What Makes Microsoft Tick?

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Mary Jo Foley asked the question “What Makes Microsoft Tick?“. It’s undeniable that Microsoft has improved by leaps and bounds since Satya Nadella took the reigns from Steve Ballmer in 2014. They’ve changed internally and how they interact with the end users to their product lineup. Another big thing that’s changed is how they treat the competition. No longer are they the enemy that must be squashed by any means necessary, but another market to leverage. It’s a friendlier, more approachable Microsoft.

Her article is a good read with a lot of excellent points. While Nadella has killed some great products, he has the internal insight to see what is successful and what is not as well as the deeper analytics of market trends. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s in the future for this “new” Microsoft under Nadella. It’s been almost 5 years, and it’s been great so far (and the stock agrees with that).

Since Satya Nadella took the CEO spot almost five years ago, it’s been hard to avoid reading about Microsoft’s new mission statement: Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. But many underestimate how this sappy-sounding tagline plays into how Microsoft operates these days.

Microsoft Edge to use Chromium Engine

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Microsoft has been making some waves in the open source movement the past few years and are now moving forward with integrating some of that into some of their mainstream products. Google’s Chrome browser has become an almost standard these days, and Microsoft is going to adopt the Chromium engine as part of their Edge browser. Will this bring more market share to the struggling browser?

Ultimately, we want to make the web experience better for many different audiences. People using Microsoft Edge (and potentially other browsers) will experience improved compatibility with all web sites, while getting the best-possible battery life and hardware integration on all kinds of Windows devices. Web developers will have a less-fragmented web platform to test their sites against, ensuring that there are fewer problems and increased satisfaction for users of their sites; and because we’ll continue to provide the Microsoft Edge service-driven understanding of legacy IE-only sites, Corporate IT will have improved compatibility for both old and new web apps in the browser that comes with Windows.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Available for Fast Ring

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The Windows Insider team has released build 18298 to the Fast Ring. Some new features, a lot of fixes, and a few issues. Make sure to check out the known issues before updating to avoid any show stoppers!

Known issues

  • The hyperlink colors need to be refined in Dark Mode in Sticky Notes if the Insights are enabled.

  • Settings crashes when clicking on the “View storage usage on other drives” option under System > Storage.

  • The Windows Security app may show an unknown status for the Virus & threat protection area, or not refresh properly. This may occur after upgrade, restart, or settings changes.

  • Delete previous version of Windows in Configure Storage Sense is not selectable.

  • Settings will crash when opening Speech Settings.

  • The cmimanageworker.exe process may hang causing system slowness or higher than normal CPU usage. This can be bypassed by rebooting the machine if it occurs.

  • Launching games that use BattlEye anti-cheat will trigger a bug check (green screen) – we’re investigating.

Build 18290 Released to Fast Ring

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The Windows Insider team has released build 18290 to the Fast Ring. A few new features, but a few good notes to pay attention to this time. First, these builds do have an expiration date, so make sure to keep your Insider builds updated. Next, the upcoming Bug Bash for the 19H1 release is coming up January 11th-20th. Always a fun time to do quests and share your input. As usual, check out the release notes and known issues to make sure there isn’t a show stopper in there for you.

As pre-release software, Insider Preview builds have a built-in expiration date that we call a “timebomb”. This has been included ever since the first Windows 10 Insider Preview build and helps ensure Insiders stay up to date with the latest features and quality updates. Once a build expires, Insiders will be provided a warning that the build has expired and will get that warning once a day. In addition to that, Insiders will also see User Access Control (UAC) warnings as well. Insiders in both the Fast and Slow rings need to make sure they are running the latest builds offered to those rings. Insiders in the Fast ring need to make sure they take the update to 19H1 Build 18290 (today’s flight) in order to avoid hitting the timebomb set to Dec. 14th . Additionally, Insiders who used ISO for Build 18272 also need to take the Build 18290 flight to avoid hitting the timebomb. We will be removing these ISOs from the download page shortly. Insiders in the Slow ring running older builds need to update to Build 17763 (the final build for the October 2018 Update) to avoid hitting the timebomb in older RS5 builds. Insiders can check their flight settings and verify they have the latest builds by going to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program.

Build 17751 Released to Fast Ring

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The Insiders team has released build 17751 to the fast ring today. Some sites have said that this is the final build, but as Brandon LeBlanc has said via Twitter and this blog post :

  • The build watermark at the lower right-hand corner of the desktop is no longer present in this build. This does not mean this is the final build as we are not done yet. We’re just now beginning the phase of checking in final code to prepare for the final release.

So, we are getting close to the final release to consumer for this latest update, but this build it not quite there yet. As usual, it’s ready when it’s ready. So, what’s the official name of this update? Creators Update, Spring Update, etc.? Just called “Windows 10 October 2018 Update”.  Simple and sweet.

Just a few small known issues this build. Make sure they won’t affect you too much before you update!

Known issues

  • When you use the Ease of Access Make Text bigger setting, you might see text clipping issues, or find that text is not increasing in size everywhere.

  • Narrator sometimes does not read in the Settings app when you navigate using Tab and arrow keys. Try switching to Narrator Scan mode temporarily. And when you turn Scan mode off again, Narrator will now read when you navigate using Tab and arrows key. Alternatively, you can restart Narrator to work around this issue.

