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Microsoft Weekly: Windows 11 upgrades, Windows 10 goodness, and Slack complaints

Microsoft Weekly graphic with Windows 10 logo on the left and Microsoft logo and Slack logos on the

Welcome back to another edition of Microsoft Weekly where we recap everything important that happened in the world of Microsoft in the past few days. Although this week was relatively quieter due to the Thanksgiving break, we still have some Windows 11 upgrade news, Windows 10-related items, and some Slack competition to talk about. Without further ado, let's dive into our weekly digest for November 19 - November 25!

Windows 11 upgrades

Windows 11 graphic with a server clipart on the right and a hacker clipart on the left

As has been the case for the past few weeks, this section is mostly about new Windows 11 bugs and fixes for some existing ones.

For starters, Microsoft has finally removed a compatibility safeguard on select devices trying to upgrade to Windows 11 version 22H2. It was initially put in place due to printer bugs where the settings would get stuck on the default and it became a hassle to add more printers. In a similar vein, an upgrade block was also removed from some PCs experiencing deterioration in gaming performance. That said, the bug hasn't been fully resolved yet.

We also learned that the Remote Desktop app could stop responding on Windows 11 version 22H2. For now, the Redmond tech giant has recommended terminating the process using Task Manager when this happens and has also suggested disabling UDP (with some caveats). A more permanent fix is in the works. Meanwhile, AMD has released a new chipset driver to fix Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) problems affecting Windows 11 version 22H2 as well as older versions of Windows.

Microsoft is also working on making Windows 11 more secure. The OS now supports multi-key total memory encryption on Intel's 3rd Gen Xeon scalable Ice Lake CPUs, and Intel 12th Gen Alder Lake processors on the client side. The company is seemingly also working on a dedicated VPN indicator in the notifications area of Windows 11 version 22H2 and you can force-enable it by following the instructions detailed here.

Finally, if you prefer the aesthetics of Windows 11 but not the OS itself, you may want to consider giving the Orange Pi (Droid) OS a spin - at your own risk. It's an Android 12-based operating system that has the look and feel of Windows 11, but the response to its aesthetics has been somewhat polarizing so far.

Windows 10 goodness

The stock Windows 10 wallpaper with the 2022 Update sign

Microsoft announced this week that Windows 10 version 22H2 (also knows as Windows 10 2022 Update) is now ready for broad deployment. For those unaware, broad deployment is the final rollout phase in the lifecycle of a Windows release. It means more users with compatible computers receive offers to update, not only seekers who press the "Check for updates" button. For reference, Windows 11 2022 Update (also 22H2) is currently available to all who check for updates manually.

Microsoft has been very mysterious about what's new in the update, just saying that it's available with a "limited set of productivity features". However, we did some sleuthing and did manage to find out possible information about what is new.

Some other good news is that the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) app has hit general availability in the Microsoft Store and is now also available on Windows 10, in addition to Windows 11. Microsoft is making it the default experience on both OSes, touting faster updates, better error printing, WSLg and WSL bundled in a single package, and the ability to opt-in for systemd support, among many other things.

Slack contest

Microsoft Teams and Slack logos on the side divided by a vertical line and a blurred background show

A couple of days ago, a report popped up claiming that the European Commission (EC) is gearing up to investigate Microsoft over some antitrust complaints made about Teams by competitor Slack.

The complaint in question was filed back in 2020 when Slack alleged that bundling Teams with the Microsoft 365 suite of products forces it to be installed on many machines while "hiding the true cost to enterprise customers". It urged the regulator to force Microsoft to remove Teams from its Microsoft 365 suite and offer it separately at "fair" commercial prices.

Now, it looks like the EC is ready to take action as a new batch of questionnaires has recently been sent out, with sources familiar with the matter claiming that an official investigation may be kicked off soon.

While we are in the Microsoft 365 space, it's also worth noting that Microsoft has delayed the deprecation of the Outlook REST API indefinitely following customer feedback. The deprecation will happen next year instead of this month.

Moreover, Microsoft is seemingly focused on mobile-first content creation now, at least when it comes to PowerPoint. The Redmond tech firm is introducing the ability to create slides in Portrait mode in PowerPoint for iPhone and iPad devices on the Office Insider channel. iOS users will now be able to switch in and out of Portrait mode when creating and editing slides. There is no word yet on Android support or general availability timeframes.

Git gud

A graphic showing Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard

As the battle between Microsoft and Sony rages on with regards to the UK CMA investigating the former's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, more details are becoming public. There are some pretty interesting tidbits of information with the submitted documents.

Perhaps the most interesting is that Microsoft has told the UK regulator that its exclusives are lower quality as compared to PlayStation. It pointed to Metacritic scores as the basis for this argument and also noted that they don't sell that well on the Xbox either. Meanwhile, word from the Sony camp is that the company might launch its next PlayStation console around 2026, which is still quite a ways to go.

On the actual games front, Sea of Thieves Season 8 now live with on-demand PVP, new locations, and more. And if you're on the lookout for getting some PC games on the cheap in this Black Friday weekend, don't miss out on this Weekend's PC Game Deals, curated by our News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.

Dev Channel

Surface Pro 8 Laptop Studio Go 3 Pro X and Duo 2 devices placed in a white background

Under the spotlight

Windows 11 Laptop battery capacity

This week, we published a few guides. The first comes from News Reporter Rahul Naskar who detailed a handy way to get a detailed battery report in Windows 10 and Windows 11 along with the things you need to focus on while parsing it.

A recommended website on the Start menu in Windows 11

Meanwhile, News Reporter Taras Buria published the steps to disable the recommended websites section in the Start menu if it really bothers you in Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25247.

Tech Tip tuesday live captions

On the other hand, forum member Adam Bottjen authored a detailed guide explaining how to enable and leverage Live Captions in Windows 11 version 22H2.

The Olauncher logo

Meanwhile, News Editor Paul Hill went hands-on with Olauncher, arguing that it's the best possible Android launcher today. You can read his thoughts here.

Geekom IT11 Mini PC

Finally, do remember to recheck Neowin co-founder Steven Parker's first impressions of the GEEKOM IT11 MiniPC. You can grab it for just $599 instead of $769 if you act fast and purchase it during this Black Friday week.

Logging off

Cars I am speed meme with Lightning McQueen having a Mercedes-Benz logo and the subtitles also sayin

Our most interesting news item of the week is about Mercedes-Benz introducing a yearly $1200 subscription... to make some of its cars go faster. You read that right. By purchasing the Acceleration Increase subscription for $1200/year, your Mercedes-EQ 350 SUV will hit 60mph in 5.2 seconds instead of 6.2 seconds.

This is being done by electronically boosting the motor's output and the torque but it raises some concerns because it implies that the car already has the necessary capability built-in to achieve this performance and the sole reason to lock it behind a paywall is to make customers pay more. At the very least, it's a worrisome precedent for what's to come.

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Missed any of the previous columns? Check them all out at this link.

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