Flashy new toys for the next Windows 10? Sorry, fun-seeking Fast Ringers must make do with DoH for now

There ain't no party like a privacy party

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Microsoft enlivened an otherwise run-of-the-mill Windows Insider Fast Ring emission by quietly adding support for DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) to the operating system.

DoH is already being rolled out by Mozilla for its Firefox browser (as a default for US users) and encrypts Domain Name System (DNS) traffic. The thinking is that by using the protocol, a user is protected from miscreants listening in. It has the added benefit (or drawback, depending on where you stand on such matters) of making it trickier to block web traffic.

However, while Mozilla's (and Google's) browser shenanigans are all well and good, shifting DNS from the operating system to a browser has created a few headaches for administrators. Putting the client back into Windows will alleviate that pain. Once it actually ships.

Build 19628 includes Microsoft's crack at DoH, which currently requires some Registry prodding to enable. The usual health warnings apply, but if you're happy enough to run a Fast Ring Windows 10 build, then a potentially borked Registry should hold no fear. Only three servers are currently supported: Cloudflare, Google, and Quad9, and Windows must be configured to use at least one of three as a DNS server.

A swift restart will see Windows using DoH to talk to those servers rather than flinging something in cleartext over port 53 in classic DNS fashion.

While still very much a preview, this first testable version of the functionality works as advertised. Sadly, there is no indication of when it might turn up in a Generally Available incarnation of Windows 10.

The build was otherwise relatively light on new toys, with just the new Korea IME being backed out following "feedback" and a fix for the 0xc0000409. It also appears that despite the gang reckoning the IIS settings reset bug was fixed in the previous build, it has reared its head once more.

Insiders were also warned that Microsoft was tinkering with which branch the Fast Ring would receive its builds from, with this emission being from the MN_RELEASE branch. "We are practicing our ability to change which branch we consider as the active development branch," senior PM Brandon LeBlanc said, with respect to the short-term change.

With the Windows 10 May 2020 Update poised for release, Fast Ringers would be forgiven for expecting to see something a little more exciting by now, and the fiddling with the branches may give some cause for hope.

In the meantime, the arrival of DoH in Windows 10 will have to suffice. After all, there ain't no party like a privacy party. ®


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