When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works.

Microsoft Weekly: Microsoft celebrates 49 years and Windows 11 fights UI customization apps

A Microsoft Weekly Banner

In this episode of Microsoft Weekly, we look at leaked Windows 11 LTSC builds, version 24H2 RTM builds, fights between Microsoft and Windows 11 UI customization apps, more management shifts in Microsoft, app updates, Microsoft turning 49, and more.

Table of contents:

  1. Windows 10 and 11 news
  2. Windows Insider Program
  3. Updates are available
  4. Gaming news
  5. Random fact about Microsoft
  6. Great deals to check

This week's Microsoft Weekly kicks off with a celebration of Microsoft's 49th birthday. On April 4, 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded the company that would soon become a $3 trillion software giant. To celebrate the occasion, we published a brief list of interesting tidbits about Microsoft and its history.

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.

At the beginning of each month, we look at fresh reports from Statcounter, which let us track the popularity of different Windows versions and desktop browsers. In March 2024, Windows 11 lost a bit of its audience (according to Statcounter), including gaming (according to Valve). As for Microsoft Edge, its market share decreased just a little.

A chart showing market shares of different Windows versions

Last week, Microsoft released the Windows 11 Moment 5 Update as the March 2024 optional non-security update (some are already getting it without any notice). If you want to give it a spin, beware of potential issues, as reported by affected customers. Things might get a little better after installing KB5036567, which should improve Windows Recovery features.

After the Moment 5 Update, Microsoft will release version 24H2. The next Windows 11 version should hit RTM this month, but most of its features are only expected in September 2024. To learn more about the alleged 24H2 release timeline, check out this article. Despite the imminent RTM, the OS reportedly contains quite a lot of bugs.

This week, we witnessed the first leak of the first Windows 11 LTSC release. Microsoft confirmed that its current OS would be available in the Long-Term Servicing Channel about a year ago, and now, we finally know where to expect it. Windows 11 LTSC build 26100 leaked in its full glory, and Microsoft itself later confirmed the existence of Windows 11 LTSC 2024 in the official documentation.

Leaked Windows 11 LTSC build

Speaking of version 24H2, some interesting stuff is going on with it not liking UI personalization apps, such as StartAllBack. Without any warning, Microsoft started flagging StartAllBack as one causing performance or security issues. Besides not letting you launch it on 24H2, Microsoft even prevents you from upgrading to newer builds. The same thing happened to ExplorerPatcher as well.

ExplorerPatcher error in Windows 11 version 24h2

But it is not only Microsoft that is doing some questionable stuff. Google, for example, was caught overwriting DNS settings in Windows with its own after you installed its VPN.

Moving to Windows 10, Microsoft confirmed that some Windows 10 machines experience issues with Microsoft Connected Cache. This feature offers software-based caching to deliver Windows updates, apps, and security definitions within corporate networks. While the company is working on resolving the issue, IT admins can apply temporary workarounds. Microsoft also reported that it fixed the bug with a broken System Preparation Tool in Windows 10.

The company is also getting ready to launch the Extended Security Program for Windows 10. It will kick off in less than two years, and we already have the official information about its prices. Additional security updates for Windows 10 after October 2025 will cost $61 per year per device. There are also additional offers, such as a discount for those using cloud-based update management solutions and Windows 365.

As for regular consumers, Microsoft said it would make a separate announcement with prices and policies.

Finally, here is a neat tool that lets you customize the Start menu in Windows 11 beyond its stock and quite limited capabilities. It cannot make it look as sexy as the concept below, but it is still something.

concept showing aero effect in Windows 11

Windows Insider Program

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

Windows 11 Windows 10
Canary Channel Build 26100 Not Applicable
Dev Channel Not Applicable
Beta Channel Build 22635.3430 Not Applicable
Release Preview Channel Nothing in the Release Preview Channel this week

The company also released a new version of the Photos app for Dev and Canary Insiders. The biggest change is that the app is now based on Windows App SDK. Microsoft said the change would bring modern UI and "other quality and performance improvements."

In addition, Windows Insiders can try a new Microsoft Store update, which delivers significant performance improvements.

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, big things happened in Microsoft's productivity apps. The company finally gave in and decided to separate Microsoft Teams from the rest of its Office suite, not just in Europe but worldwide. The move means Microsoft will let its customers purchase Teams without Office apps and Office apps without Teams.

