Microsoft Weekly: Windows bugs, Taskbar improvements, and games in Teams

Microsoft Weekly graphic with Windows 11 logo and mosquito clipart on the left and a Teams logo with

We are at the end of the week again and it is time once more to recap everything important that happened in the Microsoft-verse in the past few days. This time around, we have items related to Windows bugs (again), some nifty improvements to Windows 11 - including the Taskbar -, and games in Microsoft Teams (!), among other things. Without further ado, let's dive into our weekly digest for November 12 - November 18.

Windows bugs

Windows logo teal on dark blue background

As has been the running theme for the past few weeks, several bugs in Windows were discovered once again, but many were fixed too.

We'll start with an issue related to Kerberos authentication failures for Windows Server instances with the Domain Controller (DC) role. This was introduced due to this month's Patch Tuesday and led to various error messages when signing in, printing, and connecting using Remote Desktop. However, the good news is that Microsoft has already resolved the issue via out-of-band (OOB) updates that need to be manually downloaded and installed via the Update Catalog. The company has also advised customers to revert any other changes they may have made to work around the problem.

Next up, we also learned of a Direct Access bug affecting Windows 10, 11, Server 2019, and Server 2022. Direct Access is a feature that allows Windows users to access corporate networks without traditional VPN connections, providing a constant connection to organizations whenever there is working internet. However, you may experience problems using Direct Access if you temporarily lose internet connection. For now, Microsoft has applied a Known Issue Rollback (KIR) patch.

Another problem patched this week was related to Nvidia GPU usage readings being extremely off on Windows 11 version 22H2. Several users had reported GPU usage readings of around 100% even though the hardware was completely idle. The culprit was a bug in the Desktop Window Manager (DWM), which has been patched in the GeForce 526.98 driver update.

Finally, there was also a bug in Windows 10 that caused the Taskbar to suddenly disappear with the system becoming unresponsive. However, there is some good news here too as Microsoft has rolled back the problematic code modifications through KIR.

Taskbar refinements and other Windows goodness

A screenshot of Windows 11 desktop build 25211 with Taskbar context menu open

After a relatively long wait, the Dev Channel received a new release in the form of build 25247 this week. This is a significant update that restores seconds-level precision to the clock in the Taskbar system tray, as previously rumored. There are tons of other changes too, including the ability to access Windows Studio Effects from Quick Settings, Energy Recommendations in Settings, better theming and process filtering in Task Manager, and lots more.

The Start menu in this build will also recommend websites to you, but you can bet that this "feature" will be very controversial. Perhaps something that will be more palatable to Insiders will be a minor design revamp for certain sections of the Settings menu, along with more details for Win32 apps. Some of our readers are already complaining about the rumored return of the "never combine" Taskbar capability and dark mode switching via Action Center not making the cut in this build.

There were a few other builds released in the past few days too. Build 25246 was rolled out to the Windows Server 2022 Insider Preview. As usual, there is no dedicated changelog but there is one known issue. Microsoft detailed all the changes present in the latest Windows Holographic release, namely version 22H2, too.

Meanwhile, the Windows 11 Release Preview netted build 22621.898 (KB5020044). Although it has a pretty lengthy changelog, a notable item is a warning in the Settings app when you are running out of OneDrive storage, along with recommendations to purchase more of it. Windows 10 nabbed KB5020030 with builds 19042.2311, 19043.2311, 19044.2311, and 19045.2311 as well. It fixes several annoying bugs which include issues related to Microsoft Store update failures, printers, and DST, and also makes some changes to the Taskbar.

Other relatively smaller updates include jump lists for the Microsoft Store and a Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) November update with improvements to camera, Chromium 106, and support for MPEG2 decoding. And as it does from time to time, Microsoft has once again reminded customers that with Windows 8.1 support ending in a couple of months, now is the right time to upgrade to Windows 11.

Games in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams logo with shapes around it in the various colors of the Teams logo

Microsoft turned quite a few heads a couple of days ago by revealing that games are coming to its Teams software. Naturally, these are casual games like Minesweeper, Solitaire, and Wordament, not AAA titles. These games are being made available through the Games for Work app and Microsoft hopes that they can be used as a means to break the ice between hybrid and online teams, and also increase bonding within a team.

