Microsoft Weekly: Game testing, Insider updates, and dual screens

This past week we got to see invites go out for Halo CE testing on PC, the release of the Windows 10X emulator, and even the expected set of updates for Patch Tuesday. You can find that – as well as the usual little bit extra – below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of February 9 – 14.

Game testing

Since it’s right up there in the section title, let’s get it out of the way first: testing for Halo: Combat Evolved on PC has begun, and is set to take 10 days during this first round. Tests will be conducted via both the Microsoft Store and Steam versions of the game.

Not to be overshadowed, Alpha invites for Flight Simulator have also started rolling out, with the game’s SDK receiving an update as well. In case you were wondering, the next two episodes of the Feature Discovery series (6 and 7) have also been revealed. The former will be available next week, and focus on airports, while the latter will arrive March 5 and take a closer look at instrument flight rules (IFR).

If you have an iOS device, the Project xCloud preview is now available for you, though with some restrictions. First off, it’s only for those in the U.S., UK, or Canada, it only supports xCloud and not Console Streaming, and there’s currently a singular title on offer: Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Microsoft says the latter is due to App Store policy. It’s worth noting that TestFlight apps such as these are limited to 10,000 testers, meaning invites will be on a first come, first serve basis, and the company may kick some folks off the program to make room for new testers.

If you’re an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, you are able to play NBA 2K20, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, and Sonic Mania for free until February 16 at 11:59PM PT. All of these titles are also heavily discounted in case you want to own them. Don’t forget that Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars Battlefront (the original), and TT Isle of Man can now be claimed for free as part of the Games with Gold program.

Finally, in a bit of first-party news, players will soon be able to change their pirate’s appearance in Sea of Thieves, and State of Decay 2 is soon to get its Juggernaut Edition. This is a free update for all owners, and has all previous DLC, a new map, and more. Slated to arrive on March 13 for Windows 10, Xbox One, Game Pass, as its newest platform, Steam.

Insider updates

It should come as no surprise that the second Tuesday of the month is Patch Tuesday, which is why all supported Windows versions got patches. Let’s start with Windows 8.1 and its server variant:

  • Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2: KB4537803 (security-only), KB4537821 (monthly rollup) – it includes security updates for Microsoft Graphics, Input and Composition, Media, Shell, Windows Fundamentals, Peripherals, Network Security and Containers, Hyper-V, Storage and Filesystems, and Server. In addition to the ones already mentioned, the monthly rollup also disables the Microsoft Visual Basic Script by default in the Internet and Restricted sites zones in IE and the WebBrowser control.

    • Known issue: Operations like rename that are performed on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5), which occurs when you perform the operations on a CSV owner node form a process that doesn’t have administrator privileges.

Here's what you need to be on the lookout for, if you’re running Windows 10:

  • May 2019 Update / November 2019 Update (1903/1909): KB4532693, build 18362.657 / 18363.657 – improves the installation experience when updating from 1903, improves the security of IE and Edge, Office, and input devices such as a mouse, keyboard, or stylus.

  • October 2018 Update (1809): KB4532691, build 17763.1039 – includes updates for storing and managing files, as well as security updates for IE and Edge, Office, and for use of external devices like controllers, printers, webcams, mice, keyboards, and styluses.

    • Known issues: Operations like rename that are performed on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5), which occurs when you perform the operations on a CSV owner node form a process that doesn’t have administrator privileges; After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs installed may receive error “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”

  • April 2018 Update (1803) Education, Enterprise, Server 2016: KB4537762, build 17134.1304 – identical updates to 1809.

    • Known issue: Operations like rename that are performed on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5), which occurs when you perform the operations on a CSV owner node form a process that doesn’t have administrator privileges.

  • Fall Creators Update (1709): KB4537789, build 16299.1686 – includes security updates for IE, Edge, Graphics, Input and Composition, Windows Media, Shell, Scripting Engine, Fundamentals, Cryptography, Core Networking, Peripherals, Security and Containers, Storage and Filesystems, Windows Server.

    • Known issue: Operations like rename that are performed on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5), which occurs when you perform the operations on a CSV owner node form a process that doesn’t have administrator privileges.

