Microsoft Weekly: New builds for Windows 11, Microsoft 365 improvements and Edge upgrades

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Microsoft weekly graphic with Windows 11 logo on the left and Outlook and Teams logos on the right

Welcome to the first edition of Microsoft Weekly for 2023. As most of our readers may be aware, Microsoft Weekly is a digest where we summarize any important news related to the tech giant from the last seven days. This time, we have some updates related to the Windows 11 build, as well as a bunch of improvements for Teams and Outlook. Let’s dive into the latest edition of Microsoft Weekly covering January 1st – January 6th!

New year, new buildings

Windows 11 orange logo

After the holiday break spread over the last few weeks, Microsoft resumed the launch of Insider Preview components a few days ago. Windows 11 Dev Channel Insiders have been treated to build 25272, which contains a long list of bug fixes and general improvements. But more importantly, it also brings back a controversial start menu attribute, which is the recommendation of sites in the bottom half of the user interface. However, it is not yet clear whether this will return in the future. In addition, we learned that Microsoft may also be working on a “Gallery” interface, but it is not clear how it will differ from the photo library.

Meanwhile, Beta Channel Insiders have received build 22623.1095 (KB5022364). It contains more rounded corners for the Start Menu search box, along with bug fixes for the Task Manager, Start Menu, and Taskbar.

That’s not to say there’s nothing to talk about in the generally available version of Windows. Microsoft fixed a SQL Server issue that affected apps on various versions of Windows last week as well.

And for all the performance stat geeks out there, some new data suggests that Windows 11 won’t be faster than Windows 10, and may not have a huge advantage over Ubuntu. In related news, there have also been sporadic reports of the latest Patch Tuesday update for Windows 11 causing freezing issues on AMD Ryzen PCs. AMD has also claimed that it will improve Windows 11 performance on at least its latest Ryzen 7000X3D chips.

Finally, if you’re still using Windows 8.1 for some reason, consider upgrading as soon as possible because the OS is running out of support in a few days.

Microsoft 365 enhancements

The Microsoft 365 logo

There have been a bunch of updates related to Microsoft 365 in the past few days. For starters, the current Microsoft 365 channel includes version 15928.20198 (version 2212). The update brings new features for Access and Word and also fixes some bugs in the latest software and Excel. Speaking of Excel, Microsoft has finally introduced the Automate tab for desktop Excel users on both Mac and Windows, find out what it does here.

Meanwhile, mobile Outlook users should get a bunch of new features next month. These include better email forwarding and better warning messages and cleanup options when you’re about to run out of email storage. On the other hand, iOS users will get more customization options.

Similarly, the team’s customers also got some good news. The meeting toolbar has been revamped to make it much easier to navigate, but the feature is not yet generally available. Furthermore, February will bring “busy options,” which basically means users can customize how incoming calls are routed when you’re busy on an existing call or meeting.

Finally, it’s worth emphasizing that Skype and OneDrive were briefly down this week, but Microsoft was able to resolve the outage within a few hours.

Microsoft Edge and other app updates

Microsoft Edge browser

With 2023 in full swing, it looks like Microsoft has its work cut out for it in the Edge department. That’s because Statcounter’s latest statistics revealed that the browser only managed to gain 2% desktop market share throughout 2022. That doesn’t mean it’s performing worse compared to other browsers, but it reinforces the fact that having more than a billion Windows devices running around the world isn’t enough To make Microsoft win this race.

In related news, Microsoft Edge also recently received a new Dev build. On Android, a standout feature is improved ad blocking, but you should experience fewer crashes and enjoy other bug fixes on other platforms as well.

Similarly, PowerToys 0.66.0 brought with it a rich list of bug fixes and improvements – but no new toys unfortunately. And the third-party Virtual Desktop Helper utility now supports Windows 11 Insider builds as well. Find out more about this update here.

GUD git

Steam logo on Windows 11 stock wallpaper background

While Edge in the desktop market is probably not doing as well as Microsoft had hoped, Windows 11 seems to be making waves in the gaming community. Valve’s latest survey data indicates that the operating system is used by almost 29% of gamers, which is a significant figure considering the operating system’s young age.

In other notable news, Microsoft agreed to the ZeniMax Studios team to form a labor union in the US. This is a first for a US division of Microsoft, with the labor union consisting of about 300 quality assurance team members, more than any other game studio in the US to date.

On the Xbox side, we got an alpha ring preview build with a “last parties” feature to quickly dive back into the game with the same group of people you played with before. Meanwhile, CES 2023 saw a gimmicky ASUS ROG Raikiri Pro Xbox controller with a 1.3-inch OLED display above the Xbox button, which can be used to display text or animated backgrounds.

There was also a new Xbox Series X bundle with Forza Horizon 5 And many additions to the game. In addition, there were game subscriptions with gold Taken care of To Autumn irisBut if console gaming doesn’t quite suit your palette, check out the PC gaming weekend deals rounded up by our news editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe instead.

The development channel

Rocket launch station

under the spotlight

Remember this message

In this section, we first have some Outlook-focused tutorials. The first is Hemant Saxena’s newsletter that describes how to recall or edit an email after sending it through the Outlook 365 app.

Outlook monochrome logo outline on a dark gray and blue background

Next, we have a tutorial from news editor Justin Luna talking about how to schedule emails from the Outlook web app.

night light

Our third and final guide for this week is from forum member Adam Bottjen’s Tech Tip Tuesday article, which explains how you can reduce the blue light from your computer screen to ease the strain on your eyes and help you sleep better. Read this important guide here.

disconnects

Bing logo

Our most interesting piece of news this week is undoubtedly a report claiming that Microsoft is looking to integrate the popular ChatGPT large language model into its Bing search engine. This wouldn’t be too surprising given that Microsoft has invested $1 billion in OpenAI, the company behind the machine learning model. Of course, both companies declined to comment on the matter but it will be really interesting to see if Bing on steroids Powered by ChatGPT is enough to dethrone Google in the long run.


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