Updates for Microsoft Certification Beta Exams

For those out there that are Microsoft Certified Professionals and have taken beta tests in the past, there is an update to the beta program. Due to a lot of no-shows when it comes to the beta exams, Microsoft will be giving an 80% discount on the beta exams instead of 100%. You also get a 20% discount when you show up – pass or fail. If you’re planning another certification in the next year, it can make the beta exam essentially free.

As many of you know, seats for many of our beta exams fill rapidly, which, in theory, should be a good thing. Quick registration means high levels of interest, which should translate into having a sufficient enough of candidates taking our exams quickly enough that we can perform the required psychometric analysis to identify the good items and remove the bad items in a few weeks.

However, we are seeing an increasing number of no shows. Unfortunately, these seats are “lost,” meaning that they took a seat from someone who would have showed up but couldn’t participate in the beta because all the seats were taken when s/he tried to register, often requiring us to extend betas. As a result, every no show delays our ability to gather the necessary data to move the exam out of beta and delays the scoring of the beta exam for those who DID show up—because we need several hundred completed exams before we can start scoring.

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Windows 10 Insider Build 17040 Released

The Fast Ring of the Windows Insider program has just received a new build, build 17040. As always, be sure to check the change notes for the known issues in case there is a show stopper for you.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • We’ve added settings that let you view and manage your activity history, which Cortana uses to let you pick up where you left off. Find these settings in Settings > Privacy > Activity history.
  • We fixed an issue where network profiles might change from Private to Public after upgrading to the previous build.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in checkboxes being missing from certain win32 apps.
  • We fixed a typo in the Windows Defender Security Center’s Controlled Folder Settings.
  • We fixed an issue resulting not being able to fully remove Windows.old in the last two flights.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Narrator not saying anything when the candidate bar for hardware keyboard prediction opened. We also fixed an issue where Narrator wasn’t reading the word candidate when the focus moved into candidate bar.
  • We fixed an issue where the “Working on updates” screen was black with a small theme colored box instead of entirely theme colored.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders experiencing a green screen on the previous flight with the error BAD_POOL_CALLER.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in UWP app sometimes leaving drop shadow leftovers after closing the window.
  • We fixed an issue where inactive window scrolling wouldn’t work if Excel 2016 was in focus.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in a noticeable flicker when using hotkeys or a precision touchpad to switch between virtual desktops.
  • We fixed an issue where the XAML Reveal light wouldn’t follow your mouse until the first mouse click – instead showing the entire element lit. This issue was visible in Settings and other XAML based UI in the last few builds.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in changes to Feedback Frequency in Feedback & Diagnostics Settings not persisting after leaving the page and returning.
  • We fixed an issue where Start wouldn’t open if you pressed the Windows key when the system menu from elevated Command Prompt or Task Manager window was open.
  • We fixed a rare issue where if you had certain streaming-capable apps on your PC before upgrading you might end up seeing a black screen with only a cursor for some time after logging in.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights where the “Add” button in the PIN section of Sign-in Option Settings didn’t work for local accounts.
  • We’ve updated the icon for Collections in Cortana.
  • We’ve updated the touch keyboard so that the margin between each key is visual only. This change will be noticeable if you accidentally overshoot the key press by just a tiny bit – before it might seem as if key presses were being dropped in this scenario.
  • Based on your feedback, the feature to restore applications that have registered for application restart after you reboot or shutdown (through power options available on the Start Menu and various other locations) has been set to only occur for users that have enabled “Use my sign-in info to automatically finish setting my device after an update or restart” in the Privacy section under Sign-in Options Settings.

Known issues

  • If you are experiencing broken functionality in Mail, Cortana, Narrator or missing some features like Windows Media Player, please see this Feedback Hub post: https://aka.ms/Rsrjqn.
  • Popular Tencent games like League of Legends and NBA2k Online may cause 64-bit PCs to bugcheck (GSOD).
  • VPNs which use custom pop-up windows during connection attempts may fail to connect with error 720.
  • Due to a bug that was introduced on the previeous build, you may not receive all of your notifications from Cortana. Reminders are unaffected by this bug, but you may not receive other Cortana notifications that you are expecting. We are working to resolve this issue and will release the fix in an upcoming flight.
  • The Properties dialog for This PC in File Explorer isn’t working and can’t be invoked from the context menu.
  • Insiders with certain third party antiviruses and OneDrive Files on Demand enabled may see an error citing “OneDrive cannot connect to Windows”.
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Microsoft Has Stopped Manufacturing The Kinect

The Kinect for the Xbox hasn’t been that successful. The most use I get out of it has been “Xbox, Pause”. It has potential, but it just didn’t have much support. Even then, it wasn’t the best support. Microsoft has stopped the production of the device, giving it’s last nail in the coffin.

It wasn’t a bad device by any measure. It just didn’t have the games or applications to make it a hit.

The Kinect had already been slowly de-emphasized by Microsoft, as the Xbox team anchored back around traditional gaming to counter the PS4, rather than take its more experimental approach to entertainment. Yet while the Kinect as a standalone product is off the market, its core sensor lives on. Kinect v4–and soon to be, v5–powers Microsoft’s augmented reality Hololens, which Kipman also created. Meanwhile, Kinect’s team of specialists have gone on to build essential Microsoft technologies, including the Cortana voice assistant, the Windows Hello biometric facial ID system, and a context-aware user interface for the future that Microsoft dubs Gaze, Gesture, and Voice (GGV).

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Build 17025 Available for Fast Ring Insiders for Windows 10

Those in the Fast Ring are now able to update to 17017. Not a whole lot of new features, numerous fixes. As usual – check the known issues to see if there is a show stopper for you!