  • Creators Update (1703) for Surface Hub: KB4537765, build 15063.2284 – addresses an issue that might cause the Application Virtualization (App-V) Streaming Driver (appvstr.sys) to leak memory when you enable Shared Content Store (SCS) mode. It also includes the same security updates as found in the version above.

  • Anniversary Update (1607) LTSB, Server 2016: KB4537764, build 14393.3504 – identical updates to 1709 and 1803.

    • Known issues: After installing KB4467684, the cluster service may fail to start with the error “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort) if the group policy “Minimum Password Length” is configured with greater than 14 characters); Operations like rename that are performed on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5), which occurs when you perform the operations on a CSV owner node form a process that doesn’t have administrator privileges.

  • Windows 10 RTM LTSB (1507): KB4537776, build 10240.18486 – identical updates to the other patched versions.

    • Known issue: Operations like rename that are performed on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5), which occurs when you perform the operations on a CSV owner node form a process that doesn’t have administrator privileges.

While we’re on the subject of updates, it’s worth noting that a server-side fix is in place for folks that have experienced the Windows 10 search issue. There’s also an issue to be aware of concerning KB4524244, an update which was initially offered to all supported variants of Windows 10, but has since been pulled. It caused issues with Reset this PC, as well as “issues trying to install of after installing” said update. It affected a subset of devices, but even so, Microsoft has decided not to re-offer this patch.

Finally, if you’re on Windows 7 and are experiencing the bug that won’t let you shut down the PC, there’s now an unofficial workaround.

Moving on to the Insider Program, testers got build 19041.84 from the 20H1 branch in the Slow ring, which brought a number of security updates and an issue related to Windows running a scheduled task during a maintenance window, causing PCs to get into an unbootable state.

If you chose the Fast ring for your Insider testing you will have gotten build 19564 from the nebulous Windows 10 vNext branch, which brought with it improvements to Graphics Settings, as well as a preview of the new Calendar app.

As far as fixes go, this build contained quite a few of them, ranging from addressing issues related to East Asian IMEs to WSL, system time unexpectedly jumping forward, File Explorer not calculating the correct folder size in Properties, and more. The known issues list has remained unchanged.

Dual screens

As it so happens, February 11 wasn’t just Patch Tuesday, but also when Microsoft kicked off its Developer Day event focused on dual-screen devices.

In an absolutely expected development, the company not only released the Windows10X emulator, but also updated the one for the Surface Duo. You can check out our hands-on with the former right here.

It may not come as a shock to those who have followed the story so far, but Win32 apps will actually work on Windows 10X, albeit inside containers. This is similar to what the company currently uses for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and every Win32 app will be running on the same container. What this means for example, is that you won’t be able to manually install drivers via executable files.

Because of a couple of failures during the Surface Duo Developer Day demos, Microsoft did actually go back and change some of its on-demand content. After all, it wants to show folks how the features are supposed to work, not how they don’t. As this is still early, it’s not an issue.

For folks who just can’t get enough of the Surface Duo ringtone that was present in Microsoft’s promo video, there’s some good news. The company has trademarked it and you are now able to download said ringtone.

The Fast ring

Hot corner

Hot corner is a section of The Fast ring dedicated to highlighting five Microsoft-related stories that haven’t been covered over here, but might be of interest.

Logging off

We end the column with some news concerning Edge testing channels, and a feature that was missing at the launch of Chromium Edge.

First up is Edge Dev, build 81.0.416.3 of which was pushed out this week, adding a number of minor features from a blue colour on the account button for InPrivate windows, to Collections sync for all channels that have this feature available. Furthermore, saving a PDF should no longer crash the relevant tab, nor should the entire browser crash anymore during the First Run Experience.

The second and final point concerns Edge Canary and a feature that was missing when the browser first launched: extension syncing. Though it may not be available for everybody in the Canary channel currently, you should be able to toggle this feature on if you’re running at least build 82.0.424.0. History sync isn’t present yet, but at least steps are being taken to address the feature gap. It’s certainly being done at a faster pace than legacy Edge, that’s for sure.

Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.

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