Microsoft Weekly: Many games, few updates, and new Edge builds

The end of the week brings about yet another retrospective post, looking back at the various gaming and update-related news that has surfaced. In addition, Edgium got a new version, and Solitaire was finally recognized for its tremendous role as a game. Be sure to find all that, and the usual bit extra, in your Microsoft digest for the week of April 27- May 3.

Many games

We open with the Games with Gold for May, which are Marooners (Xbox One, redeemable May 1-31), The Golf Club 2 Featuring PGA Tour (Xbox One, redeemable May 16-June 15), Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (Xbox 360, redeemable May 1-15), and Comic Jumper (Xbox 360, redeemable May 16-31). It must be said that an active Xbox Live Gold subscription is required if you want to redeem and play Xbox One freebies, but Xbox 360 titles remain playable even in the absence of an active subscription. If you’re interested, Marooners and EDF: Insect Armageddon can be claimed right now.

Adding onto the never-ending pile of backlog games are two more titles, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, and Trials Evolution. Both are now part of the ever-larger Backward Compatibility list.

Continuing the theme of addition, there’s the pack of games heading to Game Pass in May. There’s a couple already added like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Wargroove, the latter of which is an Xbox Play Anywhere title. Joining them on May 9 are Surviving Mars, Black Desert, and Tacoma (this is another Play Anywhere title), then on May 10 For the King (on launch), followed by The Surge and LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham on May 16.

Those who’ve been waiting for the major 2.0 update to Sea of Thieves can rest assured, as it dropped on schedule on Tuesday. The Anniversary Update of the game brings all of the permanent content for the previous events like Forsaken Shores, Cursed Sails, and so on, with the addition of a competitive Arena mode and a quest like dubbed Tall Tales – Shores of Gold. There’s, of course, more to discover, so I won’t spend time spoiling everything.

If you’re a Mixer user, you will soon be able to get rewards for engaging with game streams. This means streamers will be able to gift subscriptions and Embers, in a similar way to Twitch’s current implementation.

Putting a bit of a damper on things is Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC, which was supposed to begin testing at the end of April. However, it looks like testing has been delayed, with no possible time frame being offered.

Rounding off this section is a contest, held by Xbox Game Pass via Twitter, which gives folks the chance to win an Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr-themed Xbox One X. Unfortunately, it’s only open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (except Quebec).

Few updates

Despite the improved stability of the re-released October 2018 Update, less than 30% of Windows 10 PCs have it installed. Nevertheless, if you happen to be on 1809, here are a couple of updates you need to look out for:

  • KB4501835, build 17763.439 – the majority of the changelog relates to adding proper support for the new Japanese era.
    • Known issues: PXE boot issues on devices with WDS servers configured to use Variable Window Extension; Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); Zone transfers between primary and secondary DNS servers over TCP may fail; Custom URL schemes may not correspond in IE; Systems may hang on devices with ArcaBit antivirus installed.
  • KB4495667, build 17763.475 – beyond the addition of proper support for the Japanese era, it also contains fixes for the URI Schemes bug, IE Automation failures, issues with the LDAP client, and more.
    • Known issues: PXE boot issues on devices with WDS servers configured to use Variable Window Extension; Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); Zone transfers between primary and secondary DNS servers over TCP may fail; Systems may hang on devices with ArcaBit antivirus installed; Attempting to print from Edge or any other UWP app may result in an error; Some Asian language packs installed may receive error 0x800f0982 after installing KB4493509.

Do keep in mind that the two patches above apply to both Windows 10 1809 and Windows Server 2019.

On a somewhat related note, folks in the Fast ring were treated to a brand-new variant of Windows 10 from the 20H1 branch. Build 18890 sadly focuses mostly on fixes for things like the desktop being slow to refresh, not being able to access network shares when booted into Safe Mode with Networking, and more.

The usual array of known issues is still present in 18890, with bugs related to anti-cheat software in games, Realtek SD card readers, Tamper Protection being potentially turned off in Windows Security, and others. Then again, this is pre-release software, so issues are bound to surface due to the development phase in which 20H1 is.

If you use Your Phone, you’ll be happy to know that an update should be rolling out which adds the option to save a photo directly to your PC. Previously, you’d have to share or copy image files from within the app, which was a tad cumbersome for such a simple task. There’s also contact picture syncing and an emoji button to look forward to if you use this app.

New Edge builds

Since the new Chromium-based Edge (we’ll call it Edgium from now on, for convenience) is being updated at a much more rapid pace compared to original Edge, more news about it surfaces.

The first bit of interesting news concerns PWAs from Edgium’s Dev and Canary branches, which will now show up at the top level of the Start Menu. Previously, these would be jammed into a separate folder.

Speaking of the two available branches, Canary has received a spellchecker and the ability to automatically translate pages. These were features promised by Microsoft at the beginning of April and now they’re indeed available. What’s weird is that the availability seems to be random, as our own Rich Woods said during the Neowin Podcast that he’s had the translation feature on Edge Dev for a while.

What is a tad more clear-cut is that Edgium Dev is now at version, which fixes the bug that caused the browser to crash when viewing security certificates in F12 developer tools, as well as the one which prevented Edgium from shutting down cleanly after its first run.

The Dev channel is updated weekly, while the Canary one is updated daily, though we haven’t heard any word about the Beta branch, nor about availability for previous Windows operating systems or other platforms like macOS. That’s most likely going to happen at Build, since that kicks off next week.

The Fast ring

  • The UWP variant of OneNote is set to get page sorting, template creation, and more.
  • Bing Ads has now become Microsoft Advertising.
  • There are now new security features in Microsoft 365, like Advanced Message Encryption.
  • Windows Vision Skills is now available in preview.
  • A number of things were added to Microsoft 365 in April, including Kaizala for Office 365 business customers, multi-language support in PowerPoint’s Editor, and more.
  • Favorite contacts, Teams integration, and other features have come to Office for iOS in the latest update.
  • HoloLens 2 Development Edition is now available for $3,500.
  • IoT Plug and Play has been announced as part of Microsoft’s intelligent edge solutions.
  • Azure AI and a host of machine learning services have been announced.
  • Windows 10 could soon stop tracking keyboard inputs in Chromium browsers in Incognito mode.
  • Some Git repositories have been compromised, with the hacker demanding ransom in bitcoin.
  • This is why there was an Azure global outage on Friday.

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

The end of the column brings a bit of good news for folks who’ve been using Windows since version 3.0 released nearly three decades ago.

If you’ve used this operating system that long, you might be familiar with the game that Windows 3.0 introduced, Microsoft Solitaire. That title, initially included simply to teach folks how to use the mouse, has become a staple of any version of the Redmond giant’s OS.

In recognition of its role in achieving Microsoft’s end goal – teaching users how to make use of the mouse -, but also for its relatively elegant simplicity as a casual game, the title has been inducted in The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame, joining Mortal Kombat, DOOM, Halo: Combat Evolved, and others.

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

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