Microsoft fingers foreign object in fracture furore, serves up fresh dollop of Duo, and another Windows 10 'Meh' Update

Plus: From the creator of axed Wunderlist, presenting... Superlist

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Roundup It's farewell to an old friend and hello to a fresh build of Windows 10 in this week's rundown of news from Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington.

Accelerating innovation with another Windows 10 Meh Update

While the Windows 10 May Update inches ever closer to release, Microsoft escorted another update to the Fast Ring of its Windows Insider programme in the form of build 19624. In a week where Windows bigwig Panos Panay trumpeted that the company was "accelerating innovation in Windows 10", the release was very light on the whizz-bang toys craved by its army of unpaid testers.

Unless, of course, by "innovation" Panay actually meant "updating the text of the Add a Device dialog so the list of examples under Bluetooth includes controllers", one of the four less-than-enthralling entries in the updates and improvements list.

Having kicked "innovated" the Surface Neo into 2021 or beyond, we wouldn't put it past him.

Other new toys in the release include turning off the search box in the default apps Settings pages (so the gang can fix it), making the Optional Updates Available text copyable and unchecking the auto-connect option for a VPN when a user disconnects.

There are, however, a swathe of fixes including dealing with devices waking up to a bugcheck and issues with updates. The team has also resolved the access error that occurred when switching between Windows Subsystem for Linux distros in File Explorer and fixed the IIS configuration reset.

Sadly, mystery hangs during the update process continue to be a problem and the team advises that anyone seeing an error code 0xc0000409 during an update should hang fire until the next build.

The code remains very preview and there is no guarantee that what is currently lurking within the Fast Ring will ever see the light of day. While users would normally expect the next major Windows 10 update to occur in the latter half of the year, Panay promised in his post that the "improved tablet experience" currently previewing in the Fast Ring could arrive for all users in early summer.

Having a cracking time on your new Surface Laptop 3? We have news

Microsoft has acknowledged that, yup, "in a small percentage of cases", the screens of its Surface Laptop 3 devices are indeed seeming to crack with no obvious cause.

Earlier this year excited purchasers of the company's wunder-laptop issued reports about the strokable screen spontaneously splitting. Those without insurance found themselves on the pointy end of a hefty repair bill as one of the company's agents insisted that the things don't break without some sort of external force.

Users of Apple's disastrous butterfly keyboards may be nodding in recognition, and more vigorously at the explanation posted last week in the Surface support forum. It was a "hard foreign particle" that was to blame.

Unlike Apple and its multi-year butterfly odyssey, Microsoft has reacted relatively swiftly and is inviting those who reckon they have been affected to contact the company to "initiate a repair free of charge" (during the laptop's warranty period). Those who have already forked out the cash to resolve the problem are directed to the company's support team "to learn about reimbursement".

Another Duo debut

Microsoft's next attempt at a phone is due to hit the shelves before the end of 2020 (unlike its heftier dual-screen Windows 10X sibling) and to that end the company has updated the Surface Duo emulator.

While earlier iterations of the Android-based platform didn't inspire oodles of confidence, Microsoft has pushed ahead with the dual-screen beast, adding keyboard support in all posture and flip modes, improving support for notifications, a better settings "experience" that understands dual screens, and an "enhanced camera experience."

There is also App Drawer and App Searches support as well as "Several platform improvements to better support App Compat around rotation, resizing, fullscreen, and spanning scenarios."

Spanning has been a bit of an issue as far as the dual screens and the gap between them is concerned. We took the latest update out for a spin and can confirm that while things are certainly moving in the right direction, the company has a little way to go.

To help things along, Microsoft has made the Helper Functions, Layouts, and Controls code available on GitHub, and is seeking contributions.

Bye-bye Wunderlist, hello Superlist

As expected, Microsoft pulled the plug on its Wunderlist app last week as it continued to nudge users towards its To Do alternative. It marked the end of the application's Redmond odyssey after it was snapped up back in 2015 for an undisclosed sum (believed to be between $100m and $200m).

It's a shame – Wunderlist was a handy beast despite the years of neglect it suffered at the hands of Microsoft. Former Wunderlist CEO Christian Reber took a break from counting his millions to beg the Windows giant to sell the product back to him, but his pleas fell on deaf ears.

While Microsoft was busy pulling the plug, Reber returned to the To Do battlefield to plug Superlist, an alternative with a neat promotional web page and no launch date.

After thanking those who used and worked on Wunderlist, Reber told his followers: "Now it's time to do that again! The saga continues..." ®

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