We are racing towards the end of the year and the technological news is not slowing down at all. If anything, it picks up even more pace. Join us as we round up the latest news from the Microsoft universe, including information on additional bugs and their patch fixes, a bunch of Windows updates, and a few app updates for good measure. Without further ado, let’s dive into our weekly recap for December 10th – December 16th!
As has been the case in recent weeks, we’ve learned about many new bugs in various versions of Windows, along with their fixes, where available.
Let’s start with good news. A bug that makes Task Manager unreadable in custom themes in Windows 11 version 22H2 has now been squashed by Microsoft. This fix was offered through the latest Patch Tuesday update for the operating system under KB5021255. In a similar vein, VMware has also released an update for Workstation Pro and Workstation Player to fix the “Unsupported processor” error when installing Windows 11 or Windows Server 2022.
Switching gears a bit, Microsoft admitted that it pushed a buggy update to Windows 11 version 22H2 and Windows 10 version 22H2 a few days ago. The update was previously only available for Windows 11 and Windows 10 version 21H2 when bugs were discovered. Microsoft has now admitted its mistake but a permanent fix for the problems is still in the works.
We also discovered that the latest Patch Tuesday release broke the workflow of creating new network adapters on Hyper-V hosts managed by Software Defined Networking (SDN) defined in System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) on Windows Server 2019 and 2022. Again, a fix is in the works but workarounds have been released.
Following this stream of news, Microsoft released another fix for the file copy kernel bug. However, it’s currently only available as a preview on Dev Channel build 25267. The company also noted that it has fixed Direct Access connectivity issues plaguing Windows 11 and Windows 10. A fix for those affected by gaming performance issues on Windows 11 is now on the way A rule is also available.
However, a new bug that surfaced yesterday has taskbar icons flashing, the taskbar becoming unresponsive, and certain apps freezing. Microsoft has initiated a known issue recall (KIR) but is apparently still working on a more permanent fix.
Windows 11’s next “moment” and Patch Tuesday
We’ve heard rumblings this week that Microsoft plans to launch the Windows 11 “Moment 3” update containing new features sometime in May 2023. However, before you get all excited, note that Moment 2 hasn’t even been released yet. As such, not much else is known about this release. And although it doesn’t mean much anymore, it seems that the development for the zinc semester has also started.
But let’s go back to the present for now. This week was the third week of patching and received updates for all support versions of Windows. Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 have been patched to KB5021291 and KB5021294 respectively, fixing a memory leak and a daylight saving time (DST) issue. Meanwhile, Windows 10’s KB5021233 fixed an issue with the camera app but also introduced some known issues. Finally, Windows 11 received KB5021234 (21H2) and KB5021255 (22H2) with a very long changelog of new features and issues.
The Dev channel was released this week as well. Build 25267 is the final build in this channel for this year and it brings improvements to the taskbar, system tray, file explorer, a redesigned Windows Firewall dialog and more, along with a few new issues, of course. As is usually the case, a Windows Server edition with the same build number was also launched, along with a preview of Windows Server Datacenter: Azure Edition. Windows 11 Beta Channel builds 22621.1037 and 22623.1037 with voice access improvements are also available.
Finally, if you’re still using Windows 10 version 21H1 for some reason, it’s time to upgrade as soon as possible because this particular version of the operating system has reached the end of support. And if you’re an IT manager managing Windows Update deployments, you might want to check out the latest Intune features that enable flexible configuration of feature updates and expedited quality updates.
An alternative to File Explorer… and other app updates
The Files app, which won the 2022 Microsoft Store Award for Best File Management Capabilities, got some big updates this week. The first ported the app from the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) to the Windows App SDK with rounded corners, Windows 11-style grids, new layouts, menu items, and more. Meanwhile, the second update introduced a “fake glitter” theme to make the design more consistent with Windows 11. The good news is that all these features are also available in the Windows 10 version of the app, which means you can take advantage of the Windows 11 aesthetic even on an older OS More.
