We are at the close of yet another week and it's time again to recap everything important that happened in the Microsoft-verse in the past few days. This was a pretty busy week with a number of Windows builds and issues cropping up. With the end of the month, we also got some statistics regarding market share, along with an interesting "Windows 12" concept. Without further ado, let's dive in to our weekly digest for November 26 - December 2!
Windows 11 on the rise
Statcounter revealed that Windows 11 now controls 16.12% of the market share as Windows 10 dipped below 70% for the first time. This is an increase of 0.67 percentage points compared to last month which is not a massive jump, but it does indicate that adoption of Microsoft's latest OS is steadily climbing upwards and nipping away at Windows 10's market share. Windows 8.1, 8, 7, and XP still capture 2.54%, 0.79%, 10.24%, and 0.4% of the market currently.
On the gaming front, Valve's Steam Hardware survey results peg Windows 11 at 27.98%, which is a significant increase of 4.61 percentage points compared to the previous month. Windows 10 is shown struggling here too as it fell to 65.60%, a notable decline of 3.31 percentage points.
Coming over to the web browsers market, Microsoft Edge now has a share of 11.17%. This is an increase 0.31 percentage points compared to the previous month and 1.65 percentage points improvement year-over-year. Of course, Google Chrome is still king at 66.13%, despite a slight decline of 0.36 percentage points.
With the end of the month, Microsoft also shared a bunch of updates it introduced to some of its pieces of software. These include a hefty number of improvements in Teams, modest updates to Excel, and November enhancements for Power BI Desktop.
Windows builds and issues
Earlier in the week, Windows 11 Insiders received Dev Channel build 25252. It introduced a new VPN status icon in the system tray, more Taskbar search styles, a bunch of bug fixes, and a truckload worth of known issues. This release was followed closely by Beta build 22623.1020 (KB5020035) bringing OneDrive storage alerts, fixes for high CPU usage, and more. Later, we were treated to a servicing pipeline release too.
There were some whispers from the Windows "Moment" updates camp as well. Test IDs for purported "Moment 3" and "Moment 4" update have been discovered in the latest Beta build. Microsoft has also made some "Moment 2" capabilities available to Windows 11 version 22H2 users on the stable channel via the latest build 22621.900 (KB5020044). These include Energy Recommendations, an improved Task Manager, and a slightly enhanced settings page for managing the touch keyboard.
Unfortunately, this new build has also introduced an issue in Task Manager where certain UI elements may not render properly if you are using a custom color mode. The mitigation for now is to switch to Light or Dark mode as Microsoft works on a fix.
In related news, Input Method Editor (IME) problems can be fixed by installing the latest KB5020044 update and a performance fix for copying large file remotely is also being tested in the recent Dev Channel release.
"Windows 12"... and other stuff
An interesting concept for "Windows 12" surfaced very recently and was covered in detail by us. Created by an enthusiast, the design focuses a lot on making Widgets more useful while making nifty improvements to other UI elements. Another capability it emphasizes is the splitting of two apps within one window and grouping files in collections inside File Explorer (similar to Collections in Microsoft Edge). Of course, our readers are divided on the aesthetics and utility of this design but do head here to voice your opinion.
In other news, Microsoft has officially ended support for the original Surface Hub 55 and Surface Hub 84. Running Windows 10 Team on a fourth-gen Intel Core i5/i7 processor, this device enjoyed a life of seven years, initially being sold at up to $20,000. Although the original Surface Hub is dead in terms of updates, another tricky product, the Surface Duo, might get a dedicated Insider Program soon.
Finally, in some smaller updates on the software side, PowerToys is getting a Windows 11 Quick Settings-like launcher to let you launch your favorite utilities with a couple of clicks in the notification area. Meanwhile, Microsoft Forms has introduced the useful capability of being able to add images as possible answers to multiple-choice questions (MCQs).
Coming to the ongoing problem of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard being probed by regulators, there have been rumors this week that the Redmond tech giant may offer concessions to the EU and that a deal has already been struck between Microsoft and Sony regarding the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation. Of course, nothing has been officially confirmed yet.
What Microsoft has confirmed is that those with gaming issues won't be offered the Windows 11 2022 Update yet. This safeguard hold will probably be removed around mid-December.
But talking about games themselves, a bunch of high-profile titles have hit or are hitting Xbox Game Pass this month. Notable additions include Battlefield 2042, LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, High On Life, and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, among others. Meanwhile, the Games with Gold offerings are Colt Canyon and Bladed Fury.
On the sales and promotions side, there is a massive Xbox Black Friday Sale going on. And the Free Play Days event has Battlefield 2042, Batora: Lost Haven, and Rainbow Six Siege on offer this weekend. But if none of this console gaming stuff tickles your fancy, check out News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe's personally curated list of hot PC game deals this weekend.
- Skype 8.90 is now out
Microsoft and PMI have announced new certifications for low-code learning
Rufus 3.21 with improved Windows local account support, NTFS, and exFAT, is now available for all
Under the spotlight
News Reporter Taras Buria compiled a list of the top 5 flags that Microsoft Edge users should consider enabling in order to make the most of their browsing experience. Note that capabilities logged behind a flag are experimental in nature so do expect bugs.
Taras also penned a couple more guides following the release of Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25252. The first details the process to enable the new Taskbar search box while the other describes how to disable the Windows 10-like Search Highlights.
The final guide from Taras this week was about there being a hidden camera privacy indicator in Windows 11 and the process to enable it.
On the other hand, forum member Adam Bottjen detailed the steps to launching pinned apps using just your keyboard in his latest edition of Tech Tip Tuesday.
Last but not least, we had our Reviewer Robbie Khan criticizing the pitiful state of the much-hyped horror game The Callisto Protocol, in terms of PC performance. You can dive into the dedicated piece here where Robbie takes you with him on his journey to being super-excited about the title to refunding it after less than two hours of playtime on Steam.
Our most interesting news item of the week relates to the imminent death of the free edition of the popular Macrium Reflect. The Windows backup software will not receive any new features but security updates will be provided up until January 1, 2024. Of course, you can continue to use the tool beyond that date but you won't be eligible for any support if some issue does pop up. The premium version of Macrium Reflect remains unaffected by this discontinuation.
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