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Microsoft Weekly: New Windows 11 features, Edge upgrades, and Teams enhancements

Microsoft Weekly graphic with Windows 11 logo and color wheels on the left and Teams and Edge icons

We are racing towards the end of the year, but for now, the end of the week brings a new edition of Microsoft Weekly. This time, we have news about a bunch of new Windows 11 features as well as upgrades to Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams. Without further ado, let's dive into our weekly digest for December 3 - December 9!

New capabilities in Windows 11

Windows 11 logo with a red background

A few days ago, Microsoft began offering Windows 11 to Windows 10 version 22H2 users as part of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE) for the first time. This process is only visible for eligible devices who receive KB5020683. And talking about upgrading to Windows 11, you should probably consider doing so if you're still on Windows 8.1, as the OS is about to run out of support. In fact, you could still use your older Windows 7 license key (if you still have one) to upgrade for free. If you're uncertain about Microsoft's latest OS, you could even give its updated Windows 11 virtual machines a go.

But before you upgrade, you might want to be aware of some recent bugs that are plaguing the OS. Some Windows 10 and Windows 11 customers may experience database connectivity issues for some apps that utilize ODBC connectors. In fact, Microsoft is even rolling out KB5012170 to Windows 11 version 22H2 even though it has known bugs.

That said, the latest Windows 11 Beta build 22623.108 has fixed a whole bunch of Taskbar issues. On the other hand, Microsoft has confirmed a truckload of known issues in the latest Dev Channel build 25262. It does contain a bug fix for Windows Search along with Auto Color Management (ACM) for more users and the ability to leverage Widgets without a Microsoft Account though.

Speaking of bugs, Microsoft's latest Bug Bash spilled the beans early on screen recording capabilities in tow for Snipping Tool. Shortly after, it became available in the Dev Channel with some limitations and known issues. Similarly, Dev Channel users also netted video folders in Media Player. And it seems like Microsoft has already started enabling other "Moment 3" and "Moment 4" features in Windows 11 too.

Edge upgrades

Microsoft Edge browser

Earlier in the week, Microsoft rolled out an update to Edge 108, with the latest version being 108.0.1462.42. The highlight of this release is a more secure encryption policy with TLS-encrypted Client Hello (ECH) that helps enhance privacy, but there are other improvements in tow too.

The Redmond tech firm released an Edge 110 build in the Dev Channel and although the changelog is quite lengthy, one thing in particular to remember is that Chromium 110 is dropping support for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1, which also means that Edge 110 won't support these OSes either. Microsoft has already published a formal blog post on the topic and Google Chrome is also showing prompts about end-of-support for the legacy operating systems while urging users to upgrade to Windows 10 or Windows 11.

In other news, Microsoft will support Manifest V2-based extensions in Edge until at least January 2024, following the footsteps of Google Chrome. The company will continue monitoring feedback on the subject but will eventually stop accepting updates for Manifest V2 extensions eventually.

In terms of some recent enhancements to Edge, you'll be happy to know that the browser has finally gained the ability to open favorites in a new tab by default. The capability is current available for Dev and Canary users only. The Redmond tech giant has also proudly announced that it "froze" 1.38 billion Edge tabs with improved Sleeping Tabs in September 2022 alone, but there is no word yet on how much Petabytes of RAM this saved, unlike last time.

Finally, you may want to keep an eye out for "Project Kodiak". A recent Edge Canary release references it in a flag, saying that the initiative will offer Edge customers a "better browser experience for their personal and work lives" across Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Teams enhancements... and more

Microsoft Teams newest feature - communities - being showcased

Microsoft Teams received some pretty cool news updates this week. For starters, Microsoft is working on a nifty integration between Outlook and Teams that will allows users to quickly access and send messages via Teams Chat in an Outlook meeting invite. This feature will likely land in March 2023. Some customers can also take advantage of instant polls and communities in Teams already.