Microsoft released PowerToys version 0.80 with Desired State Configuration support and new features for the Peek module. The latter now lets you preview audio and WebP/WebM files. The update also contains a traditionally long list of improvements for existing utilities.

A custom PowerToys logo with a frosted glass background and rainbow stripes

Microsoft Edge 125 is now available for testing in the Dev Channel. Version 125.0.2492 arrived this week, bringing users fixes for crashes when using favorites, PDF documents, and more. In the Stable Channel, Edge 123 received fixes for five security vulnerabilities—three in Chromium and two Edge-specific.

On the mobile side, users discovered that Edge Canary on Android now lets you install any desktop extension from the Edge Add-ons store. The process is a bit tricky and not very stable, but if you are willing to try, check out this article.

Extensions in Edge for Android

Microsoft also published a detailed FAQ about the XZ Utils vulnerability in Linux, which was accidentally discovered by a Microsoft employee. The FAQ offers detailed recommendations for affected users.

If you need a Windows-based virtual machine for app development, experimentation, or just to poke around Microsoft's latest operating system, check out the updated Windows Development Environment. It is a set of prebuilt Windows 11 virtual machines with a bunch of extra stuff inside. Version 2403 is now available for download with the March 2024 updates. You can use those virtual machines without activation for 90 days.

Other notable updates include the following:

And here are the newest drivers released this week:

Finally, here is our latest weekly recap of everything new that Microsoft added to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap. The upcoming features include a new ringless experience for Teams chats, meeting transcript consent prompts, and more.

On the gaming side

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

A new report emerged this week about Kareem Choudhry, Corporate Vice President of Xbox, leaving Microsoft after 26 years in the company. There is no information on why Kareem decided to leave nor where he heads after working for over two decades at Microsoft.

Microsoft has announced a new Special Edition Controller. The Nocturnal Vapor has a smoky pattern with dark green color accents, which is unique to each gamepad. You can pre-order the controller for $69.99. Shipments begin on April 9.

Xbox Nocturnal Vapor Special Edition Controller

Microsoft unveiled the first wave of new games for Xbox and PC Game Pass in April 2024. They include Shadow of the Tomb Raider, EA Sports PGA Tour, LEGO 2K Drive, Kona, Botany Manor, and other titles. Some of those games are already playable, while others will join during the next two weeks.

Xbox Game Pass

Nvidia also refreshed the list of games playable on its GeForce NOW cloud streaming service with The Elder Scrolls Online. Also, the Ultimate plan, which lets you access the beefiest hardware, the highest resolutions, and the highest frame rates, is now available in Japan.

If you play Minecraft on a computer with 32-bit Windows or macOS, you better update your device since the game will soon require a 64-bit OS. The latest Minecraft snapshot no longer works on 32-bit Windows and macOS.

Minecraft screenshot

Sea of Thieves is among the first Xbox exclusive to hit PlayStation later this month. This week, Rare unveiled some details about the upcoming launch, such as cross-platform progression, cross-play, DualSense support, and more.

Sea of Thieves PS5 features overview

Here are some other gaming stories from this week:

Deals and Freebies

The Epic Game Store is giving away The Outer Worlds Spacer's Choice Edition and Thief. Both games are up for grabs until the next Thursday. If that is not enough for you, check out our Weekend PC Game Deals Series. You will find there fresh bundles, free events, and a metric ton of discounts across different game stores.

The Outer Worlds and Thief art

    Random fact about Microsoft

    Here is a randomly selected piece of trivia about the company, Windows, and other Microsoft-made things.

    Microsoft once experimented with a feature that allowed you to group different Office files into one. Called Microsoft Binder, the app was part of Microsoft Office 95, 97, and 2000. However, its complexity led to low usage among users, and the company was forced to discontinue it in Office XP.

    The Microsoft Binder app
    Image credit: Andrew Nile

    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.


    Monitors and TVs:

    PC Components and Accessories:


    Neowin Newsletter promo banner

    This link will take you to other issues of the Microsoft Weekly series. You can also support Neowin by subscribing to our newsletter to receive regular news recaps directly in your email.

    Report a problem with article
    The Apple iPad 10th gen tablet
    Next Article

    New low-cost Apple iPad and iPad mini may not launch until late 2024

    GameSire Nova Controller
    Previous Article

    GameSir Nova Review: a controller with hall effect sticks, 250Hz Bluetooth & A+ calibration

    Join the conversation!

    Login or Sign Up to read and post a comment.

    2 Comments - Add comment