Microsoft is ready to release its next feature update for Windows 10, the November 2019 Update. As usual, the company has updated its processor requirements for the new version, but there are some surprises in there. For one thing, it retroactively changed the requirements for version 1903 while it was at it.
It’s a reasonable thing to do since Windows 10 version 1909 is just version 1903 with an enablement package to light up some new features. If 1909 supports specific new processors, then 1903 must support them as well.
On the Intel side of things, Microsoft updated them to say that they support 10th-generation Core processors, along with Xeon E-22xx. There’s also support for Atom J4xxx/J5xxx and N4xxx/N5xxx, Celeron, and Pentium, although specific models of Celeron and Pentium aren’t listed. On a side note, Intel 10th-gen is listed as Core i3/i5/i7/i9-10xxx, despite no 10th-gen Core i9 existing just yet.
In the AMD department, there’s still support for the company’s seventh-generation processors, including A-series, E-series, and FX-9000, along with Athlon 2xx, Opteron, and EPYC 7xxx. What’s new for AMD is support for Ryzen 3xxx CPUs, where previously only Ryzen 2xxx processors were listed.
What’s more interesting is the Qualcomm CPUs that are listed. Previously, version 1903 supported the Snapdragon 850, but that’s removed and replaced with both the Snapdragon 855 and the Snapdragon 8cx. It’s unclear if this is a misprint, but the Snapdragon 855 was never supposed to be a PC chipset; it’s for smartphones. It’s possible that Microsoft meant to write Snapdragon 850, which is a PC chipset that’s based on the Snapdragon 845.
Of course, we’ve reached out to Qualcomm for comment on this, so we’ll update this article accordingly. At this time, there’s nothing on the Qualcomm website about a Snapdragon 855 platform for PCs.
You might be wondering why Microsoft’s custom SQ-1 processor – the one used in its new Surface Pro X – isn’t on the list. That’s because the processor isn’t very custom. It’s just an SKU of the Snapdragon 8cx that has some optimizations for the Surface Pro X.
It’s Wednesday, and that means that it’s time for another Windows 10 Insider Preview build in the Fast ring. Today’s build is number 18936, and it’s from the 20H1 development branch.
As usual, the new features are pretty minor. You can now create events for your calendar from the taskbar, and there’s a new setting that allows you to make your device passwordless. Other than that, Microsoft noted that Your Phone screen mirroring is now available for more Surface devices, although that’s not specific to this build.
Here’s the full changelog:
Your Phone app – Phone screen now available on more Surface devices
As promised, we’re excited to expand the availability of the phone screen feature to more PCs. With the latest driver update in the Windows insider rings (Marvell 15.68.17013.110), the following Surface devices will preview the phone screen feature – Surface Laptop, Surface Laptop 2, Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 5, Surface Pro 6, Surface Book, and Surface Book 2. If you have one of these devices, give it a try and let us know what you think!
Quick Event Create from the Taskbar
Do you ever open the clock and calendar flyout to help organize your thoughts while making plans? We’ve been working on making it easier to create new events and reminders, and are happy to announce that as of today, all Insiders in the Fast ring should see this when you click on the date in the taskbar:
Pick your desired date and start typing – you’ll now see inline options to set a time and location. We’re looking forward to you trying it out! Let us know if you have any feedback.
Go passwordless with Microsoft accounts on your device
For improved security and a more seamless sign-in experience, you can now enable passwordless sign-in for Microsoft accounts on your Windows 10 device by going to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, and selecting ‘On’ under ‘Make your device passwordless’. Enabling passwordless sign in will switch all Microsoft accounts on your Windows 10 device to modern authentication with Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, or PIN. Don’t have Windows Hello set up yet? No problem! We’ll walk you through the setup experience on your next sign-in. Curious how a Windows Hello PIN is more secure than a password? Learn more here.
Please note: This feature is currently being rolled out to a small portion of Insiders and the above option may not show for all users in Settings. If the toggle isn’t showing for you yet, check back in a week so.
As always, feedback is always welcome! Please leave comments in Feedback Hub > Security and Privacy > Windows Hello PIN.