Other Microsoft apps received some love in the past few days too. PowerToys received version 0.65.0 with a few new features and a huge list of bug fixes while OneNote for Windows is slated to get vertical tabs next year. Moreover, sign-in issues on SwiftKey for iOS were dealt with as well. We also received reports that Microsoft's "Super App" - which is now presumed dead - isn't Microsoft Start after all. But it was something that was supposed to "break Apple and Google's hold on mobile search".

There were several updates to third-party apps on Windows as well. Start11 version 1.36 is now available with lots of fixes and improved WindowsBlinds 11 compatibility. Similarly, StartAllBack received an update to fix a Taskbar conflict between itself and the latest Windows 11 build.

And if you're itching to add acrylic effect to old Windows 10 and Windows 11 context menus, consider giving the open-source TranslucentFlyouts app a go. Or if you just want to spruce up your Spotify listening UX with something different, try out this third-party Spotify client with Windows 11 aesthetics. Finally, Microsoft Forms is getting lots of new features too, check them out here.

Git gud

Mineral Camo Special Edition Controller

As has been the case for the past few weeks, there were rumblings from the Microsoft and Sony camps again over the Activision Blizzard acquisition in the past few days. Microsoft signed a 10-year commitment with Nintendo to bring Call of Duty to the Switch, whereas Sony won the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) support with the regulator claiming that it does not trust Microsoft with the acquisition.

Another not-so-good news that hit Xbox gamers is that Microsoft is hiking the price of first-party Xbox games from $59.99 to $69.99 starting next year, in line with Sony. Xbox Game Pass seems all the more enticing now...

Speaking of Game Pass, a plethora of Riot titles have arrived on the service including Valorant and League of Legends. There are lots of benefits in store too.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Flight Simulator has hit 10 million players, Halo Infinite's custom game browser is now live, Minecraft has received Avatar Legends DLC, and Sea of Thieves' The Rogue Legacy Adventure can now be played too.

Lastly, if you're on the lookout for some deals, don't forget to check out this week's Deals with Gold and this Weekend's PC Game Deals curated by our resident News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.

Dev Channel

Under the spotlight

An image showing the Windows 11 logo next to letter five indicating five new features

A few days ago, News Reporter Taras Buria wrote a very interesting piece highlighting the top 5 interesting features coming to Windows 11 soon. If this topic tickles your fancy, check out Taras' write-up here.

An image showing an Edge logo next to a forward button and a thinking emoji

Taras also wrote a guide on the process to restore the forward button in Microsoft Edge. This particular button disappears from the browser's toolbar in Edge 108 unless there is something to forward to, but some may like it visible at all times just for consistency.

Pixel Smartphone

Meanwhile, News Reporter Hemant Saxena's guide was on the topic of using your Google Pixel to check your heart rate, read it here.

Pause live TV

And our final guide is from forum member Adam Bottjen's Tech Tip Tuesday column detailed the process of pausing Live TV on Roku TV.

The Callisto protocol - Thumbnail

We had a bunch of reviews going out this week too. Robbie Khan reviewed the latest AAA horror title The Callisto Protocol on PC. He has mixed feelings about the game but it could be worth your time. Find out if that's the case here.

Geekom IT11 Mini PC

Meanwhile, Neowin co-founder Steven Parker reviewed the GEEKOM Mini IT11 Mini PC running Windows 11. This is a pretty decent machine, considering its discounted price point.

Picture of the Voxel Pro with packing material still inside

And Christopher White reviewed the Monoprice Voxel Pro 3D printer, and it definitely should be on your shortlist if you're searching this particular market.

Games with Gold logo on the left with a knife at top and Game Pass logo on the right with a blue tic

Finally, I wrote an editorial thinking out loud about when Microsoft is going to kill off Xbox Games with Gold since it's mostly deadweight now anyway, especially compared to Game Pass.

Logging off

windows 95 beta

Our most interesting news item of the week relates to the discovery that Microsoft apparently started testing tabbed File Explorer - currently a Windows 11-exclusive capability - back with Windows 95, nearly 30 years ago. Screenshots of the implementation have emerged but it's still unclear why the feature was canned way back then. Whether it was due to an unfixable bug, performance issues, or usability concerns is anyone's guess.

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Missed any of the previous columns? Check them all out at this link.

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