Home / Gaming / Microsoft Weekly: Gaming changes, the November 2019 Update, and an Insider departure – Neowin

Microsoft Weekly: Gaming changes, the November 2019 Update, and an Insider departure – Neowin

A number of things took place this week, including Patch Tuesday, the departure of Dona Sarkar as head of the Windows Insider Program, and much more. You can find that – as well as the usual little bit extra – below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of October 5 – 11

Gaming changes

We begin this section with the newly released October 2019 Xbox Update, which brings in more granular parental controls – on a per-app or per-game basis -, Wish List notifications, recommending of Game Pass games to your friends via direct message or activity feed, improvements to Mixer streaming and displaying of Recent Players, as well as enhanced game capture capabilities.

In case you like testing pre-release Xbox software versions, you’ll be happy to know that the Xbox Insider Hub app is now being rebuilt, with a focus on more easily surfacing important content. Though it’ll ship in the first half of 2020, the company says you’ll be able to test it out for yourself as soon as a build is ready.

Speaking of testing, if you want to test the upcoming Tech Alpha 2 of Flight Simulator – scheduled for mid-November –, you may want to fill out the relevant survey by October 15. Starting October 17, Insider acceptance confirmation communications will begin, and starting on October 24, access to the relevant build will be given to accepted participants.

The early access beta variant of Minecraft Earth (version 0.4.2) was released this past week, with improvements to crafting and smelting, as well as an in-game currency called rubies which can be acquired by playing the game or via real-money purchase. These currently only work on the Android beta.

In other game-related news, Apple is now selling the Xbox Wireless Controller on its website, presumably in anticipation of the release of Apple Arcade, as well as, potentially, Microsoft’s xCloud streaming service.

Switching gears to subscriptions, there’s Xbox Game Pass for PC which will get a number of games soon, including The Outer Worlds on October 25 – the title’s launch day. Stellaris, F1 2018, Lonely Mountains Downhill, Minit, Saints Row IV: Re-Elected, and State of Mind are also joining, although Microsoft didn’t give out dates for them.

We end this section with a couple of gaming-related departures from Microsoft, starting with Matt Salsamendi, the co-founder of Beam, later acquired and rebranded to Mixer by the Redmond giant. After five years of being with the service, Salsamendi will be departing to pursue his dream of working with lasers for electronic dance music (EDM) festival stages.

Also leaving is Mike Ybarra, who after nearly two decades and a number of positions held – most recently CVP of Gaming -, decided it was time to move on. Ybarra joined the company in June of 2000 as a systems engineer, then becoming GM for Windows Product Management for Windows 7 in 2006, and afterwards moving to the GM position of Xbox Live in 2009.

The November 2019 Update

Before we get to the star of this section, it’s worth noting that Patch Tuesday was this past week, meaning all supported versions of Windows 10 and previous operating systems from Microsoft got their monthly fixes. For Windows 10, these are:

  • May 2019 Update (1903): KB4517289, build 18362.418 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

  • October 2018 Update (1809): KB4519338, build 17763.806 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords.

    • Known issues: Performing certain operations like rename on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5) if you perform said operation on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privilege; After installing KB4493509, devices with certain Asian language packs installed may get error “0x800f0982 – PSFX_E_MATCHING_COMPONENT_NOT_FOUND.”; A small number of devices may start up to a black screen during first logon after installing updates; Windows Mixed Reality users may intermittently receive error “15-5”.

  • April 2018 Update (1803): KB4520008, build 17134.1069 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

    • Known issues: Performing certain operations like rename on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5) if you perform said operation on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privilege; A small number of devices may start up to a black screen during first logon after installing updates; Windows Mixed Reality users may intermittently receive error “15-5”.

  • Fall Creators Update (1709): KB4520004, build 16299.1451 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

  • Fall Creators Update Mobile (1709): build 15254.590 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

  • Creators Update (1703): KB4520010, build 15063.2108 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

  • Anniversary Update (1607): KB4519998, build 14393.3274 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

    • Known issues: After installing KB4467684, the cluster service may fail to start with error “2245 (NERR_PasswordTooShort)” if the group policy “Minimum Password Length” is configured with greater than 14 characters; Performing certain operations like rename on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5) if you perform said operation on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privilege.

  • Windows 10 LTSC (1507): KB4520011, build 10240.18368 – improves security when using IE and Edge, contains improvements related to verifying user names and passwords, as well as storing and managing files.

  • Known issues: Performing certain operations like rename on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with error “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5) if you perform said operation on a CSV owner node from a process without admin privilege.

Keep in mind that the Creators Update (1703) got its final patch this previous Tuesday, with the version of Windows 10 now being unsupported. Furthermore, there’s an important security flaw in Windows 10 Mobile – that requires physical access to the device to exploit -, although Microsoft won’t fix it due to users having most likely already moved on to iOS or Android.

