We’re at the end of yet another week, which means it’s time to recap everything that’s happened in the world of Microsoft over the past few days. It’s safe to say that this was one of the busiest weeks of the year so far in this space. Read on to find out why this was so in our weekly roundup from February 5 to February 11.
Windows 11 feature leaks
Interestingly, there have been a lot of leaks regarding upcoming Windows 11 features this week. A report claims that Windows 11 users will soon be able to add stickers to their wallpapers, set priority notifications outside of Focus Assist, take advantage of tablet mode and view their device’s durability score. Focus Assist could also be renamed simply “Focus”.
Another leak indicates that Microsoft may introduce a prompt in Settings for users running Windows 11 on unsupported configurations. The company is also considering adding an overflow drop-down menu to the taskbar so you can switch between multiple apps.
There are also indications that more functionality will be added to Task Manager, as can be seen in Dev Channel build 22543. This includes information regarding app health, battery health, and more.
Finally, another report indicates that Microsoft plans to add other features to Windows 11 in the form of an App folder in the Start menu, the return of drag and drop to the taskbar, acrylic effects for the bars legacy titles and a new Snap Bar UX. All of these should be gradually rolling out to Insiders over the coming weeks.
This week was also Patch Tuesday, and you can find the changelogs for various versions of Windows below:
On the Insider Preview front, Microsoft is still fixing some issues in the Dev Channel, so while we don’t have a new build there, we do have one in the Beta Channel with build 22000.526 (KB5010414 ). There is a long list of fixes, check it out here.
Finally, it’s important to remember that Windows 10 version 20H2 (October 2020 Update) is going out of servicing in May this year, so if you’re still running it, it might be time to consider update to the latest feature update available. .
If you’re an active Microsoft Teams user, you’ll be pleased to know that there are improvements to look forward to. First, Microsoft pointed out that it has made Teams 50% more energy efficient over the past two years thanks to CPU and GPU improvements. Some of the performance improvements relate to GPU-based hardware acceleration, camera optimization to reduce CPU loads, and improved Teams video scaling when working with different group calls. of resolution. That said, the company’s work isn’t done yet, and it will continue to work with CPU and GPU vendors to make further gains in this area.
People who use breakout rooms will be happy to know that managing them has been simplified. Some of the new features include the ability to reassign attendees to ensure the right people are in breakout rooms when needed, persistence of assignments which ensures the same people are included in subsequent sessions, breakout room timers, the ability to add up to 10 breakout room managers. , and create breakout rooms and attendee assignment tasks before the meeting. All of these features are now available in the generally available version of the desktop app.
Teams users on Android have not been forgotten either. They have the text prediction to look forward to, in April. The same will be added to iOS devices at a “later date”.
Since we are talking about Microsoft applications, it is worth pointing out that Outlook for Android has also received text prediction. Meanwhile, SwiftKey has received support for more languages, emoji search, and Intelligent Nudge that can create to-dos on your behalf. OneNote on the web and Teams has many new features that have also started rolling out, such as self-inking pen support, a new mode switcher, and the ability to resize videos. Microsoft is also working to bring an improved link sharing experience.
The unified whiteboard experience that was designed for hybrid working will be available for Surface Hub devices this month. And the Microsoft Your Phone app has been updated to show recent apps in the Windows 11 notification area in Insider builds.
There was a lot of news to cover in the area of cybersecurity this week. In a major announcement, Microsoft said it will also block Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) macros in Office files obtained from the Internet by default. This change will affect Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, and Word files. It will also be much more difficult for users to enable macros in such files.
The Microsoft Defender Preview app for Windows and Android is now also live. Although identical to Defender for Windows users, it provides additional security for Android devices, with some caveats. Being an always-on service, Microsoft Defender Preview needs users to grant the “Accessibility Services” permission. It periodically performs scans to reduce the impact on battery life. In its preview phase, it requires a Microsoft account, but once it becomes generally available, it will need a Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscription. It is currently only available in the United States
Along the same lines, security firm AV-Comparatives has released its annual report for 2021, and it isn’t too impressed with Microsoft Defender. This sparked a bit of debate in our comments section, so feel free to contribute here.
If you are looking for workarounds to force upgrade your computer to Windows 11, beware of malicious websites posing as Microsoft offering downloads for the operating system. These websites usually contain malware such as RedLine. Find out all the details here.
Microsoft also announced a Security Insider program for business leaders, namely chief information security officers (CISOs). Security Insider is basically a hub of advice from Microsoft on how you should manage your organization’s security.
Under the projectors
While our original content this week isn’t about Microsoft, it’s still worth talking about. Neowin News reporter Dean Howell shared his thoughts this week on how Portal: Companion Collection for the Nintendo Switch is actually a masterstroke for the Steam Deck. You can read his point of view here.
Before we wrap up this week’s column, we want to draw your attention to some findings from Google’s Project Zero security team. Project Zero has released statistics regarding its security investigations of various products developed by Google and other vendors over the past two years. It turns out that most security vulnerabilities have been discovered in Microsoft products, and the company takes an average of 76 days to resolve reported issues. There were also less than glowing remarks for Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. If this piqued your interest, check out the full report here.
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