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Microsoft Weekly: redesigned File Explorer for Windows 11, fresh builds, and more

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It is time to finish this week with another issue of Microsoft Weekly, your regular recap with the most interesting stories surrounding the software giant and its products. Even though this week was significantly quieter than the previous two, we had plenty of noteworthy developments, app updates, Windows 11 changes, gaming news, and more.

Windows 11, File Explorer redesign, and fresh builds

This week's biggest story on the Windows side is the redesigned File Explorer. It is available for those testing Windows 11's preview builds in the Dev Channel. The updated app features an improved and modernized address bar, better context menus, and other notable UI improvements. Note that the revamped Explorer is rolling out gradually, so some insiders remain stuck with the current File Explorer iteration. Not happy with such outrageous injustice? Check out our guide detailing how to force-enable the new File Explorer without waiting in line.

A screenshot of File Explorer in Windows 11

Here are the new Windows Insider builds released this week (did you notice that Neowin now has a dedicated widget for tracking preview builds?):

  • Canary Channel: 25387.1200, a small servicing update without significant or notable changes.
  • Dev Channel: 23475 with the redesigned File Explorer, Dynamic Lightning settings, and more.
  • Beta Channel: KB5027305 with a new toggle that makes it easier to switch between cellular and Wi-Fi.

In addition to new preview builds, Microsoft released an update for the Microsoft Store app. The latest version makes downloading free games and apps on Windows 11 much more convenient and with fewer clicks.

The art of the deal

We should also mention that those needing a Windows 11 license should check out this deal: lifetime Windows 11 Pro key for up to three devices for just $49.99. Also, many games are currently up to 90% off for those subscribed to Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.


App updates

As usual, this week brought us many app updates with new features and various changes. Vivaldi, a popular Chromium browser, stole the show with version 6.1 that masks itself to look like Microsoft Edge to let customers access Bing Chat without Microsoft's oppressive limitations.

A screenshot of a Microsoft Store install window for the Vivaldi Browser

Microsoft Word on Windows received a new comment-related feature: now users can place likes under comments for more engaging collaborative work. The change is currently available for Windows users, but Microsoft promises to bring it to macOS soon. Word is not the only app getting fresh features this week. The software giant announced new drawing tool improvements for PowerPoint on the web. And by the way, Microsoft's Office apps are coming to the recently announced Apple Vision Pro VR headset.

apple vision pro

If you use Windows 8.1 or 8 (you probably should not), bad news for you: Google is about to pull the plug on the Drive app in August. Soon, now-dead Windows 8.1 and 8, plus all 32-bit operating systems, will lose access to Google Drive via its dedicated app.

AI updates and controversies

Let's talk about AI and Bing Chat. The service now supports voice chat on desktops, giving users another method to interact with Bing Chat. And since such tools are still a major novelty for most, Microsoft decided to launch a new marketing campaign to promote Bing and its new AI-powered capabilities.

Of course, Microsoft is still Microsoft, so it could not help but end up in another controversy. The company briefly made a lame Bing ad that looked like AI answering when you search for Chrome. Whatever it takes to stop you from downloading Chrome, smh.

Xbox accessories, new games, and a massive fine

This week, Western Digital finally unveiled the long-anticipated expansion cards for Xbox Series X|S. Until now, cards from Seagate were the only choice for those not satisfied with the default storage in Xbox consoles. New expansion cards are available with 512GB or 1TB, and you can already order one (or several, if you wish) from Western Digital's official website.

wd black xbox expansion cards

Speaking of accessories, Microsoft is cooking a new Starfield-themed Xbox Wireless Controller. The upcoming game from Bethesda will be unveiled today, so expect Microsoft to reveal the controller alongside. If you do not mind spoilers, check out the images of the gamepad spotted in the wild. And if a custom controller is not enough, prepare for a 300 euro-priced Starfield "Constellation" special edition.

Today's Xbox game showcase will be full of announcements and trailers (Microsoft has confirmed those would not be CGI), so we have prepared a dedicated Bingo you can play with us.

On the less exciting gaming news side, the FTC revealed Microsoft would pay a whopping $20 million fine to the regulator to settle issues with Xbox child privacy protection. FTC says the company should not have asked minors to provide full name, date of birth, email address, phone number, and other details.

xbox porsche

Finally, you can tempt your luck and try winning a special Porsche 75th anniversary Xbox Series X, which will be a perfect device to play the upcoming Forza Motorsport.

Wallpapers, fun stuff, and wtf stuff

If you want to freshen up your desktop, check out this awesome wallpaper from Microsoft. The company has made a modern remake of the legendary Windows XP "Bliss" photo. Also, the leaked Windows 11 pre-release build revealed a unique take on Windows 10's classic wallpaper with slightly dimmed lights and muted colors, arguably indicating the end of the Windows 10 era.

Windows XP Bliss wallpaper 4K render

On the funny side, users noted that Microsoft has a hard time translating English to English. Windows 11 machine-translated to UK English says you should send your files to a postcode. The next thing it would probably ask you is to accept essential biscuits.

If you are up for some more interesting read, check out John Callaham's look back at the legendary Apple II, a computer released 46 years ago. John recalls how the old computer helped kick off the PC boom and made personal computers a common thing accessible to almost everyone.

apple ii

Also, we published a review of Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus 8TB NVMe SSD. Check it out if you plan a massive storage upgrade for your computer or are just curious to see how such a gigantic SSD performs. Finally, Christoper White reviewed QNOAP's 4-bay NAS, the TS464, and Steven Parker published a review of a mini PC from Geekom. The latter packs sixth-generation AMD Ryzen processors, DDR5 memory, and up to 2TB SSD.

geekom as 6 screenshot

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You can check out other Microsoft Weekly articles here. Also, subscribe to Neowin Newsletter to get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

To finish this week's Microsoft Weekly, here is a random fact about Microsoft and its products:

PowerPoint, Microsoft's legendary presentation software, was not developed by Microsoft. Initially called Presenter, it was made by a company called Forethought Inc. Microsoft acquired Forethought in 1987 and rebranded Presenter to PowerPoint. Fast forward 36 years, PowerPoint is the most recognizable and popular app for presentations, accessible on almost every modern platform.

Now off to the next week, which will be full of gaming news and more exciting stuff!

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