Microsoft Weekly: Things to play later, a patchy Tuesday, and IE on Edge

This past week was Patch Tuesday, something which you’ll definitely notice in the second section of this column. Apart from that, there’s also a bit of gaming news, another Edgium build, and more. You can find that – as well as the usual little bit extra – below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of July 6-12.

Things to play later

Gaming news has been a bit on the lighter side on this occasion, but it’s nothing to scoff at.

For starters, folks who were testing Xbox Insider builds in the Alpha (Skip Ahead) ring – which remains invite-only at this point) got to see build 18363.7004 from the 19H2 branch. Unlike Windows, folks on Microsoft’s console have been testing out 19H2 since March.

While no new features or fixes are listed, it’s important to note the major number. The 19H2 update on Windows is build 18362, while 19H2 on consoles is 18363, with both feature updates being treated as cumulative updates. If this doesn’t change, it’ll mark the first time that major build numbers are different between console and PC.

If you prefer not to get involved in any of the Insider matters, you should be getting the July 2019 Xbox Update, which is version 1907 – the third monthly update since the major 1904 content drop. Of note in 1907 is the “Play later” feature for Xbox Game Pass – which does exactly what it sounds like it would -, and the expansion of the Alexa skill on Xbox to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. Due to this expansion, you can even ask Alexa pointed questions about Game Pass like what’s new on the service, or which titles are leaving the subscription.

Moving on to a weird bit of news, it seems like all references to smoking have been removed from Gears 5 ahead of its Tech Test on July 19. This was apparently done after feedback received from anti-smoking organization Truth Initiative.

Lastly, on a somewhat game-related note, Netflix and King Features Syndicate are creating The Cuphead Show!, an animated series based on the run and gun title Cuphead and its 1930s cartoon-inspired aesthetic. There’s really not much info to go on, but production is set to start soon. Exactly when we’ll see the fruits of this partnership is still yet to be determined.

A patchy Tuesday

This week was the second Tuesday of July, meaning it’s the day on which, each month, Microsoft usually pushes out a number of patches to its products – hence the name, Patch Tuesday.

Let’s start with what folks on various Windows 10 feature updates have to look forward to:

  • May 2019 Update (1903): KB4507453, build 18362.239 – includes fixes for issues with Mixed Reality, BitLocker encryption recovery mode, and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies and Office products.
    • Known issues: The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected; The Remote Access Connection Manager (RASMAN) may stop working with error “0x0000005” on devices where the diagnostic data level is manually configured to the non-standard value of 0; Windows Sandbox may fail to start with “ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND (0x80070002)” on devices on which the OS language has been changed during the install process.
  • October 2018 Update (1809): KB4507469, build 17763.615 – includes patches for issues with BitLocker encryption recovery mode, system unresponsiveness when an app uses the CameraCaptureUI API, and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies, and Office products.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected; After installing KB4493509, devices with some Asian language packs may get error “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”; A small number of devices may experience startup to a black screen during first logon – restarting the system should fix the problem.
  • April 2018 Update (1803): KB4507435, build 17134.885 - includes patches for issues with BitLocker encryption recovery mode and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies, and Office products.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); A small number of devices may experience startup to a black screen during first logon – restarting the system should fix the problem; The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected; Devices that start up using PXE images from WDS or SCCM may fail to start with error “Status: 0xc0000001, Info: A required devices isn’t connected or can’t be accessed”.
  • Fall Creators Update (1709): KB4507455, build 16299.1268 - includes patches for issues with BitLocker encryption recovery mode and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies, and Office products.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected.
  • Creators Update (1703): KB4507450, build 15063.1928 - - includes patches for issues with BitLocker encryption recovery mode and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies, and Office products.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected.
  • Anniversary Update (1607), Server 2016: KB4507460, build 14393.3085 - includes patches for issues with BitLocker encryption recovery mode and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies, and Office products.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected; SCVMM cannot enumerate and manage local switches deployed on the host; After installing KB4467684, the cluster service may fail to start with error “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)” if group policy “Minimum Password Length” is configured to more than 14 characters; Some apps may fail to run properly on clients of Active Directory Federation Services 2016.
  • Windows 10 RTM LTSC (1507): KB4507458, build 10240.18275 - includes patches for issues with BitLocker encryption recovery mode and security updates for IE, Edge, wireless technologies, and Office products.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected.

In case you’re still on Windows 7, 8.1, or their server equivalents, you have these updates to keep in your sights:

  • Windows 7 SP1, Server 2008 R2 SP1: KB4507449, KB4507456 (security-only) – contains security updates for Windows Server, Microsoft Graphics Component, Shell, Input and Composition, Kernel, and more.
    • Known issues: Devices with McAfee Endpoint Security Threat Prevention 10.x, Host Intrusion Prevention 8.0, or VirusScan Enterprise 8.8 may experience system slowdowns during startup or unresponsiveness after restart.
  • Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2: KB4507448, KB4507457 (security-only) – contains security updates for Windows Server, Microsoft Graphics Component, Shell, Input and Composition, Kernel, and more, plus addresses an issue which may cause BitLocker to go into recovery mode if BitLocker is being provisioned at the same time as updates are being installed.
    • Known issues: Operations like rename may fail when performed on files or folders within a Cluster Shared Volume (STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL 0xC00000A5); The Window-Eyes screen reader application may not work properly, though users who have migrated to JAWS shouldn’t be affected; Devices with McAfee Endpoint Security Threat Prevention 10.x, Host Intrusion Prevention 8.0, or VirusScan Enterprise 8.8 may experience system slowdowns during startup or unresponsiveness after restart.