Known issues

  • If you are experiencing broken functionality in Mail, Cortana, Narrator or missing some features like Windows Media Player, please see this Feedback Hub post: https://aka.ms/Rsrjqn.
  • Using a swipe gesture with touch to dismiss notifications from the Action Center is currently not working. We’re investigating – for now you’ll need to use the clear all button, or use mouse/keyboard.
  • There’s a noticeable screen flicker when using hotkeys or the touchpad to switch between Virtual Desktops.
  • Invoking the Game bar with Win + G may cause the mouse cursor to become unresponsive while Game bar is up. Keyboard navigation still works and pressing Win + G again will close the Game bar, restoring the mouse cursor to the game.
  • Calendar toast dismiss and snooze icons may be missing from notifications in Action Center.
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How Fall Creators Update Phased Rollout Works

If your Windows 10 device hasn’t updated to the newest Fall Creators Update, don’t worry, you’ll get it. It’s by design. Microsoft has implemented a phased rollout approach to the release of their updates.

The Fall Creators Update begins rolling out to newer devices tested by us and our device partners. By starting with machines which we believe will have the best update experience, we are able to get focused feedback on application compatibility and how Windows works with the rich ecosystem of available peripherals like Bluetooth devices or cameras. Additionally, we closely monitor feedback from fans and early adopters, through programs like Windows Insiders and Windows Insider for Business, in addition to feedback from our OEM device partners, and customers like you! This helps us determine when to accelerate the release to additional devices. We repeat this process until all compatible devices running Windows 10 worldwide are offered the Fall Creators Update.

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What’s New for IT Pro’s in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Microsoft Technet has a blog post on what is new in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update that will apply to IT Pro’s, rather than just the average home user (some home users use features designed for the enterprise, so not ALL home users are excluded!).

Also to note – you can register for an upcoming webcast with a Q&A session with Michael Niehaus and Nathan Mercer. These are always nice to attend as they are great at presenting a lot of useful information and answering some of the questions people may have.

A lot of great new additions to Windows 10 FCU for those that manage Windows 10 in their environment.

Windows 10, version 1709 (also known as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update) is now available via Windows Update for Business, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), the Volume Licensing Servicing Center (VLSC), and Visual Studio Subscriptions. We have also updated the Windows Assessment and Development Kit (Windows ADK) for Windows 10 and the free, 90-day Windows 10 Enterprise Evaluation.

Windows 10, version 1709 is the fourth feature update for Windows 10, offering IT professionals a comprehensive set of intelligent security solutions, streamlined deployment and management options, and proactive insights to help protect data and devices, save time, and reduce costs. We recommend that you test the newest features and functionality in this Semi-Annual Channel release now in preparation for broad deployment to the devices in your organization.

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Working in the Trees at Microsoft

Microsoft has done the greatest thing ever for it’s employees – made them a tree house working area. Working outside is a plus in itself, but working outside in a tree fort is one of the best things ever! I can see being more productive, more relaxed, and opening more communications by having meetings and working in this environment. I would love to work here whenever I could. I know there are some ‘Softies in Redmond thinking “We should have a meeting!”, just to get out there and enjoy the new space!

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Security Baseline for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Final

For the IT Pros (or security professionals using Windows 10), the final version of the Security Baseline for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has been released. There are no changes between this and the draft release that was posted a few weeks ago, so if you have that you are already good to go!

The 1709 baseline package includes GPOs that can be imported in Active Directory, scripts for applying the GPOs to local policy, custom ADMX files for Group Policy settings, and all the recommended settings in spreadsheet form. The spreadsheet also includes the corresponding settings for configuring through Windows’ Mobile Device Management (MDM).

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Noteworthy Security Features in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

CSO Online has a writeup of six of the new security features in Windows 10. While these are not all of the security features with Windows 10, it’s a good start for checking out what’s available.

Among the new features that the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update offers are six new ways to enhance or better manage security settings. They include options to limit app access to your personal data and the ability to better protect folders, devices and executables, The step-by-step instructions below show how to make the best use of the new security features.

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RSAT Tools For Windows 10 ver. 1709 Available for Download

The Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT) are available for the new Fall Creators Update, version 1709. This is for the IT Pro’s out there that want to manage Windows Server’s remotely using Windows 10.

A few known issues to look at before updating, which may be a show stopper for you.

    RSAT Package recommendation:
    When to use WS_1709 RSAT Package: When managing Windows Server, version 1709
    When to use WS2016 RSAT Package: When managing targets older than Windows Server, version 1709
    There are known issues that may impact RSAT functionality
    Issue: DNS Tools missing
    Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users
    Resolution: Use the WS2016 RSAT package
    Issue: Cannot turn off individual RSAT components
    Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users
    Resolution: Use the WS2016 RSAT package
    Issue: Tabs missing from MMC Properties
    Impact: Windows 10 clients before the Anniversary Update
    Resolution: Update to the latest version of Windows 10 client and reinstall RSAT
    Issue: Shielding Data File Wizard cannot create shielding data files
    Impact: Windows 10 Clients running the Fall Creators Update
    Resolution: Use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 Anniversary Update to create shielding data files for Windows shielded VMs, or the built-in RSAT tools in Windows Server, version 1709 to create shielding data files for both Windows and Linux shielded VMs.
    Issue: Template disks created from the Template Disk Wizard do not boot
    Impact: Windows 10 Clients running the Fall Creators Update
    Resolution: Use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 Anniversary Update to create template disks for Windows shielded VMs, or the built-in RSAT tools in Windows Server, version 1709 to create shielding data files for both Windows and Linux shielded VMs.

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