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Microsoft Weekly: Windows 11 SE, Defender and Loop leaks, and .NET Hot Reload backlash

Microsoft logo with 11 and SE written on the left and Microsoft Defender logo on the right

We are at the close of the week so it's time to recap everything important that happened in the world of Microsoft in the past week. We did get a new Windows 11 Dev channel build this week, as well as optional updates for Windows 10. Microsoft posted a strong quarter with improvements across the board (almost), but the company faced backlash from the community over some controversial changes to .NET. Find out more about this in our weekly digest for October 24 - October 29.

Windows 11 SE

Surface Laptop 4 press images showing various colors

A new report emerged a couple of days ago, claiming that Microsoft is working on "Windows 11 SE" for a currently unannounced low-cost Surface laptop. Apparently, this device is targeted at students and is codenamed "Tenjin". It will feature a plastic exterior, an 11.6-inch 1366x768 display, an Intel Celeron N4120 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, USB-C and USB-A ports, and a full-sized keyboard and trackpad.

The "SE" in Windows 11 SE supposedly stands for "School Edition" or "Student Edition", but little else is known about this SKU. It will likely include optimizations and tweaks that are geared towards a school environment. Tenjin could make an appearance by the end of this year with a price tag of below $400 to compete with other offerings on the market.

Talking about Surface, that division continues to underperform as Microsoft posted a revenue of $45.3 billion for the previous quarter. This is a 22% increase compared to the same quarter in the previous year and is spearheaded by its returns from the cloud, Windows OEM, and Microsoft 365.

AdDuplex data indicates that Windows 11 is now installed on 5% of machines, and Microsoft may be looking to get it onto more PCs as it has started force-installing its PC Health Check app on more Windows 10 configurations.

Windows 10 received an optional KB5006738 update that fixes a bunch of issues related to the display of subtitles, lock screen, and other things. The OS can now take advantage of the updated Microsoft Store from Windows 11 as well.

Windows 11 was offered a significant build 22489 in the Dev channel too. It notably adds a new Settings page for "Your Microsoft account" that also contains references to Online Service Experience Packs that the company will use to improve specific features without requiring a whole OS upgrade. These packs will be served through Windows Update.

Microsoft Defender and Loop leaks

Microsoft Defender Preview

Information about some of Microsoft's in-development apps leaked this week. One of those is Microsoft Defender, which seems to have received a Windows 11 makeover, if screenshots are to be believed. That said, we recently learned that it may be available for Windows 10 too. While the Microsoft Store listing for the app is live and it can be downloaded on Windows 10, most users aren't able to bypass verification checks. Some who did manage to bypass them showed screenshots of an unfinished but revamped UI.

In the same vein, screenshots of Microsoft's unannounced "Microsoft Loop" app appeared a couple of days ago too. It seems to be a workspace app that enables collaborative sessions and interactions. The UI looks very similar to Notion, but it's unclear how it will fit into enterprise offerings considering that Teams already exists and offers many of the features showcased in leaked screenshots. That said, it appears that Microsoft doesn't want you to think too much about this as it has been issuing takedown notices against people who have been uploading screenshots of the unreleased software.

.NET Hot Reload fiasco


Microsoft faced some challenges with its .NET community in the past few days. The company initially announced that its popular Hot Reload functionality - which enables developers to alter and modify code on the fly without needing to pause will only be available with .NET 6 - in Visual Studio 2022. This led to an outcry from the community which claimed that the move indicates that Microsoft is locking the capability to its IDE, which somewhat defeats the purpose of an open-source foundation. Fortunately, the Redmond tech giant bent to public pressure and issued an apology saying that Hot Reload will indeed be included in the dotnet watch tool in .NET 6 SDK's general release on November 9.

On the other hand, Microsoft seemingly had a much better time dealing with Apple. Microsoft discovered a design flaw in macOS that allows attackers to bypass System Integrity Protection (SIP) and arbitrarily execute code, install rootkit, or even overwrite system files. This was dubbed "Shrootless" and privately reported to Apple. The Cupertino firm acknowledged the flaw, fixed it, issued patches for the public, and attributed the discovery of this vulnerability to Microsoft.

Dev Channel

Under the spotlight

macbook and surface

Neowin's very own Brad Wardell talked in detail about how his Surface Pro 8 compares to the MacBook Air M1 in his daily usage, and which device is usually his go-to option. Read more of his thoughts on this topic here.

In this week's combo of Closer Look, I took a look at the touch keyboard and Storage settings present in Windows 11. I talked about how both of these capabilities have received a glow-up in the OS and become much more useful than their Windows 10 counterparts. Windows 11 is still pretty new so we're discussing the OS in more detail through our ongoing Closer Look series.

Meanwhile, Neowin's News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe delved into Microsoft's latest gaming release, Age of Empires IV. He praised the game's "stellar historical campaigns bolstered by documentary-style complementary videos and the fast-paced, deeply tactical, and exciting multiplayer playgrounds". You can check out his full review here and also consider buying Age of Empires IV for yourself if the genre intrigues you.

On the other side of the fence, if you don't know how to create a bootable installation disk of Windows 11, fret not because Neowin's News Reporter Anmol Mehrotra has you covered. Check out his detailed guide which walks you through the entire process.

Windows XP

Last but definitely not the least, our News Reporter Moshe Jacobs discussed how Windows XP hosted the blueprint for all future versions of Windows in his insightful and nostalgic piece on the OS' 20th birthday.

Logging off

One of our most interesting articles of the week is not related to Microsoft but is still worth highlighting in our weekly catchup. If you thought that Apple couldn't think of more ways to fleece its customers, you'd be mistaken. The company's $19 Polishing Cloth accessory that is "compatible" with Apple displays is backordered well into 2022 due to massive demand. ebay listings for the item are hovering around the $50 mark at the time of this writing. Truly revolutionary stuff.

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