Today is the first day of Microsoft’s Build 2019 developer conference, and the company is dropping a ton of news. Among the story are Adaptive Cards and Actionable Messages for Outlook Mobile, features that were added to Outlook for Windows and the Outlook Web App last May at Build.
Adaptive Cards can work with apps, bots, and services and create interactive content in Outlook. For example, a card could be created with your flight on it, and you can interact with the map by checking in. Naturally, this is where the idea of Actionable Messages comes in since it needs to be an Actionable Message to use an Adaptive Card.
The good news though is that you can now do all of these things without ever leaving the Outlook Mobile app. Microsoft understands that the computer that you’re using first is the one in your pocket, and it doesn’t make sense to make you go to your PC to complete these actions.
The new features are rolling out now on Outlook for iOS and will come to Android later on this spring.
Over two weeks ago, Microsoft released Windows 10 build 18875 to the Fast ring, merging Skip Ahead and Fast. Since there were many people upgrading from 19H1 at that point, it was soon discovered that there was an issue with the current cumulative update that prevented users from upgrading to 20H1. Naturally, the build was pulled for anyone that was still on build 18362.53.
Today though, there’s a new cumulative update, KB4497093, that fixes the issue. It brings the build number to 18362.86, and contains the following fixes:
This Cumulative Update includes the repair for Windows Insiders in the Fast ring who were unable to update to the latest 20H1 build from Build 18362.53.
We have made general improvements for users in Japan or use the OS in Japanese including fixes for the Japanese IME and fixes for date and time issues.
We fixed an issue where UWP VPN plugin apps might not be able to accurately send packets through a secure VPN tunnel on an IPv6 only network.
We fixed the issue causing updating to Build 18362 to fail to install with an 0x80242016 error.
Microsoft has released several patches for Windows 10 version 1903 since it was offered to the Release Preview ring. The company promises to service it while it spends a full month in the ring before releasing it to the general public late next month.
Last year, Microsoft announced when it would be killing app updates and distribution in the Windows Store for Windows Phone 8.x and Windows 8.x. At the time, the blog post stated that Windows Phone 8.x devices would stop receiving app updates after July 1, 2019, while Windows 8.x devices would get app updates through July 1, 2023.
However, it seems as though plans have changed a little bit, as the blog post has quietly been updated earlier this month. As spotted by Nawzil on Twitter, Microsoft has changed the wording in the position to state that Windows 8 devices will stop getting updates for their apps at the same time as Windows Phone 8.x, that is, July 1 of this year. Windows 8.1 devices will continue to receive updates through the previously announced date in 2023.
This isn’t exactly surprising since Windows 8.1 was a free update for Windows 8, and the latter quickly became unsupported because of that. What’s more interesting is the fact that Microsoft only separated Windows 8 from 8.1 now and not when the announcement was first made.
The number of users still running Windows 8 is likely negligible, but those again running it likely can’t update to Windows 8.1 since it seems the upgrade path which was available through the Windows Store will be killed as well. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for clarification and will update this post with any new information.
Microsoft announced new icons for its Office suite all the way back at the end of 2018, but the rollout of those new icons hasn’t been exactly quick. Today, however, Microsoft announced build 11514.20004 of the Office apps which is being rolled out to Office Insider Fast users on Windows, and it sees the four most prominent apps in the suite getting new icons.
Specifically, we’re talking about Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, all of which now have the product icons revealed last year. The new Outlook icon was made available for the iOS app earlier this week, too. You may see a couple of issues with this, though. Pinned tiles for the apps may not update with these icons, plus associated file types won’t display the new icons either. Only the product icons themselves have been updated, with a broader rollout coming soon.
As for new features, Word now supports basic co-authoring of documents that contain macros, whereas you would previously be locked out of a document if someone else is editing it. Basic co-authoring means AutoSave and real-time typing won’t be available, and you also can’t edit the VBA macros in co-authoring mode.
In addition to the new features and changes, the new builds come with a range of bug fixes for a lot of the Office apps. These include an issue where Word would constantly display a “Checking for changes” message, Access creating an extra shortcut, and more. You can see the full list of changes here.