Elsewhere, there have been tons of updates for other apps as well. Let’s start with Microsoft Teams where Microsoft is working on AI-based file sharing and automatic download of (digital) hands in a meeting. Some capabilities now available are multi-question surveys to collect a wider range of feedback and new touch and whiteboard experiences in Teams rooms for Android. In addition, a preview of Teams Premium was launched with a free 30-day trial. It’s basically an addition to Teams with more customization, artificial intelligence functionality, and built-in security features. When it becomes generally available early next year, it will cost $10 per user per month.
With all these updates on the Teams front, you’d think Microsoft doesn’t care about Skype anymore. But you are completely wrong. For some reason, Skype received an update that adds real-time translation with your personal voice “TruVoice”. What’s more, the Redmond technology company has announced a major redesign of Skype that aims to present a more “delightful and enjoyable” experience.
When we got to Microsoft Edge, we found out that the browser will receive an update on February 14, 2023 that will permanently disable Internet Explorer. However, this will again be a phased process and the actual removal of the requirement will occur with the Patch Tuesday June 2023 updates. In related news, the final Edge Dev update for this year introduced improvements to the sidebar, while a recent Canary update began offering 15GB of free data via Edge VPN rather than the previous limit of 1GB. While we’re talking about browser updates, it’s also worth noting that Firefox 108 is now out with support for Windows 11 Efficiency Mode, improvements to PDF forms, and more.
Some native Windows apps have also received updates. The new Windows Media Player first introduced in Windows 11 is now also available for Windows 10 Preview Channel users. It features a modern interface with improved keyboard shortcuts and assistive technologies. Similarly, Quick Assist has been updated in older versions of Windows that Microsoft has promised to continue to support in the future. And the updated widget design is now rolling out to all Windows 11 users as well.
Meanwhile, smaller updates include the discontinuation of the Microsoft Authenticator app on the Apple Watch next month, version 2211 of the Windows Admin Center, Soundscape going open source, and Android 13 in the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) Preview. Finally, you may notice that the OneDrive app in Windows 11 has been redesigned, check out all the changes here.
We don’t have a ton of gaming news this time, but what we do have is an indication that Microsoft is more intent on offering Windows 11 as the gaming platform of choice instead of Xbox, at least in India. At a recent tech event in the country, Microsoft highlighted the gaming capabilities of Windows 11 while crickets chirped at its Xbox booth.
On the deals side, though, the Xbox Series S is down to $239 this holiday season. In the same space in digital games, Max Payne and Watchdogs This week’s headline deals with gold, while Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dragon Ball The Breakersand WWE 2K22 Offered in this week’s free play days sale. Similarly, games with host gold blade fury as his latest addition. You might also be interested to know that COD: MWII is having a free multiplayer event on Xbox this weekend and you don’t even need Xbox Live Gold to participate.
Finally, don’t forget to check out this weekend’s PC gaming deals, handpicked by our News Editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.
The development channel
under the spotlight
Following his piece two weeks ago about five great features and improvements coming soon to Windows 11, news reporter Taras Boria went in the opposite direction a few days ago and shared his thoughts on the five not-so-good changes coming to the operating system.
Taras also wrote a guide on how to enable hidden themes in Windows 11, originally intended for educational environments.
Meanwhile, forum member Adam Bottjen has put together a clever Tech Tip Tuesday tutorial that explains how to use Wi-Fi calling when you’re in an area with poor reception.
Finally, news editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe surveyed High On LifeCreators of Rick and Morty, when we spoke to him he was surprised by the deep combat and overall humorous tone of the game. You can read his thoughts here.
Our most interesting but somewhat scary news this week concerns a proof of concept (POC) that demonstrated how to trick some antivirus solutions into permanently deleting your files, including those belonging to the system. Microsoft has already acknowledged the problem and patched the vulnerability in Defender, as have Avast, AVG and Trend Micro with their products. Some like CrowdStrike, McAfee and BitDefender are seemingly immune to this particular exploit.
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