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Microsoft Weekly: Unsupported Windows 11 PCs, tabbed File Explorer, and app updates

Microsoft Weekly image with a Windows 11 logo with a wrench and a thinking emoji on the left and a F

It's the end of yet another week which means that it's time to dive into a recap of all the things that happened in the world of Microsoft over the past few days. There is a lot to cover including some wonky messages about Windows 11 support, the arrival of a tabbed File Explorer, and a bunch of app updates. Without further ado, let's kick off our weekly digest for June 4 - June 10.

Supported for Windows 11 or not supported for Windows 11, that is the question

A Windows 11 22H2 sign with a stock Windows 11 wallpaper in the background

Some people on unsupported Windows 10 PCs received a pleasant (?) surprise that their machine is now eligible for Windows 11 version 22H2 and they should install it right now. The eligibility criteria seemed quite random with people on various configurations including 6th-generation Intel CPUs receiving the Windows 11 upgrade banner. Although some users were able to successfully upgrade without a hitch, others received errors during their install. Microsoft later confirmed that it has not had a change of heart regarding Windows 11's stringent requirements, and it eventually patched the issue that was offering the update on unsupported configurations.

Meanwhile, many users on Insider Preview build 22621 - which is the RTM build for Windows 11 version 22H2 - began seeing a message in the Device Security page noting that "Standard hardware security not supported: Your device does not meet the requirements for standard hardware security. Devices have different hardware built in that Windows uses to provide additional protection." This is an error from Microsoft's part as well since the hardware in question actually does meet the system requirements. Although this is not a new bug, and Microsoft actually fixed it for an older preview build, it has popped up again.

In the same vein, as if Windows 11's requirements aren't strict enough, Microsoft is now reportedly pushing OEMs to necessarily include an SSD boot drive in new Windows 11 PCs. Although there is obviously no confirmation yet, this has led to speculation that future feature updates to Windows 11 might enforce having an SSD boot drive as a minimum requirement to install the OS.

And if Windows 11's support isn't confusing enough for you yet, there is now a public effort underway to make the OS unofficially but natively run on Apple's M1 processor. It's obviously a tall order and we don't know if it will ever reach its goal but it might be interesting to follow the project's progress.

Tabbed File Explorer (finally!)

A File Explorer window in Windows 11 with a Neowin folder open

This week, Microsoft rolled out build 25136 to the Windows 11 Dev Channel. The highlight of this release is undoubtedly the tabbed interface in File Explorer, something that has been requested for years. Although it was already available as a hidden capability in previous Insider builds, Microsoft has now released it officially. Other improvements include dynamic content for Widgets on the Taskbar and tons of bug fixes.

Talking about Widgets, it seems like Microsoft is testing another one in the form of yet another search bar, this time on the Taskbar itself. This is in addition of the search bar it is testing on the desktop and the one already present in the Start menu. That said, it is important to note that Microsoft hasn't announced its availability officially and you have to jump through some hoops to enable it, so it's possible that plans on this front may change in the future.

Alongside the reveal for build 25136, Microsoft also announced a bunch of improvements for the new Notepad and Media Player apps in Windows 11. The former now has native ARM64 support, better performance, and enhancements to accessibility features. Meanwhile, the latter finally allows you to sort content by date added and also has better performance when managing large collections. However, not all of these capabilities and improvements are available in all Insider channels so check out the finer details here.

Notable, Microsoft rolled out Windows 11version 22H2 RTM build 22621 to the Release Preview Channel as well. If you're unsure about what improvements this feature update brings, check out our detailed guide here.

Oh, and if you're an IT admin at your organization responsible for managing Windows and Office apps updates, you should know that the Microsoft 365 admin center has been updated with a unified dashboard which provides information about both these areas.

App updates galore

Microsoft 365 logo on an orange background

Coming over to app updates, there's lot of news. We will start off with Microsoft Whiteboard which is scheduled to get Bing online image search capabilities, tentatively before the end of this month. Some Office apps have received a redesigned dictation toolbar for those running Insider builds. The toolbar now appears at the side instead of the center and has more responsive animations as well. Meanwhile, Microsoft Word has a new capability that provides you to react to comments on documents, you can find out how to use it here.

Microsoft Teams is getting a new Cameo experience through its existing integration with PowerPoint Live. While Microsoft hasn't revealed the details yet, it is supposed to make it easier to manage the presenter's camera and the slide deck being shared simultaneously. This should arrive in August if everything goes well.

