It's the end of yet another week, which means that it's time again to recap everything important that happened in the world of Microsoft in the past few days. While this week was relatively slow in terms of Microsoft news flow, this does not mean that we have nothing to discuss. In fact, this edition of Microsoft Weekly will be more focused towards Windows, since that is what most of the recent news was about. With that said, let's dive into our weekly digest for September 3 - September 9!
Windows 8 Command Center
You may recall seeing the name Jensen Harris in our news feed in the past couple of weeks. He is Microsoft's ex-Director of User Experiences who spent five years in this role out of the 16 years he spent in total at the company. He left in 2014, shortly after the release of Windows 8.1. The Redmond tech giant's former design chief has been sharing some tidbits about Windows recently including Windows 8's axed start-up sound and criticism of Windows 11's Start menu.
This time, Harris has revealed details about a Windows 8 Command Center, also canceled. This basically referred to the context menu (right-click menu) on the Start button. It would display a list of functionalities but the idea was to cater it towards power users by allowing it to be tweaked by third-party applications as well as Registry edits. You can have a look at a prototype below:
Here was the original menu as I drew it.— Jensen Harris (@jensenharris) September 1, 2022
It’s more than a decade later, so definitely it makes sense that some things have changed (and possibly a lot more need to) as the world of Windows advances.
Most of these items were about warping directly to a Windows 7-era experience. pic.twitter.com/5TfECzbhlE
According to Harris, the project was dropped due to the lack of time needed to complete it. As such, while the Start context menu still exists, it isn't as friendly to customization as Harris originally envisioned.
Since we are on the topic of Windows design, it's also worth mentioning that Microsoft has added a new Mica Alt design material to Windows 11. This stands alongside Acrylic, Mica, and Smoke, but is meant to be used for tabbed instances.
And talking about a design quirk, Microsoft has noted that Windows Server and client users in Chile might experience issues related to timestamps, server connectivity to some applications, and scheduled activities such as meetings. This is due to the country switching to Daylight Saving Time today, and Windows not being able to accommodate this change. If you're among those affected, check out Microsoft's interesting workaround here.
Windows 11 build 25197
There was only one Insider release for Windows 11 this week, which came in the form of build 25197 for the Dev Channel - Microsoft has rolled out ISO files for this build too. This is a relatively significant build with a lot of features including the tablet-optimized Taskbar, updates to the System Tray, and new icons for the Settings app, among many other things.
It is now also possible to utilize the "live kernel dump" capability in Task Manager. This allows you to quickly export a dump file for analysis and debugging of issues without having to restart the system.
Speaking of Windows 11, Microsoft has highlighted another recent issue where the OS won't let you sign in after adding a Microsoft account. Only those utilizing client versions of Windows 11 version 21H2 were affected. The Redmond tech firm has now resolved the problem through Known Issue Rollback (KIR).
Finally, we'd like to bring your attention to references to Windows 11's "Moment" update recently popping up. Build 22940 has been mentioned in a PowerShell issue on GitHub and it's assumed to be a Moment release for Windows 11 version 22H2 - which itself is expected later this month. It's unclear right now as to what new capabilities this rumored update will introduce.
Earlier this week, Microsoft detailed a bunch of new features that it has added to Windows Autopatch. For those unaware, this is a managed enterprise service which hands over the reins of update deployments to Microsoft to reduce the burden on IT teams. The company then utilizes tools such as Windows Update for Business to ensure that Windows 10, Windows 11, Microsoft Edge, Teams, and other Microsoft 365 services are automatically updated in an organization. This includes the creation of testing rings, monitoring health, and rolling back updates if needed.
The latest capabilities in tow include application-only authentication through its app Modern Workplace Management, streamlined post-registration device readiness status, and quality updates reporting.
Additionally, Windows Server vNext build 25197 is now live in 18 languages. It fixes a known issue related to the Taskbar that was present in the previous build.
Organizations leveraging Microsoft Defender for Endpoint will also be pleased to know that the security solution has scored full marks in AV-Comparatives' latest Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS) credential dumping protection test.
There are a bunch of interesting news items to cover on the gaming front. For starters, Microsoft has announced that it is revamping the Xbox homepage in order to give it a more personalized feel while also catering to feature requests from gamers. Testing of the new dashboard has already begun in Xbox Insider rings but Microsoft has noted that this will be a multi-month "series of experiments" leading up to general release in 2023.
Meanwhile, those on non-Insider rings can take advantage of the latest version 10.0.22621.1836 update that brings party chat noise suppression and the ability to jump into games from your friends' shared captures.
The Redmond tech firm has finally unveiled the Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller "Core in white" too. It has a two-tone black and white design. It's also $50 cheaper because it does not include a charging dock, four extra paddles, additional thumbsticks, a spare D-Pad, or a carrying case. You can still nab these items through the "Complete Component Pack" for $59.99 though. Xbox Design Lab will soon support the Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 as well.
On the gaming side, check out this week's Deals with Gold headlined by Just Cause and Red Dead franchises. Don't forget to try out and/or purchase Conan Exiles, Madden NFL 23, Hunt: Showdown, and Riders Republic at massively discounted rates via the latest Xbox Free Play Days promotion. Then there's also the reveal for the latest Xbox Game Pass titles which include Grid Legends, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, You Suck at Parking, Metal: Hellsinger, and more.
And last, but definitely not the least, don't miss out on this Weekend's PC Game Deals, personally curated by our News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.
- Power BI now has a component for Vue.js applications
- PowerToys 0.62 is live with three brand-new tools
- The Microsoft Surface Pro X SQ2 16 GB/256 GB model is $450 off on Amazon right now
Surface Duo and Duo 2 have received the September 2022 update
Microsoft Edge on Android now has better video ad blocking
Surface Go 3 has netted the September 2022 firmware update
Under the spotlight
This week, News Reporter Taras Buria penned a very helpful guide on how you can enable the new Spotlight UI in the latest Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25197.
Meanwhile, forum member Adam Bottjen - better known as "Warwagon" - authored a very important piece on how you can set up your Medical ID on iOS, be sure to check it out here.
We will wrap up this week's edition of Microsoft Weekly with some food for thought about the new reforms being planned for big tech firms by the White House. With principles like youth safety, privacy, transparency, and fair competition, they sound excellent on paper. However, as with any legislative reform, the real challenge is how it will be implemented and enforced. Read our coverage on the topic here.
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Missed any of the previous columns? Check them all out at this link.