This Week In IT – Sneak Peek: Windows 11 Only 2024 ‘Moment’ Update Coming February


This Week in IT, I look at the new features expected to be part of the Windows 11 Moment 5 update due in February. Plus, Microsoft Teams channels are getting a new discover feed, a new secure printing experience is coming to Windows 11, and Windows keyboards are getting a new key for the first time in 30 years.

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This Week in IT, I look at the new features expected to be part of the Windows 11 Moment 5 update that’s due in February. Microsoft Teams channels are getting a new Discover feed, a new secure printing experience is coming to Windows 11, and Windows keyboards are getting a new key for the first time in 30 years. So stay tuned for all of that and much more.

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So if you remember back in December we had a video on the rumors about Windows 12. So first of all it might be called Windows 12, it might still be called Windows 11, but Microsoft is planning to add a whole load of AI and co-pilot features to an updated version of Windows sometime in the fall of this year. Now what does that mean for the people who are currently on Windows 11 and may not want to upgrade that new version of Windows come the fall? Well there’s going to be one more update for Windows 11, kind of as we know it at the moment and Zach Bowden over at Windows Central got a bit of a scoop on what he thinks the latest features are going to be in that update which is due to be released in February.

Now of course we know that probably a lot of these things that we see in the insider builds of Windows are likely to make it into this update so I’m going to cover some of those that are expected to appear in February and tell you what they are now, but of course this is not finalized so it could be that some of these features don’t appear in moment five, it could be that we get features that we were not expecting to appear in moment five, so of course it’s not a final list at this stage. But let’s have a look at the most significant updates that are expected to appear.

So Microsoft is making some changes for Windows 11 users in the European Union, of course to appease the EU some things that Microsoft are essentially being forced to do. So users will be able to uninstall a wider range of inbox apps, you know so things like Mail and Calendar and Microsoft Edge that are installed as part of the default operating system image. EU users will also get the ability to modify the search panel so that it works with search providers other than Bing. Now this is a bit of a funny thing because at the moment if you set the Windows region to US you get access to the pre-release version of Copilot, but if you set your Windows region to an EU country then you don’t get that.

But of course with this update in February you’re going to get the ability to search using Bing or with Google or any search engine that you like in the search panel in Windows. So depending on your region you get a weird selection of features that might not be available somewhere else for instance. So it all swings and roundabouts but you can just change the region of course if you decided that you wanted access to Copilot and you’re in the EU, you just set your region to US then or when Moment 5 is released if you want that ability to configure the search panel then you’d have to set your region to the EU.

But there are always disadvantages and advantages to doing that. Now it wasn’t mentioned whether this next feature is going to be for just the EU or for US or for everybody but it’s going to be possible in the widgets panel to completely disable the Microsoft start feed. So essentially that’s all of the news that you get in there or you can alternatively configure other news providers. So how all of that’s going to work I’m not quite sure but that should be coming in Moment 5. For those who do have access to the pre-release version of Windows Copilot a couple of new features are coming to that. So the ability to undock it and to move it around is a fairly major upgrade and it’s also going to now appear in Alt Tab along with all your other open applications and windows. There are a couple of changes coming to Windows 365. So Windows 365 boot will now allow users to log directly into their cloud PC using Windows Hello for Business from the login screen.

Windows 365 Switch which basically enables you to access your cloud PCs from the task switching interface in Windows 11 will now have the ability to allow users to disconnect from their cloud PC directly from that task switching interface. And there are various other minor features coming to Windows 11 Moment 5. If you want to read the full list then head over to the show notes and there’s an article there where all the features are listed. Let me know in the comments below what you think about these Moment updates in general and if you like any of the new features that are rumored to be part of Moment 5 for Windows 11. Microsoft is disabling the MSI X protocol handler in Windows. So what is this exactly? So you may have noticed that sometimes when you go to a website it offers you to download an application directly in the browser and essentially to either just run or install and run that application without you having to manually download and install something.

