logi AI Prompt Builder

WinToys, a neat app for tweaking and optimizing Windows, has been updated to version 1.3. The latest release adds a few useful features, such as the ability to detect processes that keep on waking up your PC, a shortcut to the memory diagnostic feature, and more.

The list of browsers natively optimized for Windows on ARM is growing. Following the release of Chrome for ARM, Vivaldi is updating its browser as well. However, the ARM64-native version is currently available in a snapshot, which means it will take some time before landing in the stable channel.

Finally, Mozilla released Firefox 125 in the Release Channel, delivering its customers improved AV1 video streaming, the ability to highlight PDF documents, and more.

Other notable updates include the following:

And here are the newest drivers released this week:

Finally, here is the latest recap of new features coming soon to Microsoft 365 apps.

On the gaming side

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

Microsoft announced a new home for Xbox Insider release notes. Now, details for each preview update are available on the official Xbox Support website instead of the Xbox Wire blog.

Xbox Insiders in the Beta and Delta Ring can now play more cloud games using mice and keyboards. This week, Microsoft announced that House Flipper, Cities: Skylines, Norco, Quake, Quake 2, Terraria, and other games now support traditional PC inputs when played using Xbox Cloud Gaming.

In addition, Microsoft revealed that Xbox Mastercard, a credit card made in partnership with Barclays, is now available to all United States residents. Previously, it was only available to Xbox Insiders.

Microsoft xbox mastercard

Just a few weeks before the release of Sea of Thieves on PlayStation 5, Rare revealed that over 40 million people had played the game on Xbox and Windows PCs. You can play Sea of Thieves on PC and Xbox via the Game Pass subscription, which is getting more games, such as Manor Lords, Harold Halibut, and more.

Xbox Game Pass

Microsoft Flight Simulator City Update 6 delivers upgraded visuals of Southwest Germany, namely Mannheim, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Esslingen, and Kehl in Germany, as well as the French city of Strasbourg.

Flight Simulator Southwest Germany

Nvidia GeForce NOW now lets you play six more games. The latest additions include Kill It With Fire 2, The Crew Motorfest, No Rest for the Wicked, Evil West, Lightyear, and Tomb Raider I-III Remastered. At the same time, the service is ditching League of Legends.

Deals and freebies

You still have a couple of days to participate in the Steam FPS Fest, which features hundreds of first-person games on sale. The Epic Games Store is giving away The Big Con, a comedic game where you play as a runaway teen doing all sorts of questionable and illegal stuff, like picking pockets, stealing, etc. The game is up for grabs until next Thursday.

The Big Con

This news from Colossal Order technically qualifies as a "freebie" as well, so here you go: the studio is now refunding gamers who bought Cities: Skylines II DLC. The developer said that the DLC was rushed and should not have been released in its state.

Cities Skylines 2 Beach Properties DLC

If you play games on Xbox, you will be glad to know that Microsoft and Apple are giving away three months of Apple TV+.

You can find more deals in our latest Weekend PC Game Deals article.

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.

PC components and accessories:

TVs and monitors:

Computers and tablets:

Other gadgets:

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.

25 years ago, Microsoft unveiled the IntelliMouse Explorer mouse. What is so special about a mouse that will soon turn three decades old? This week's look-back article from John commemorates the first mouse with an optical sensor that was made for the home PC market. The thing was not cheap, though. It would set you back $74.95 in 1995, which roughly translates to $150 in today's money. But hey, you gotta pay for revolutionary new technology.

Microsoft intellimouse explorer

In addition, here is a story of how Microsoft once nearly fired a software engineer who implemented native ZIP support in Windows many years ago.

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