Also: new toys for Your Phone and The Windows That Microsoft Wants To Forget drops to single digits
Round Up The finishing line for Windows 10 20H1 hoved into view, YourPhone got audio toys and differential sync was finally rolled out for OneDrive. Here is a collation of events you may have missed from Microsoft.
Windows 10 – this is the one, we really mean it this time
Demonstrating that the spirit of Columbo is alive and well within the walls of Redmond campus, the company pushed build 19041.208 to the Windows Insiders’ Release Preview Ring, a scant few weeks after insisting 19041.207 was the one and only. There was, as Peter Falk’s be-raincoated detective might say: “Just one more thing.”
The build had spent some time in the Slow Ring before being shunted to Release Preview and the fix in question is related to the
The three or four people using Windows Mixed Reality would do well to steer clear of this release for a little while – a fix for a borkage with the tech is due in “early May” and there are issues with the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DSIM) tool, also to be fixed “in an upcoming servicing release.”
The release will be pushed to a limited subset of Release Preview Windows Insiders first (although the keen can manually check for updates.)
Also known as Windows 10 2004 or 20H1, the release should become generally available within the coming weeks. Unless Senior Program Manager, Brandon LeBlanc, plans to don the Columbo raincoat for another just one more thing…
Update of the Damned now down to single digit market share
The Windows team’s has stats that show Windows 10 1809 usage finally fell to a single digit market share, according to figures from ad slinger, AdDuplex.
Memorably, 1809 triggered an existential crisis within the Windows team after going direct from Slow Ring to general availability. LeBlanc defended the move at the time, before everything went horribly, horribly wrong.
The drop from 11.4 per cent in March to 9.3 per cent came as the November 2019 Update reached 33.4 per cent, up from 28.2 per cent. The May 2019 Update market-share fell ever so slightly, to 49.2 per cent from 50.7 per cent.
While Microsoft has extended servicing for last year’s Windows, the imminent arrival of the May 2020 Update should finally put the demons of 1809 to rest once and for all. That is unless you’re running the Long Term Servicing Channel version, in which case you could have a lingering reminder of the time Microsoft nearly dealt a mortal blow to its flagship OS, which will be knocking around until the plug gets pulled in 2029.
Your Phone gets audio toys and COVID-19 reaches the search box
The busy week for the Windows team also included a Fast Release of Windows 10 Build 19619.1000, which was light on features, although Insiders were doubtless delighted to note “easy access to COVID-19 info in your search box” because, heck, it’s not as if the rest of the media is not awash with stories regarding the ongoing pandemic.
The search feature is not limited to Preview builds and has hit 33 markets, according to Microsoft. It can also be dismissed with a click of the X.
While very light on core OS features (you’ll now be told if time syncing fails due to network connectivity) and fixes (a few bug-checks have been dealt with) the gang did highlight the latest version of the Your Phone app, replete with a preview of audio control functionality.
As well as being Android-only (iPhone users need not apply) only those Android apps that support media controls in notifications (such as Spotify) are supported. Audible and YouTube are notable by their absence from the supported list.
Differential sync finally comes to OneDrive
OneDrive users were cheered last week as Microsoft finally completed the roll out of differential sync for personal and business users. The feature, which only synchronises changes made to a file rather than the entire file itself, should result in less data flung around which, in turn, means less bandwidth being required.
It has been a while coming and showed up in the roadmap back in September last year.
Rival cloud storage slinger, DropBox, has also had the function for a while now and only uploads changes rather than an entire file every time.
Those responsible for managing back-up systems will also be vaguely surprised that it took Microsoft quite so long to roll out a feature they have long enjoyed.
PowerToys edge closer to release with the arrival of auto-updating
Those using Microsoft’s modern take on the very retro PowerToys will be heartened to learn that as of version 0.17 it will now update itself rather than displaying a terse notification that some version increment or other is available. Those who prefer their apps not to switch out their undergarments without warning still have the option to stop the updates from downloading automatically.
The gang has also dealt with a swathe of bugs related to the FancyZones window snapping tool and made it possible for the (still in preview) app to run for non-administrative users.
PowerToys remains x64-only for the time being, and the next major update (v0.18) should include the replacement launcher. A few other tweaks are planned, including a keyboard remapper and a warmed-over editor for FancyZones ahead of a final v1.0 in September. ®