Now Microsoft has detected over the last few months that this feature is being abused by hackers. Microsoft have updated the app installer software and they’re recommending the IT pros get that rolled out to their devices and that blocks this ability and of course for hackers to abuse that feature within Windows. But of course that might mean once you block it there are some things that users are not able to do as easily as they were before. So if you decide to update the new version of app installer I don’t know if that will eventually get rolled into a Windows 11 update by default. I guess it will at some point but as I understand at this point in time you would have to update the app installer software manually or roll it out manually. By default it will block this URI handler and I’m not sure what the behavior is going to be if you go to a website that uses this but as I understand Microsoft is essentially saying that users will now need to download the MSI package manually and install it from their device and of course the idea behind that is the local antivirus software then gets to check the installer to make sure that it’s genuine and all the other protections that are built into Windows and you know Microsoft defender for endpoints if you have that available on your devices. If you decide to upgrade to this new version of the app installer but you would still like to allow users to access the URI protocol handler there is a setting called enable ms app installer protocol that you can set to yes essentially and that would override this default behavior of blocking the handler. Microsoft announced that Teams channels are getting a new discover feed so how is this going to work?

Well you’re going to see it essentially like a channel at the top of your channel list in Teams and when you click on it it’s going to give you really an overview of all of the channels that you’re a member and the most important updates to those channels so the idea is that rather than you having to check notifications to see if you are tagged somewhere or to check through every single channel to see what’s going on you can go to one place and get an overview of all the important updates and this feed is going to be configurable so you can change how it works and Microsoft says that should be generally available in February. Apparently QR codes are now being used as a way to trick users into clicking or downloading malicious links so this can manifest itself for instance in something that looks like maybe an official thing from your organization to set up multi-factor authentication.

Here you are presented with a QR code it looks like it’s kind of officially from Microsoft but actually it’s not and it takes you to somewhere where you would rather not go. Now Microsoft says that it’s blocking up to three million of these attacks every single day and Defender for Office uses all sorts of clever things to try and prevent those emails or messages ever getting through to users so they’re saying that they use an advanced image extraction technologies to identify QR codes in emails and using machine learning to try and analyze the URLs that are actually included in those QR codes but you only get these advanced features these advanced protection features if you’re a subscriber to Defender for Office 365. Windows printing of course is the thing that all system administrators love to hate and there’s been so many issues security issues with printing in Windows over the last few years of course print nightmare being one of the most prominent ones. Now we’ve talked on this channel before about MOPRIA certified printers and essentially these allow you to print a document without needing to install a third party driver on Windows so it makes the whole process much easier for administrators users and much more secure because you just don’t need any additional of course third party code.

So Microsoft is releasing their own version of this standard if you like into Windows and it’s in insider builds right at this moment I don’t know whether this is going to be part of moment five I’d like to think that it is we don’t know at this stage it’s called Windows protected print mode and it allows you to interface with these MOPRIA certified devices. So once you are fully on board with Windows protected print mode essentially it allows you to protect dynamic link libraries so that they can’t be abused by hackers. Microsoft has also implemented a restriction to allow only Microsoft signed binaries necessary for this feature to work and to be loaded and if you switch this on Microsoft is no longer going to allow the installation of third party drivers for point and print.

An interesting new feature coming to Outlook so that’s the version that the new Outlook if you like and it’s going to allow you to basically view on your calendar meetings that you’ve declined you know just as you would view any other meeting that you’ve accepted for instance. Now this isn’t switched on by default and there’s a new setting that users will have to enable if they want to see declined meetings on their calendar you basically go to settings calendar events and invitations and there’s a set in there that you can enable called save decline events. I don’t see this in Outlook at the moment but I guess this will be rolling out over the next couple of months. Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows keyboards are getting a new key and guess what it’s connected to AI and they are getting a co-pilot key so this will when you press it launch Windows Copilot.

Now this is interesting because I believe this news although it was officially announced yesterday it was kind of already known a little bit about this because I think it was over at Windows Central again. Zach Bowden had been talking about rumored new Surface devices coming next year that they’re going to have the new Qualcomm X Elite ARM chips in them that are designed to basically compete with the Apple M1 and M2 chips and that those devices are going to also have this new co-pilot key and now you know probably it’s likely that Microsoft’s own you know keyboards that you can buy for Windows and third-party vendors are making keyboards for Windows will likely start to include this new co-pilot key on new models starting next year.

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