Welcome a new edition of Microsoft Weekly where we recap everything important that happened in the world of Microsoft in the past few days. This was a relatively quieter week, likely due to the incoming holiday season, but we still have some news to cover regarding (more) Windows issues, a surprise fine on Bing, and some updates to Microsoft Teams and Excel. Without further ado, let's dive into our weekly digest for December 17 - December 23!
A new set of Windows bugs and fixes
For the past few weeks, it seems like Windows bugs and issues are occupying a dedicated and significant section of our Microsoft Weekly articles, and this week is no different.
We'll start off with a Windows 10 issue which rose from the latest Patch Tuesday update and causes a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) with the error code "0xc000021a" on some systems due to a mismatch between HIDPARSE system files (hidparse.sys) in two different system directories. Although there is a workaround for now, it seems like we will have to wait until next month's Patch Tuesday update for a more permanent fix.
Fortunately, the rest of the section related to bugs in Microsoft software is about fixes being made available for them. Android 13 recently broke the Intune enrollment process for Samsung devices, but it has now been patched. Some user actions are required though so do read the instructions here.
Additionally, Microsoft has resolved an Outlook on Windows bug where multiple calendars would display incorrect meetings and timeslots. Interestingly, a potential reason that caused the issue was a low screen DPI.
Next up, Network Adapter issues in Hyper-V hosts managed by Software Defined Networking (SDN) configured System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) in Windows Server 2022 have been squashed as well. And new versions of Intel drivers for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have also been made available to resolve problems related to streaming glitches, degraded downlink, and stability in Windows 10 and Windows 11.
A Bing fine
Microsoft's Bing search engine finally got some attention this week, but some of it probably wasn't what it wanted. Basically, the Redmond tech giant has been slapped with a €60 million fine by the French data protection agency, CNIL, for not offering an opt-out for cookies in Bing. It has also been asked to include consent for ad fraud detection cookies but the company has indicated apprehension at this requirement, saying that these types of cookies "shouldn’t require consent by those intending to defraud others."
In a bit of more positive news, Microsoft has partnered with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to provide satellite imagery for its Santa tracker this year. The 3D version of the tracker powered by the satellite imagery provided by Bing Maps API is now live on the dedicated portal here.
Teams and Excel updates
Microsoft also shared some updates regarding new Teams and Excel features. When it comes to the former, the company is working on an "enhanced visual layout" for the desktop client that should make app engagement and discovery easier. This will apparently be enabled via a flyout UI, but implementation details have not been disclosed yet, given that the feature is not due until February 2023.
The Redmond tech giant also shared a list of all the capabilities that it added to Excel during this month. Highlights include Formula Suggestions, Formula Fill, an enhanced IMAGE function, and a new shortcut to launch the Power Query editor.
Finally, if you are still using Basic Authentication in Exchange Online, your time's almost up. Microsoft will start permanently disabling this method in favor of Modern Authentication (OAuth 2.0) next month for lots of protocols including MAPI, RPC, Offline Address Book (OAB), Exchange Web Services (EWS), POP, IMAP, Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), and Remote PowerShell. SMTP AUTH is unaffected but Microsoft doesn't recommend using Basic Auth for that either.
On the gaming side of things, we have a few interesting items. A group of 10 gamers has sued Microsoft over its proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It is pertinent to note that three of them game exclusively on PlayStation. It is yet to be seen if their arguments for denying the acquisition hold any weight in court.
Meanwhile, some recent testing has revealed some pretty decent advantages of utilizing DirectStorage in Windows 11 games. That said, additional effort from developers is needed to leverage the benefits of the technology. As such, mass adoption of the APIs is still under question.
What will make Microsoft happier though is that High on Life is a massive Xbox Game Pass hit. The title has broken several records on the service including it being the biggest launch of 2022, the biggest third-party game launch of all time, as well as the biggest single-player only game launch on the service since its debut.
Under the spotlight
If you are using Windows 11 but are not happy with some of the design choices, our resident News Reporter Taras Buria may have a couple of guides that may interest you. For example, if you are using a stable build of Windows 11 version 22H2, you can follow these instructions to revert to the old Search button.
And if you're using a preview build of Windows 11 and have an inexplicable desire to use stickers on your Windows 11 desktop through a secret method, Taras has you covered there too.
But if you're a gamer and do not care for these shenanigans, sound off about what gaming capabilities you want in Windows 11 here.
Lastly, do not forget to check out forum member Adam Bottjen's latest Tech Tip Tuesday article which talks about the process to audit sites to whom you have granted notification access.
Our most interesting news item of the week relates to Meta settling a class-action lawsuit concerning the 2018 Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal for $725 million. This amount is the most that Meta has ever agreed to pay to resolve a private class-action lawsuit and is also the largest financial restitution in a data privacy class-action to date. While awareness of the scandal which exposed the private data of millions of Facebook users brought along many benefits such as increased scrutiny of big tech, better laws, and heavy fines, Meta has made no admission of wrongdoing in the matter as part of the settlement agreement.
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