The new build should show up for you automatically, but you can try checking manually for updates if you haven’t received it yet.
Microsoft’s positive approach toward harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) has been accentuated multiple times in recent months. In January, Microsoft joined the SciKit-learn consortiumto help make AI accessible to all. Then, last month, the tech giant collaborated with Accenture, initiating the Microsoft Business Group to empower enterprises through Azure services.
Today, the Redmond-based firm has announced a free, online course, dubbed ‘AI Business School’. As is indicated by the name, the series will aim to empower business leaders, and educate them on how to solve business-specific problems involving AI.
Mitra Azizirad, CVP for AI Marketing at Microsoft, is responsible for the launch of this initiative, along with her team. Describing the reasons behind the need for knowledge regarding AI in business, Azizirad said:
“There is a gap between what people want to do and the reality of what is going on in their organizations today, and the reality of whether their organization is ready. Developing a strategy for AI extends beyond the business issues. It goes all the way to the leadership, behaviors and capabilities required to instill an AI-ready culture in your organization.”
The course materials include case studies, guides, and short videos of lectures that can conveniently be accessed by business executives whenever they are free. Importantly, most of the content is focused around the impact of AI in three key areas identified by Microsoft. Namely, company strategy, culture, and responsibility. However, videos providing some introductory context to AI technologies relevant to industries in current times are included as well. Unlike some of the company’s past educational AI-centric initiatives, this one is completely non-technical in nature.
Microsoft has conducted case studies on a number of companies, such as U.S.-based manufacturing services company, Jabil. These have helped provide it with further information on how various techniques described in detail in the course can be, and have been, implemented. The aforementioned case studies were created using AI Business School’s strategy module, with graduate business school INSEAD partnering with the Redmond giant to help accomplish this task.
Business culture and responsibility have also been hallmarked as two of the key areas upon which the course has been based. Azizirad especially noted the importance of openly sharing data across various departments and business functions, calling it the “foundation of AI”. Furthermore, Microsoft’s market research indicated that the deployment of AI systems in a responsible manner is considered quite a significant factor by business leaders.
Typically, Microsoft releases new Windows 10 Insider Preview builds on Wednesdays, or later in the week, as the first two days of the week are reserved for testing. But as we get closer to a feature update being finalized, the Fast ring builds start showing up more frequently. Today, the firm released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18351 to the Fast ring.
As you’d expect at this point, there are no new front-facing features. Microsoft is focusing on fixes, as Windows 10 version 1903 will be finalized this month, for a public release in April.
Here’s what got fixed and improved:
If you haven’t been able to get the game State of Decay for free (for a limited time), we’ve just made more slots available! Whether you’ve tried it in earlier builds or haven’t had the chance yet, these instructions have everything you need. We’ve also made fixes to improve the download and install experience thanks to your feedback, so please try again if you had problems before.
We fixed an issue from recent builds that could result in monitors being missing from the built-in Color Management application.
We fixed an issue causing Explorer.exe to crash for some Insiders when Jump list content was updated.
We fixed an issue resulting in some devices unexpectedly experiencing a 30 second wait before pin re-entry was available after a pin was incorrectly entered on the lock screen.
We fixed an issue where the time shown on the clock in Windows Sandbox might not match the clock outside of Windows Sandbox.
We fixed an issue resulting in Emoji 12 emoji showing up as boxes in certain XAML text fields.
We fixed an issue where text scaling values did not persist across upgrades for Win32 applications.
Due to a Narrator reading reliability issue for the “Change how capitalized text is read” feature, the feature has been disabled starting in build 18351.
We fixed an issue where the mouse pointer color might be incorrectly switched to white after signing out and signing back in.
Of course, there are still some known issues. Here’s what’s still broken:
Launching games that use anti-cheat software may trigger a bugcheck (GSOD).
Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
While this flight contains some night light improvements, we’re continuing to investigate reported issues in this space.
Some Realtek SD card readers are not functioning properly. We are investigating the issue.
We’re investigating reports of the Chinese version of multiple games not working.
We’re investigating an issue where region settings are being reset on upgrade for some Insiders.