While we are on the topic of Teams, it is perhaps also worth highlighting that Microsoft has announced a lower-cost Teams Shared Device license for enterprise customers who don't want all the functionalities or premium price tag associated with the Teams Rooms license.

Microsoft 365 customer utilizing the Office mobile app heavily will also want to know that Microsoft is killing off two functionalities, namely "Transfer Files" and "Share Nearby" during its revamp of the app. Both the capabilities will find themselves on the chopping block on December 31, 2022 but the Redmond tech giant has emphasized that there are already better workarounds so there is no cause for concern.

In the same vein, Microsoft has also announced that following the deprecation of Basic Auth in Exchange Online, the next legacy feature it is killing off is the ability to authenticate over the Autodiscover protocol for Exchange Online. The staggered process for disabling it has already kicked off.

On the flip side, a software returning from the dead is SwiftKey for iOS. The app was scheduled for removal from the App Store on October 5 for undisclosed reasons but it seems like Microsoft has now changed its mind again with the company saying that it is "investing heavily in the keyboard". It's a bit weird, to say the least, considering both announcements have been accompanied by very little explanations.

Git gud

The Xbox Series S - Gilded Hunter Bundle

On the gaming front, we mostly have news about deals and promotions due to Black Friday being around the corner. Microsoft has a new Xbox Series S - Gilded Hunter Bundle and several other Xbox items discounted via the Unwrap Thrills sale. And if you decide that now is the right time to get an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you'll also get a three-month free trial for Apple TV+ and Apple Music.

Speaking of Xbox Game Pass, several new titles have hit the service, including Pentiment, Dune: Spice Wars, Somerville, Darktide, and more have hit Xbox Game Pass. Meanwhile, Games with Gold subscribers can grab Dead End Job for free. On the other hand, the Xbox Free Play Days promotion has NBA 2K23, Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker, and Deep Rock Galactic available at massive discounts.

The Xbox November update is live too. It's a pretty significant update with enhanced Discord voice capabilities, sale notifications, upgrades to cloud gaming, and much more. Meanwhile, you can also expect an invite to Xbox' Alpha and Alpha Skip-Ahead ring in the coming days - if you fall in Microsoft's good graces, that is.

On an ending note, Minecraft has received the Soccer Celebration DLC while Rare is overhauling Sea of Thieves' PVP encounters with on-demand action. And if you're a PC purist, you might want to check out this Weekend's PC Game Deals curated personally by our News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.

Dev Channel

An image showing Rufus creating Windows 11 install USB

Under the spotlight

Circular sign with ads written on it and a slash across it angry emoji on the right and Windows 11 l

A few days ago, I penned an editorial debating the merits and drawbacks of Microsoft implementing ads/recommendations/tips in Windows 11. If this topic sounds interesting to you, give it a read here.

A Windows 11 logo next to a Chrome logo

Meanwhile, News Reporter Taras Buria authored a guide on the process for enabling Suggested Actions with Chrome in Windows 11 Dev Channel build 25247.

Tech tip tuesday mouse

And as usual, forum member Adam Bottjen wrote a Tech Tip Tuesday guide in which he explained how you can make the mouse cursor on your Windows PC bigger and easier to find, which is a nifty tip to know if the default appearance of the cursor bothers you.

Geekom IT11 Mini PC

Finally, Neowin co-founder Steven Parker published his first impressions of the GEEKOM IT11 MiniPC ahead of his full review. It's a pretty interesting machine with a Black Friday discount and if you have any questions in your mind about the hardware and its performance, be sure to ask Steven in the comments section so he can answer them in his full review in the next few days.

Logging off

A skull overlay on a Macbook

Our most interesting news item in the past week has quite a startling revelation too. According to a recent study, around 50% of macOS malware comes from a single app. The app in question is MacKeeper, which ironically advertises itself as a way to "keep your Mac clean and safe with zero effort". However, as researchers have discovered, this also makes it a great attack vector for malicious actors due to the extensive permissions it has over the system on which it is installed. As always, this is also a reminder to download content only from trusted and verified sources, and to keep your machine up to date so it is more secure against security threats.

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