Welcome to the final edition of Microsoft Weekly for this year and what a year it was. However, just like last time, we have a relatively shorter recap today due to the holiday season, expect the news flow to pick up again from next week. This time, we’ll round up some Windows news that might make you feel nostalgic, an interesting feature coming to Notepad, and some app updates. Without further ado, let’s dive into our latest digest covering December 24th – December 30th!
Let’s start with a sip of nostalgia. It turns out that Stardock’s latest WindowsBlinds 11 update introduced a “Classic Windows skin”, which is basically a Windows 95 theme. Of course, this is only a cosmetic change and is intended for those who want to take a trip down memory lane or for young readers who just want to look at how Windows has evolved over the last decades. The good news is that the Windows 95 skin is available for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs.
Another dose of nostalgia we got this week (sort of) involved running Windows 7 on a machine slowed down to just 5MHz, using a Pentium-S processor – which is 200 times lower than the official requirement – and 128MB of RAM. Of course, Windows 7 is not quite as old as Windows 95, it is still more than a decade old. All in all, it’s a pretty interesting experiment that serves no real-world purpose, but it was mostly a success.
Tabs in a notepad
After the release of the tabbed file explorer in Windows 11, it looks like Microsoft is preparing a tabbed interface for Notepad as well, as you can see in the screenshot above. The image was accidentally leaked by a Microsoft employee and promptly deleted, but it’s surprising that this issue arose in the first place considering there’s a pretty big red banner on top of the app telling employees not to discuss features or take screenshots of this version of Notepad. Either way, now Windows 11 users at least know that Microsoft is considering this capability for Notepad.
Speaking of what to expect next, the Redmond-based tech giant is reportedly preparing three feature updates (!!!) for Windows 11 in 2023. The first should arrive in February or March, the next in May or June, and the last in September or October . For a detailed breakdown of what to expect in each of these updates, check out our section here.
Teams and other app updates
Just in time, Microsoft shared all the features it added to Teams in December 2022. The online communication and collaboration tool received a host of improvements including the ability to delete chats for better organization, replying to messages with more than 800 emojis, an AI-driven suggestion Regarding adding people in new chats, and the ability to add new friends to a chat directly through the “@” keyword and not through the dialog box, among many other things.
Meanwhile, WingetUI, which is a third-party GUI utility for managing CLI package managers, received a major update to fix blurry textures in Windows 10 and improve the placement of the context menu for Taskbar in Windows 11, among other things.
Finally, Rufus alternative Ventoy also received an update to bypass Windows 11 system requirements and Microsoft account (MSA) / Internet connection with version 1.0.86. The utility is used by many to create Windows bootable media.
Some recent tests have found that Windows 11 is a superior gaming OS compared to Ubuntu on AMD hardware. Multiple games and software were tested on both operating systems with Windows 11 emerging as the winner. Although of course, you could argue that Windows 11 is the OS of choice for the gaming community in general, anyway because of developers targeting it and the associated ease of use and installation.
At the end of this section with promotions, you get Xbox game subscriptions with gold Autumn iris and Autonauts Next Month. Meanwhile, the latest Gold Deals promotion is headlined by Rainbow Six Siege and vampire. And if you’re a member of the PC Master Race, check out this weekend’s gaming deals curated by our news editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe.
The development channel
under the spotlight
A few days ago I shared my thoughts on why Microsoft 365 is my favorite Microsoft product, ahead of Windows 11, Xbox, Game Pass, Edge and everything else. You can read my thoughts here.
Meanwhile, news reporter Taras Boria has claimed the top 11 Windows 11 apps he thinks every user should install.
And Neowin co-founder Stephen Parker has written a guide explaining how to quickly fix empty tiles in the Windows 10 Start menu. Interestingly, this fix is not widely known, so if you’re bothered by this problem, check out Stephen’s article here.
On the other hand, news reporter Hemant Saxena has written a guide detailing the process to resize the taskbar in Windows 11.
And last but not least, forum member Adam Bottjen described how to disconnect a device from Facebook in his latest edition of Tech Tip Tuesday.
Our most interesting news story this week is that Amazon has started delivering orders via drones in California and Texas. The company already got the green light from the US Federal Aviation Administration a few years ago. During this latest trial period, drones will fly to the intended delivery address, land in the customer’s backyard and deliver the package, with limited human intervention. The service is currently limited to the College Station Prime Air Drone Delivery Center (PADDC) and Lockford PADDC but will gradually expand to more customers in the future.
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Thanks for sticking with us this year and we hope you have a great 2023!