We are at the end of the week again, which means that it is time to recap all the recent news items related to Microsoft. This week, we have lots of news related to Windows 10 and Windows 11 updates, some related to the Microsoft Store, and then a pinch of details about Outlook to wrap it all up. To find out more, read our weekly digest for May 14 - May 20.
Updates for Windows 10 and Windows 11
The highlight of this section is that Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 is now ready for broad deployment. This basically means that the OS is now available for all eligible users to update to and is no longer being rolled out in a staggered manner.
Insider channels for Windows 11 received some updates this week too. Build 25120 was released to the Dev Channel with the main features being a search widget - that does not respect your browser preferences - on the desktop and support for ARM64 PCs. This was followed up by build 25120.1010 (KB5015039) in the same channel but that was just a servicing update with nothing new being added. If you're on the Dev Channel, you'll also notice updated dialog boxes for Windows Shut Down and WinRE.
Meanwhile, Release Preview users were treated to build 22000.706 with Windows Spotlight on the desktop, an improved Family Safety verification experience, and a bunch of bug fixes.
On the other hand, if you're experiencing BSODs on the generally available version of Windows 11, that may be due to faulty drivers that are necessary for third-party anti-virus solutions, claims Sophos. Microsoft is yet to corroborate the cybersecurity company's findings.
But coming over to some Windows update shenanigans now too. Earlier this week, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) discouraged federal bodies from installing the latest Patch Tuesday updates on Domain Controllers. This is because the May update caused authorization failures. This forced Microsoft to roll out an out-of-band (OOB) update to fix the problem. Meanwhile, if you are an IT admin testing Windows Server vNext, there is a new build labeled 25120 (the same as the latest Windows 11 Dev Channel release), but as usual, there's no changelog.
Windows Server wasn't the only SKU to receive an OOB update, though. Microsoft released the same for the client (and server) version of Windows 10 to mitigate a problem that caused Microsoft Store app installs to fail on select Intel and AMD CPUs. Find out more details here.
Microsoft Teams in the store
Microsoft Teams finally made its debut in the Microsoft Store this week. The Windows 10 version works as expected, in the sense that it allows you to utilize Teams with personal, work, or school accounts. However, since Windows 11 already has integrations with the Teams Chat app for personal accounts, the Microsoft Store version only allows signing in from a work or school account. This is a bit annoying, to be honest.
However, some other customers are not so happy with their favorite apps being moved to the Microsoft Store. There has been significant backlash from IT admins following the announcement of Quick Assist's migration. For those unaware, this is Microsoft's in-house remote assistance app.
But if you're on Windows 11 and use Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) downloaded from the Microsoft Store, you'll be happy to know that the implementation received a major update this week. This brought in support for Android 12.1, advanced networking configurations, an improved Settings app, and enhancement to Windows integration, among many other things.
And if you are a developer who publishes Edge extensions to Microsoft's storefront, you should know that you now have the ability to respond directly to customer reviews through the Microsoft Partner Center.
Following a bunch of leaks in the past few months, Microsoft finally made its One Outlook (codenamed Project Monarch) app available for testing. It is currently available for Office Insiders in the Beta Channel Version 2205 (Build 15225.20000) on Windows. The redesigned app doesn't have feature parity with the existing version but it does offer some new capabilities. These include integration with Microsoft Loop components, a board view for Calendar, a clearer RSVP mechanism, and a To Do list. In the same vein, Microsoft is also working on a capability that will allow Outlook for Mac users to "react" to emails.
While we are on the subject of features and apps that have not been generally released yet, you might also want to know about an upcoming app called "Designer". Details are scarce right now but it appears to be a standalone app that borrows functionalities from the component of the same name in PowerPoint. We'll likely hear more on this front soon.
And if the lengthy context menus in Edge are bothering you, fret not, as Microsoft is on the case. The company says that it is already planning around addressing some UI and UX changes in the Canary channel, and these will likely make their way to the Stable channel once they have been thoroughly tested. Other areas Microsoft is working on include better ways to close tabs, respecting the default PDF viewer, and enhancements to tools managing audio and video autoplay.
We will kick off our gaming section with news about the second wave of titles hitting Xbox Game Pass this month. The latest selection include Jurassic World Evolution 2, Her Story, Sniper Elite 5, Skate, Cricket 22, and more. Touch controls have also been added to some games but there are others that are leaving the service too. Catch up on all the details here.
Meanwhile, Games with Gold subscribers can now claim The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk for Xbox One and Viva Piñata Party Animals for Xbox 360. The former can be claimed for free until June 15 while the latter is up for grabs until May 31.
And if you're looking to grow your Xbox backlog at a discount, look no further than our latest Deals with Gold article. The highlights this time around are primarily for the Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty franchises.
But if you don't have money to spare for gaming at the moment and would still like to try out some new games, you'll be happy to know that PGA Tour 2K21, State of Decay 2: Juggernaut Edition, and SnowRunner free to play via Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate this weekend.
Finally, Microsoft Flight Simulator World Update IX has newly modeled cities for further upgrading those Italy and Malta, handcrafted airports, new activities for simmers, and more.
- Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability offers tools to track and measure carbon output
- Ryzen PCs with Windows 11 might be able to leverage faster Wi-Fi in the future
- Bill Gates uses a foldable phone, but it's not a Surface Duo
- Surface Duo 2 has received the May firmware update
- OneNote preview for Android has a revamped home page
Under the spotlight
This week, News Reporter Taras Buria wrote a massive guide on what you can expect to see in the next feature update to Windows 11, which is version 22H2. Frankly, there is a lot to unpack so your best bet is to just give Taras' piece a read-through here.
In a related stream, Taras also wrote a guide on how you can uninstall Windows 11 updates. There can be multiple reasons to do this, with the primary one being a botched update. In times like these, it is important to have a guide like this one handy.
Also, remember we talked about the latest Dev Channel build featuring a new search widget on the desktop? Check out Taras' guide here about how you can enable or disable it.
And while we are on this topic, it's important to remember that widgets in Windows 10 and 11 don't respect your default browser preferences. This includes the new desktop search widget too. So if you'd like to use the browser of your choice with these services, find out how to do so by reading Neowin co-founder Steven Parker's guide on the topic here.
Our most interesting news item of this week is related to Windows 11 and Microsoft Teams' security struggling against white hat hackers at Pwn2Own 2022. On the first day of the event, the security of these software was breached multiple times with contestants netting hundreds of thousands of dollars from Microsoft as rewards. On the second day, Windows 11 fared a bit better and was able to prevent one out of two exploitations attempted on it. All in all, it is important to remember that events like these are good for consumers at the end of the day as vendors work more rigorously towards fixing security holes in their products.
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