Microsoft Weekly: Ads in Windows 11 Start Menu, Visual Studio and Microsoft 365

We are at the end of another week as time continues to tick by, towards the end of the calendar year. As we do every week, it’s time to recap everything big that’s happened in the Microsoft verse over the past few days. This time around, we’ve got stuff related to some Windows 11 updates, improvements for developers and power users, and a sprinkle of Microsoft 365 news for good measure. Find out more in the latest summary from November 5 to 11!

Ads in Windows 11 and other updates

Windows 11 22H2 Start Menu

It looks like Microsoft has started testing ads (or tips, depending on how you view them) again in Windows 11. Some users have spotted Start menu push ads to sell Microsoft services like OneDrive and create a Microsoft account. The silver lining here is that this is only present in development builds for now, so Microsoft may not decide to roll it out publicly. However, if this bothers you, even on a Dev version, follow the guide mentioned at the end of this article to opt out of these ads.

Elsewhere, we’ve also received a few betas for Windows 11. Build 22623.885 brought an expanded view for widgets and energy recommendations while build 22623.891 introduced search functionality and better theme support in Task Manager, among many other things. Meanwhile, Windows 10 22H2 Insiders Got Preview Build 19045.2301 (KB5020030) with changes to taskbar search and many other bug fixes. Unfortunately, a Dev Channel version did not air this weekbut we can expect one in the next few days.

This week also welcomed the second Tuesday of the month, which meant it was time for Patch Tuesday. You can check out our dedicated coverage below to see what’s new for each supported operating system:

The last Patch Tuesday update also addressed a Specter V2 vulnerability affecting AMD Ryzen PCsso if you have an AMD system, you might want to install updates ASAP.

As Microsoft Apparently Begins Work on “Moment 3” Update for Windows 11you should also know that if you are waiting for Windows 10 version 21H2 for some reason, this specific operating system runs out of support in a monthso you should probably consider upgrading as well.

Goodness of Visual Studio… and more

Visual Studio logo on a light background with purple stripes underneath

Developers and experienced Windows users received a lot of good news this week. To start, Visual Studio 2022 17.4 is now generally available. It is supported on 64-bit Windows PCs and Macs, and is also the first release to natively support Arm64. This should bring better performance on this architecture.

The latest release of Visual Studio also coincides with the rollout of .NET 7 which offers better performance, .NET MAUI enhancements, built-in container support for the .NET SDK, Microsoft Orleans 7.0, and observability integrations , as well as updates to C# 11 and F# 7 to make them more developer-friendly. The Visual Studio update also contains a very nifty ability to revert to a previous version of the IDE if you encounter any problems during development.

In the same vein, PowerShell 7.3 powered by .NET 7 is now also available. It contains improved error handling, session and remoting improvements, tab completion improvements, and updated cmdlets. And if you’re a regular consumer who likes to get a little more out of your Windows installation in terms of productivity, make sure to grab the latest version of PowerToys for some bug fixes.

Finally, for individuals and organizations investing time, effort, and money into Microsoft Azure, the company has released two next-gen virtual machines leveraging AMD’s latest 4th Gen EPYC processorsin the same way stretched clusters for Azure VMware Solution.

Microsoft 365 updates

Microsoft 365 app icon with Office apps arranged on the sides

There are also many updates on the Microsoft 365 side. Perhaps the highlight of this section is that Microsoft 365 will soon experience significant limitations. After February 2, 2023, Outlook attachments will count towards your OneDrive storage – but Microsoft will give you 50 GB of free storage for a year to get you used to the change – and from November 30, 2023 it will no longer be possible to associate personalized news to it. email addresses to your Outlook account.

Microsoft 365 Current Channel build 15726.20202 is clean with tons of fixes a few days ago too, while the The Office app for iPhone has received an update with a “modern look”which fundamentally improves performance through redesigned context menus and ribbons based on Fluent Design principles.

There are also a few updates for Microsoft Edge. Microsoft started test a new touch mode for its browser in the Canaries channel. It increases the size of some user interface elements so that they are easier to interact with using a finger. Meanwhile, Edge also has a new Dev release in the form of build 109. It brings a new toggle for Internet Explorer mode, the ability to open sidebar games in a new tab, and several improvements for WebView2.

On the team side, the PWA version of the application is now officially supported on Linux. And if you can’t spot the Teams meeting option in the Outlook desktop app, don’t worry because this is a known issue and Microsoft has released a workaround for those affected.

To finish, Microsoft has also launched a first preview of the Microsoft Create website. The Redmond-based tech giant touts it as the “ultimate creator launch pad” for creating creative videos, graphic design documents, presentations, and more. It is not yet known when the service will come out of its preview phase.

Git Gud

xbox controller on windows 11

On the gaming front, a new survey from Microsoft indicates that the company is exploring options for users to reduce graphics output in order to save power during gaming sessions on Xbox and Windows PC. The company has not officially confirmed that it is investigating this area, so it is possible that this initiative will not see the light of day.

In the same order of ideas, Microsoft rolled out DirectStorage 1.1 which further optimizes loads through GPU decompression. Nvidia also released version 526.86 of its driver to provide better support for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. On the other hand, Forza Horizon 5 now supports DLSSFSR 2.2 and improved ray tracing on PC.

Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC) also appears to be on the warpath against Microsoft, claiming that Activision acquisition could hurt competition in games. A thorough investigation into the trade deal is currently underway. Speaking of competition, Sony is apparently preparing a slimmer version of the PlayStation 5 not only to improve on the current design, but also to set up another SKU over the latest Xbox hardware.

In important news, Microsoft has finally acknowledged gaming performance issues with Windows 11 version 22H2 (also known as Windows 11 2022 Update) on Nvidia GPUs. A compatibility hold has been applied to block the update on affected systems while the company works on a fix.

On the game deals side, you might be interested to know that Samsung bundles three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and an Xbox controller with select TVs. And if you want to buy discounted Xbox games, take a look at the latest Xbox Free Play Days promotion with Overcooked! all you can eat, Just die alreadyand Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 on offer. Finally, if you are a PC gamer, don’t miss this weekend’s PC game deals personally curated by our editor Pulasthi Ariyasinghe either.

Development Channel

A glass computer running Windows 11

Under the projectors

Virtual desktops in Windows 11

Recently, our journalist Taras Buria wrote an op-ed saying that while he loves the concept of virtual desktops as a way to improve productivity, he thinks their implementation in Windows 11 is pretty awful. You can see his thoughts and reasoning for this position here.

Task Manager

Meanwhile, forum member Adam Bottjen has posted a guide explaining what to do if Windows randomly decides to get buggy and prevent you from dragging and dropping apps onto the taskbar.

Bing Maps

Next, we have two guides from journalist Hemant Saxena. The first is how you can prevent Windows from automatically updating offline maps, read it here.

FaceID lock for Notes app

Meanwhile, the other guide details the process for set up FaceID lock for Notes app on your iPhone if you are particularly concerned about security and privacy.

legends

Finally, the co-founder of Neowin, Steven Parker, published a very practical guide explaining how to change subtitle size on your smart tv if you think they are too big or too small for comfortable viewing.

Logout

The FTX Logo

Our most interesting news of the week is about the crypto exchange FTX files for bankruptcy due to liquidity issues and mismanagement of client funds. Sam Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO, with John J. Ray III taking over. As for the next steps, FTX Group assets will be reviewed and monetized for the benefit of global stakeholders, meaning those with frozen assets may recover some of their funds. “Many” employees will remain in their positions during this transition period, but it is clearly a sinking ship and most are likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.


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