But if you're interested in what features Teams offers right now, you should have a look at real-time background noise suppression, now available for Teams' macOS and iOS clients as well. Meanwhile, automatic music detection should arrive sometime in the future.

PowerToys received version 0.59, notably introducing improvements for Keyboard Manager, a redesign for Power Rename, and finalizations for native ARM64 support. Go through the full changelog here.

We also found out via a leak that Microsoft is planning a bunch of enhancements for its Phone Link app. Some capabilities currently in internal testing include the ability to search messages, categorize them into hidden and unhidden messages, unhide messages, and other minor improvements to the notifications panel. Read more about all the juicy details here.

Finally, and this is relevant to enterprise use-cases, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint has gained a new feature that attempts to slow down and possibly halt attackers from moving laterally across the network using compromised unmanaged Windows devices. It does this by blocking all incoming and outgoing communication from compromised unmanaged machines.

Git gud

A graphic of Xbox Game Cloud and Microsoft IP characters pouring out of a Smart TV

There was no shortage of gaming news either. Ahead of its Xbox and Bethesda Showcase - which will also get an Extended show on June 14 - tomorrow, Microsoft outed tons of improvements for its cloud gaming service. A key highlight is that gamers will soon be able to play games they already own via Xbox Cloud Gaming, without being tied down to what's available on Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft is in the process of implementing this capability.

In a bid to expand Xbox Cloud Gaming even more, the service has now arrived in Argentina and New Zealand. And from June 30, any living in an Xbox Cloud Gaming-supported region will be able to take advantage of the service (after signing up) through a Samsung Smart TV and the Xbox app alone. You won't need a console, just a controller and a Samsung Smart TV.

Additionally, if you are on the lookout for customized Xbox controllers, you might be in some luck because Xbox Design Lab has now expanded to 11 more countries with new color options. Meanwhile, Microsoft is planning to rival the new PlayStation Plus tiers next year by offering time-limited trials for Xbox games through Game Pass. That's not all, though. Microsoft has also revealed that it intends to launch at least five first-party games within the next 12 months.

Since we are talking about Microsoft's cloud gaming endeavors, it is pertinent to mention new details that emerged about Keystone this week. It turns out that Keystone might actually be positioned as the smallest cloud-powered console. It could feature ports for controllers and Ethernet, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a price tag of $99. We don't have a firm release date yet but it could arrive in 2023.

Coming over to individual games, both editions of Minecraft - Java and Bedrock - received The Wild Update a few days ago. It injects new biomes, mobs, character creator items, and more. Microsoft has also merged Java and Bedrock into a single edition on PC.

We also found out via a Steam leak that Forza Horizon 5 is getting a Hot Wheel expansion soon too. Meanwhile, Xbox Insiders on Windows PCs can now access a free preview of the 2003 classic, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, available until June 23. And next week's Halo Infinite update will bring major changes to Ranked matchmaking and some bug fixes for good measure too.

If you're aching for some sweet Xbox game deals, check out our dedicated Deals with Gold article headlined by Biomutant and Insurgency: Sandstorm here. But if you play games purely on your PC, don't miss out on this weekend's PC game deals, curated by Neowin's News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.

And while it was mostly a cross-platform show, if you couldn't find time to keep track of Geoff Keighly's Summer Game Fest 2022, read about all the major announcements here.

Dev Channel

A screenshot of the Microsoft Rewards homepage with ladybugs creeping from all sides

Under the spotlight

An old man waving to the user with the Windows 11 logo on the background

This week, Neowin News Reporter Taras Buria wrote a handy guide about how you can uninstall Windows 11 version 22H2 and roll back to a previous build. It is important to note that Microsoft hasn't started generally rolling out this feature update yet but you can still install it earlier than others if you're eager to get your hands on it.

Windows 11 build 25136 running File Explorer with tabs

Although Microsoft rolled out tabbed File Explorer interface in Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25136, it may not be available for everyone just yet. If you want to force the interface to be visible rather than waiting for Microsoft to flip the switch, check out this other guide by Taras too.

Logging off

NFT written on a background with a collage of images and crying emoji on all four sides

Our most interesting news item of this week is about an NFT of Twitter's ex-CEO Jack Dorsey's tweet - which was originally sold for $2.9 million last year - receiving a highest bid of $29 when we wrote about it earlier in the week. Although the current owner, crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi, tried to pawn it off for a massive $50 million a few months ago, he struggled to reach even the $50,000 mark. While the NFT has an offer of $832 at the time of writing, it is still quite a way off from even the $2.9 million that Estavi paid for it a few months ago. It does seem like the NFT bubble has finally burst.

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