Regardless of the presence or absence of Patch Tuesday, the 20H1 branch of the Windows 10 Insider Program has been steadily supplying builds to testers, something that also happened this week. Build 18936 made its way to folks’ machines, with a number of features in tow like the availability of Phone screen on more Surface devices, the ability to create events on your calendar right from the taskbar, and the ability to choose “Passwordless” logins – Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, and PIN.

As expected, some fixes are included too, and as such, users shouldn’t be experiencing game install failures when deciding to get a game via the Xbox app, or the Photos tile being drawn outside of the bounds of its tile, nor should they see mismatched text sizes in Task Manger’s Performance tab.

Beyond the fixes, there’s the usual intrepid trio of known issues comprised of some Realtek SD card readers not functioning properly, older versions of anti-cheat software causing problems, and of course, Tamper Protection potentially being ironically tampered with after the install of this build. Joining those three are two more: certain users may get error code c1900101 when trying to install build 18936, plus a set of currently unfinished changes meant for Magnifier. The former is caused by a bug in the storage driver on the device, while the latter is caused by simple curiosity.

In case you’re looking for an Insider build of the Windows Server kind, one was in fact released this past week. Sadly, build 18932 doesn’t include fixes, known issues, or features of any sort. It’s only the second in line in the 20H1 branch after 18917 on June 18, and since it’s expected to arrive in the first half of next year, the lack of features isn’t too surprising.

Bearing the same number as the Server build above were the ISO images that Microsoft released this week. If your Insider box or VM has been giving you grief and you were looking to do a fresh install, images for build 18932 are available.

Finally, if Office Insider is more to your liking, and you’re on a Mac, you should get version 16.27 (build 190708) in the Slow ring. This one brings Dynamic Arrays, the ability to refresh data for Power Query queries into text, XLSX, XML, and JSON files in Excel, the ability to send emails to a OneNote notebook and attach files from OneDrive, OneDrive for Business or SharePoint in Outlook, and real-time collaboration support in Word.

Word also gets better support for High Sierra accessibility features, and it, Excel, and PowerPoint are all better integrated with Filled maps and Geographic data types.

IE on Edge

For those that decided to give Microsoft’s Chromium Edge (which for convenience’s sake I’ll still call Edgium) a try, the latest Dev build is out.

If you’re keeping score, this is version 77.0.211.2, which enables the Read Aloud feature for PDFs, the secure receipt of payment card data, App Reputation from SmartScreen by default, adds fixes for reliability, changes controls to be more in line with the Fluent UI aesthetic, makes it so that crashes on launch should no longer occur on macOS, and so much more. In fact, this version contains what is perhaps one of the longest changelogs yet.

As you may remember, the flag to enable IE Mode in Edgium was discovered in the latter half of June, but at the time it just opened up IE instead of a tab in Edgium. This has now been remedied and is working as intended in the Dev branch – though only on Windows. A bit of a bonus flag is one dubbed “Limit media autoplay” which will block certain sites from autoplaying video.

IE Mode working fine is just as well since Edge Dev builds are now marked as ready for enterprise testing, something which is most likely coordinated with Microsoft’s Inspire conference that kicks off next week.

In case you’re using the Canary channel and are running version 77.0.213.1 or above, you should now see an option to choose your preferred theme (light or dark) in the Appearance tab in Settings.

Lastly, starting with build 18936 of the Windows Insider preview, Microsoft seems to be kicking off the process of getting rid of old Edge. This will, of course, be replaced by the shiny new version mentioned in the previous paragraphs.

The Fast ring

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

We end the column with the strangest of things coming from Microsoft and Netflix this past week.

On the first day of the month – which apparently is International Joke Day – the Redmond giant decided to change the Twitter avatar of its Windows account to that of the original Windows 1.0 logo. That, coupled with the synthwave-backed and 80s-inspired short clip that followed were a bit of a head scratcher for folks, as it seemed a bit out of left field.

It turns out that it was nothing more than a cross-promo for the third season of Netflix’s Stranger Things, which takes place in 1985 – the same year Windows 1.0 was released.

Microsoft marked the occasion with the release of the Windows 1.11 app in the store – containing a number of show-related Easter eggs -, Camp Know Where code workshops in the Microsoft Store, and an Xbox giveaway. You can enter that last one by retweeting or liking (until July 15), and if you’re the winner, you’ll get a Stranger Things 3 Collectible Arcade Cabinet, an Xbox One X, and one year of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

As a final bit of news, if you were one of the folks that couldn't upgrade to the May 2019 Update because of the bug related to attached USB drives or memory cards, you may rejoice. This issue has at last been fixed by the Redmond giant.

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

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