  • Clicking on web links in PWAs such as Twitter doesn’t open the browser in this build. We’re working on a fix.

Build 17704 Released

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Another new build for the Fast ring and Skip Ahead, build 17704 has been released! Along with a Bug Bash and a Contest. There are way too many updates to this build to include it here, so check out the blog for more info. So, here’s the Known Issues which is always nice to know.

Known issues

  • We’re working on adding dark theme in File Explorer and the Common File Dialog, but we still have some things to do. You may see some unexpectedly light colors in these surfaces when in dark mode and/or dark on dark text.

  • When you upgrade to this build you’ll find that the taskbar flyouts (network, volume, etc) no longer have an acrylic background.

  • We’re working on improving settings for HDR videos, games and apps in a new Windows HD Color page under System > Display. Some things temporarily will not work; notably, some users will not be able to enable/disable HDR display support.

  • Applications that use ICC color profiles may encounter errors such as Access Denied. This includes the Color Management control panel, and color profile switching on certain Surface devices.

  • When you use the Ease of Access > Make Text bigger setting, you may see text clipping issues, or find that text is not increasing in size everywhere. Also if your System > Display > Scaling and layout is not set to 100%, some text might appear unexpectedly tiny after reverting the “Make text bigger” value back to 0%.

  • Windows Mixed Reality may get stuck after going to sleep and display a persistent error message in Mixed Reality Portal or a “Wake up” button that doesn’t work. To work around this, restart your computer or explorer.exe to use Windows Mixed Reality again.

What’s New for IT Pros in Windows 10 1803?

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Microsoft has a blog post about what is new for IT pros in the latest release of Windows 10, version 1803. The version is officially released for end users and enterprises via the regular channels and MSDN.

For those that are deploying Windows 10 or that already have and are looking at the upcoming update, the post has some good information to start your research on the latest features included. Upcoming on May 22nd is a 1 hour webinar and a 24 hour AMA (Ask Me Anything) session for Microsoft to answer any questions you may have about the new release.

On Tuesday, May 22nd, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Pacific Time (PT), Pieter and Nathan will walk you through the latest features for configuring, deploying, and managing Windows 10 devices, as well as the security capabilities that can help you protect your data and devices end-to-end. There’s a lot to cover in just one hour so, instead of our usual live Q&A at the end, we’ll be hosting a 24-hour Windows 10 IT Pro Ask Microsoft Anything (AMA) event on Tech Community that will start immediately following the conclusion of the live webcast and end at 11:00 a.m. PT the following day, May 23rd.

Build 17661 For Fast Ring and Skip Ahead Released

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Today, a new build for both fast ring and skip ahead users – Build 17661 has been released. Bringing in some new features, fixes, and a few new issues, it is the start for Red Stone 5 builds for the Fast Ring (Skip Ahead have been receiving them for a while). As usual, check out the Known Issues before updating, just in case there is a show stopper in there!

Known issues

  • Certain notifications from Action Center may cause regular Explorer.exe crashes. We’re working to get this fixed in the next flight.

  • VPN may not be working after updating to this build. To get VPN working again, delete the %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Network\Connections\pbk* directories. Check if the VPN profile you need shows up already and if not, reinstall the appropriate VPN client app you need.

  • After updating to this build and installing the latest app updates from the Microsoft Store, when you log in to additional user accounts on the PC there may be missing apps. You can run the following PowerShell script when logged in to users with missing apps on your PC to fix the issue: Get-AppXPackage *WindowsStore* -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml”}

  • On resuming from sleep, the desktop may be momentarily visible before the Lock screen displays as expected.

  • When Movies & TV user denies access to its videos library (through the “Let Movies & TV access your videos library?” popup window or through Windows privacy settings), Movies & TV crashes when the user navigates to the “Personal” tab.

  • We’re aware of an issue that causes Narrator to read extra text when invoking Alt + Tab, and we’re working on a fix.

  • If you complete the setup for a Windows Mixed Reality headset on this build, the headset will remain black until it is unplugged and reconnected to the PC.

RSAT Tools for Windows 10 1803

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With the latest release of Windows 10 version 1803, Microsoft has also released the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for the build. For those administrators wanting to manage Windows Server remotely, be sure to grab this latest build.

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 includes Server Manager, Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins, consoles, Windows PowerShell cmdlets and providers, and command-line tools for managing roles and features that run on Windows Server.

Windows Server 2019 Announced

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Microsoft has announced the newest version of it’s server platform – Server 2019, which will be available the latter half of 2018. There is a preview build available via the Insider program (sign up if you haven’t already, and try it out on test hardware or VM!).

Windows Server 2019 is built on the strong foundation of Windows Server 2016 – which continues to see great momentum in customer adoption. Windows Server 2016 is the fastest adopted version of Windows Server, ever! We’ve been busy since its launch at Ignite 2016 drawing insights from your feedback and product telemetry to make this release even better.

We also spent a lot of time with customers to understand the future challenges and where the industry is going. Four themes were consistent – Hybrid, Security, Application Platform, and Hyper-converged infrastructure. We bring numerous innovations on these four themes in Windows Server 2019.