We’re investigating an issue preventing VMware from being able to install or update Windows Insider Preview builds. Hyper-V is a viable alternative if available to you.
If you install any of the recent builds from the Fast ring and switch to the Slow ring, optional content such as enabling developer mode will fail. You will have to remain in the Fast ring to add/install/enable optional content. This is because optional content will only install on builds approved for specific rings.
Once Windows 10 version 1903 ships next month, Insiders on the Fast ring will start seeing builds from the 19H2 development branch. Currently, Skip Ahead is already testing 20H1, which is slated for release in the first half of 2020.
As always, you can install today’s build by heading over to Settings -> Update & security -> Windows Update -> Check for updates. If you’re not on the Fast ring and you want to enroll, head to the Windows Insider Program tab.
www.office.com/setup – The overhauled symbols for Microsoft’s Office 365 applications have now begun taking off on office com setup. This is by all accounts a slow rollout, with Microsoft organizing Office 365 business clients until further notice (by means of Neowin).
Microsoft disclosed the new symbols back in November, five years after the last upgraded occured for the dispatch of Office 2013. At the time, the organization clarified that “our plan arrangement was to decouple the letter and the image in the symbols, basically making two boards (one for the letter and one for the image) that we can match or separate. This enables us to keep up commonality while as yet stressing effortlessness inside the application.”
The first applications to get overhauled symbols on office com setup are Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, Yammer, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive. It stays to be checked whether other Office 365 applications like Delve, Forms and Sway will pursue, yet we likewise realize that the Skype symbol will likewise get some affection sooner rather than later.
Well folks, normally I bring you hints/tips about changes Microsoft has made to Word and Excel (with a couple of PowerPoint thrown in), but not Publisher. Well, that’s because the changes have been small and seemingly Publisher was pretty much ignored – the step-child you might think. Not now.
According to my research, the templates and what you can do with them have been updated. There are new capabilities to work with the program for all those publications, sales and marketing materials you love to work with! (Any chance to play, and with bright/shiner toys works for me!) So, for one thing in the 2019 Publisher gets to use the Ribbon along with the new Backstage feature. The publisher wasn’t left out this time.
The updated picture tools we found in Word and Excel have finally made it to Publisher (where it should have been all along anyway) allowing for more control of photos. They’ve included a new object alignment technology, building blocks of content and fine typography options like true small caps and stylistic alternates. All the things we’ve been wanting to make desktop publishing better.
So having said all of the above, what is new/improved? Well one thing, when you’re working with an inserted picture and you want to make changes, you can see them before you accept them. A big time saver. (in the “improved” category) Add captions for the photos and the ability to choose from a gallery of caption layouts. The object alignment technology provides grids to work with – not just the rules on the side and bottom and the hope you have it lined up correctly. (in the “improved” category) For a print preview, you can simultaneously view both sides of a page, multiple pages, page boundaries, and more print info to achieve the correct print result the first time. (in the “new” category) Now, to be honest folks I don’t see how this is new. As you’ve always been able to see multiple pages in Print Preview, then have the option to print from the preview mode. But the research states it’s a new feature. The building blocks of content for items like mastheads and graphics are easier due to the accessibility of the pre-existing themes in fonts and colors. (in the “improved” category) Fine typography is much improved. We now have the ability to use ligatures, true small caps, stylistic alternates, and alternate numeral forms. Such as fun things with the fonts like reflective and a better look to the shadow. (in the “improved” category) When connected to the internet, there are more Publisher templates available on Office Online than before. (in the “improved” category) And as you could in Publisher 2010 – you can save a file as a PDF or XPS for easier sharing and printing.
Now, remember, this is all research-based and I’m going on what Microsoft has stated. I haven’t purchased the 2019 product yet – I have too many clients still using 2010 and the special effects won’t convert to the older versions. That is something for you to keep in mind. When feasible, save as a PDF document then no worries with folks opening in older versions.
Robert Morris a Microsoft Office expert has been working in the technology industry from the last 5 year. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, manuals, white papers, and reviews for many websites such as www.office.com/setup or office.com/setup