Windows 7, 8.1, and their server equivalents are still supported, so here’s what Patch Tuesday brought for those operating systems:

  • Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 (Monthly Rollup): KB4520005, KB4519990 (security-only) – addresses an issue with apps and printer drivers that utilize the Windows JavaScript engine (jscript.dll) for processing print jobs, as well as including security updates for Windows Cryptography, Authentication, JET Database Engine, Storage and Filesystems, and more.

  • Windows 7 SP1, Server 2008 R2 SP1 (Monthly Rollup): KB4519976 – addresses an issue that may fail to disable VBScript in IE by default after installing KB4507437 or KB4511872 and later, addresses an issue with apps and printer drivers that utilize the Windows JavaScript engine (jscript.dll) for processing print jobs, as well as including security updates for JET Database Engine, Kernel, Internet Information Services, and more.

  • Windows 7 SP1, Server 2008 R2 SP1 (Security-only update): KB4520003 – Addresses an issue in security bulletin CVE-2019-1318 which may cause client or server computers that don’t support Extended Master Secret (EMS) RFC 7627 to have increased connection latency and CPU utilization, and contains security updates for JET Database, Kernel, Internet Information Services, and more.

There are no known issues to report with the latest round of Windows 7 and Sever 2008 updates.

Last but not least, we get to Windows 10 19H2, otherwise known as version 1909, which is now officially dubbed the November 2019 Update. Both it and 1903 share a build revision number (18362.418 for 1903 versus 18363.418 for 1909), meaning you’ll just need to download an enablement package to, well, enable the features present in 1909. Seeing as this is Microsoft’s version of a “polishing update”, this new iteration is definitely one you should install.

For those not familiar, it brings in better notification management, the ability to create an event straight form the Taskbar, improved batter life for certain devices, and much more. You can check out a rundown of everything 1909 brings at this link.

An Insider departure

As far the Insider program on Windows is concerned, this was a pretty regular week, with the exception of one rather major change at the top. Dona Sarkar, which has been leading the Insider Program since June of 2016 – having taken over from Gabe Aul, which is no longer at Microsoft -, is now stepping down as head of Insiders. She led the Program for three of its five year run (currently), and will be moving to the Microsoft Developer Relations team to lead advocacy for Citizen Developers, as well as championing of the Power Platform (Power BI, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow).

Despite the shakeup and lack of replacement – at least for now -, it was business as usual in terms of Insider builds, with a Server Insider Preview build being pushed out, namely 18995. As has been the case with all 20H1 Server builds, there are no new features to see, but there is the same App Compatibility FOD issue that’s been found in previous test builds.

Following in its footsteps not long after was the identically numbered SDK Preview build which, like the Server build it shares a number with, brought no new features. To take advantage of this SDK variant though, you’ll need to be running Insider builds of Windows 10, as well as Visual Studio 2017 or newer. It can still be used alongside stable versions of the SDK, so long as the version of Windows 10 being targeted is 1903 or earlier.

Testers in the Fast ring got build 18999 to play with, complete with lots of fixes for everything from Narrator to Settings not launching from the button in the Start menu, and more. There’s a known issue regarding anti-cheat software, although that’s up to third-party developers to fix, not Microsoft, so you’ll most likely never see this one go away.

Finally, a group of UWP developers debuted an event called Launch earlier in 2019, an event meant to, unsurprisingly, showcase UWP apps. Since it’s becoming an annual thing, devs can now register their apps for next year’s event.

The Fast ring

Hot corner

Hot corner is a section of The Fast ring dedicated to highlighting five Microsoft-related stories that haven’t been covered over here, but might be of interest.

Logging off

We end this column with a bit of news about a new Edge build, as well as some Windows 10X-related developments.

First off there’s Edge Dev build 79.0.294.1, which has added a handful of fixes, as well as a waring message for the cases in which users will install an extension that has the ability to change their search provider, home page, or new tab page. In addition, there are also improved messaging and reporting abilities when navigating to unsafe websites, and a new button to set up syncing from the profile layout.

As far as Windows 10X is concerned, the OS that Microsoft is building for dual-screen devices, people have started a petition to bring it to the Surface Duo. If you’re unfamiliar, that’s the smaller of the two dual-screen devices showed off at the October 2 event, sporting two 5.6-inch screens and running Android. As of the time of writing, the petition has amassed over 3,300 signatures.

If that’s not really your cup of tea, you may want to take a look at a few new icons that have leaked for Windows 10X, namely those of the Maps, Alarms, and People apps. It’s very likely that these will make their way to Windows 10 proper as well, though it’s unclear when that will be. Remember, Windows 10X is most likely launching in late 2020, alongside the launch of the Surface Neo and Surface Duo devices.

Missed any of the previous columns? Be sure to have a look right here.


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