Roundup As the dust settles following the twin launches of Windows 10 and Windows Server, there were happenings in the Microsoft world that you might have missed in the all the kerfuffle. Welcome to Tuesday's Redmond roundup.
Windows 10 1903 is here and there's already a mighty big patch for it
And by goodness, the gang has been busy. Among the lucky 13 changes is one to fix the infamous external storage borkage, which led to a reassignment of the drive letter during installation and an unhelpful "This PC can't be upgraded to Windows 10" error message.
As well as a number of other fixes aimed at gamers, the team has addressed a problem that was preventing the removal of Bluetooth devices and a SMB handle leak in File Share Witness that could cause a server to stop accepting connections.
Demonstrating the caution notably lacking back in October, the fixes have been first dropped on Windows Insiders in the Slow and Release Preview rings before they waft their way to end users.
Internet Chrexplorer goes Mac, falls over on Windows
It wasn't only Windows Insiders getting all the fun last week as, after the usual leaks, the first "official" preview build of Microsoft Edge for macOS arrived in Canary guise.
Though it's the same "browsing experience" enjoyed by Windows users, Microsoft has tweaked the interface to keep Mac fans – used to Apple's idiosyncrasies – happy. Microsoft, of course, has a long history of making its apps "Mac-friendly" – witness the differences in user experiences between the PC and Mac versions of Office over the years.
This time around, the team are fiddling with fonts, menus and keyboard shortcuts. It is also making use of trackpad navigation gestures and utilising the Touch Bar for the likes of tab switching and website shortcuts.
Nu-Edge for older versions of Windows, however, remains missing in action for the time being, although a Windows 7 build, leaked from the increasingly sieve-like Edge team, has been doing the rounds.
While Mac users got the first taste of life on daily Canary builds of the browser, more cautious Windows fans who signed up for the supposedly more stable Dev channel and its weekly updates got a rude awakening last week as build 18.104.22.168 was emitted replete with a bug that stopped the thing even starting.
A salutary reminder that this is very much preview code.
Thank you everyone for your patience, understanding, and feedback as we investigated this issue. We've been able to identify the issue with our latest Dev channel build (22.214.171.124.) and hope to have a fix out asap. Follow the link below for more details.https://t.co/ZTlxIQ4a4C— Microsoft Edge Dev (@MSEdgeDev) May 24, 2019
In a frantic bid to stop affected users switching back to Chrome, Microsoft rushed out build 126.96.36.199 along with instructions to either uninstall and reinstall or hang fire 24 hours before trying to launch the borked browser.
The new build includes a built-in translator and support for Dark Mode (if that's your thing) that doesn't involve tinkering with configuration flags.
Windows Microsoft Defender ATP is here to keep your Macs safe and warm
Microsoft continued its Mac-heavy updates this week (although hopefully not so heavy that those ever so fragile keyboards failed) with another emission. This one was aimed at keeping the machines, which Apple infamously claimed were immune to nasties, protected from, er, nasties.
Microsoft Defender ATP for Mac has been in a limited preview since it appeared back in March replete with scanning and protection from malware. While there were plenty of user-pleasing features on the desktop, admins were happy to see Mac devices put in an appearance in the Microsoft Defender ATP management portal, rather than have to leap into whatever tool was needed for a Mac-centric view of the world.
From Microsoft's point of view, it didn't want users tempted into the arms of other vendors as administrators fought with mixed environments.
Sadly, things are not quite ready for production. But for those who have turned on preview features in the Microsoft Defender Security Center, a public preview is now available.
Picking up the pace with Visual Studio 2019 16.1
Microsoft continued its breakneck pace of developer releases last week with a refresh of the just-released Visual Studio 2019. With the newly GA'ed IntelliCode now in the box, Microsoft is trumpeting AI enhancements in this release to guess which API to use (with results that swing between hilarious and downright spooky in our experience).
The IDE is also finally Monitor-aware, meaning the interface should now scale cleanly between screens.
Because Microsoft's love-in with Linux shows no sign of abating, there is native support for the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), logging for remote connections and the ability to separate build and debug targets.
Naturally, Microsoft is also claiming speed boosts such as a 1.5x cut in startup time. The gang boasted that the effort started 18 months ago, a claim that makes one ponder what exactly they'd been doing for the other 20 years or so of Visual Studio history. Making it slower? It would certainly explain a lot.
The performance bragging was let down a little by the hurried release of 16.1.1 a few days later, which included a fix for
devenv.exe hanging for up to 30 seconds after shutdown.
Finally, a glimpse of the future could also be found in 16.1 – a preview of the XAML Designer for .NET Core 3.0 WPF development. It is still very early days, but remains a pointer to things coming down the pipe later in 2019. ®