This Week in IT, I look at what’s possibly in store for Windows 12, Bing Chat is now Microsoft Copilot and it’s generally available on a device near you! Plus, we navigate the twists and turns of Windows 10’s end-of-support maze, exploring the alternative options for those not ready to move on. I uncover the mystery behind Microsoft’s bizarre bug that’s been secretly transforming printers into ‘HP LaserJets.’
This Week in IT, I look at what’s possibly in store for the next big release of Windows. Bing chat is now generally available as Microsoft Copilot. Plus I look at all the twists and turns of end of support for Windows 10 and what your alternatives are if you won’t be ready to upgrade. Plus Microsoft acknowledges a bizarre printing bug. Stay tuned for all of that and the rest of the week’s IT Pro news.
Welcome to This Week in IT where I cover all the latest news about Microsoft 365, Windows and Azure. My name is Russell Smith and I’m Editorial Director of Petri.com. But before we get started today, I’ve got a quick favour to ask you. 62% of the people who watched last week’s video weren’t subscribed to the channel. This week as we go live, we’re on about 2,640 subscribers. I’d really love to push that up to 2,700 this week.
So if you’d like to help us achieve our goal, then please hit the subscribe button and don’t forget to hit the bell notification so you don’t miss out on these weekly uploads. Zac Bowden over at Windows Central published an article I think yesterday about some information that he’s hearing about the upcoming or the next major release of Windows which may or may not be called Windows 12. And I don’t really cover rumours and things on this channel very often but you know Zac is a pretty reliable source and I’ve read through everything that he has there and it all seems relatively reasonable to me and some of it sounds even quite exciting. So what’s happening?
So, Windows 12 or the next version of Windows is codenamed Hudson Valley and the plan is to release that in the fall of next year. Now you may remember a few weeks back I did a video on the Snapdragon X Elite which is basically Qualcomm’s challenger to Apple’s M1 and M2 chips for PCs and that is all coming in 2024.
Now I’ve always kind of assumed that you know Windows 12 is all part and parcel of getting you know Windows on Arm and we do already have Windows and ARM but it’s not really commercially successful or something that people are going out to buy today for various reasons but Windows 12 is going to change that and the Snapdragon X Elite is going to change that hopefully.
If it doesn’t then Microsoft is in trouble I think. Manufacturers have apparently said that they don’t want to wait until fall next year to start pushing out Windows devices with this new hardware. Now the new underlying platform for Windows is called Germanium and the new kind of UI and features is you know called Hudson Valley. These are the codenames. So what’s going to happen and I believe according to Zac this is the first time this has ever happened the underlying platform and the features are going to ship separately. So manufacturers will get to install the Germanium platform on devices as they’re released in around June next year but people buying those devices will not get a lot of those new features until Windows 12 or whatever it’s going to be called is released in the fall so that’s quite an interesting development.
Zac has also said that after the release of Hudson Valley Windows will be shifting to one major feature update a year so rather than this drip drip of features we get from you know every two or three months a new set of features come through in a moment that’s not going to be a thing anymore or at least it’ll happen very rarely maybe just as a way to get a feature that really needs to come in out there but it’s not going to be a regular thing anymore so I know a lot of people are going to be glad to hear that. There’s also some speculation that when Hudson Valley is released it will still be Windows 11 that they’re not going to bump it up to Windows 12.
That speculation of course maybe because there are just too many other changes happening at the same time we’ll have to wait and see. So what are the big new features coming into Hudson Valley? I think the most significant thing is that the shell is going to be AI enabled and this is going to really unleash a whole load of possibilities that probably are going to be quite game-changing if Microsoft is really able to pull off the things that they’re potentially talking about here. So of course we’ve seen a little bit of this happening with Windows Copilot but it’s quite limited at this stage but with a properly AI enabled shell it should really completely change the situation.
So in Hudson Valley there will be an advanced Copilot feature constantly working in the background to do things like enhance search, allow you to jump-start projects or workflows, understand context and much more. So I think things like search, they had talked about I think at some point earlier this year that it might be in Hudson Valley we get this OCR functionality that’s literally able to read the screen regardless of whether it’s an image or text or whatever’s there and actually have a much deeper understanding of a particular document that you’re working on.
They’re also planning to potentially add a new history stroke timeline feature, it’s like where have we heard that before but I think this will be implemented differently, it’ll be much more useful and you’ll be able to do things like search for documents that you maybe had open I don’t know an hour ago but now you’ve closed it or maybe it’s still open somewhere on your desktop. I mean I have instances where I know that I’ve got something open somewhere but there are so many tabs open in the browser or so many windows open that hey I just can’t find it so sometimes I have to end up just opening that document again so it’s going to enable a more efficient way of working.
And of course because this is all based on a large language model you’ll be able to use natural language to tell it things you know even if you don’t know the exact name of a document that search context is going to be so deep you’ll be able to use a combination of quite vague search terms maybe and natural language which is what we do in real life or at least what goes through our head to find things and surface information in ways of maybe never been possible before. There’s also the possibility of getting new battery saving functionality that Microsoft is apparently saying or they’re insiders that it could save up to 50% of the battery life on some devices so of course many of us working on battery with notebooks and things that’s only got to be a good thing and pretty good for the environment too.
Now I suspect that a lot of this is going to mean that you’re going to require new hardware to be able to use this stuff effectively. What does that mean? Probably a lot of this is only going to be enabled I would imagine on those running you know with a Snapdragon X Elite or at least if you’ve got Intel hardware or some other kind of ARM processor it’s going to require a neural processing engine to really be able to do this stuff efficiently or maybe at all we’re going to have to see what the hardware requirements are going to be. Let me know in the comments what you think about the big next release of Windows. Would you be prepared to buy new hardware in order to get access to these rumored new features?
Bing Chat and Bing Enterprise Chat are now Microsoft Copilot and it’s now generally available. So what does this mean? So Microsoft Copilot is essentially the GPT like chat feature that you get when you open bing.com or the sidebar in Microsoft Edge. So well it’s going to be disappointing for organizations that aren’t big enough to get Microsoft 365 Copilot, which is a different product. You need to have at least 300 users and the reason for that is because essentially that Copilot is learning based on your organizational data and if you have a small organization then there’s just not enough information for it to be able to do anything really useful.
Now, Microsoft Copilot is something that you can still use with your internal documents. So for instance you could open up I don’t know an email or a document in the browser, you open up the sidebar in Edge for instance and then Microsoft Copilot can see that data providing you give it permission to do so and analyze it and work with it. So you can still use all these chat GPT like features even if you don’t have access to the Microsoft 365 Copilot. Now I’ve been using this since it was in preview and to be honest during that time it was a little bit buggy.
In the last few weeks and since it went into general availability it seems to be much more reliable and it’s able to answer the prompts that you give it and understand for instance that it should be looking at the document that’s open in the browser for instance where sometimes that didn’t always quite work out for whatever reason and you know I think that this while it’s obviously not as well known or as well publicized as chat GPT in the media I think that it’s a really good alternative and I think the real winner here is the integration into Windows and the browser and of course into Bing for people who are using it.
Now Google doesn’t have their act together yet with Bard that’s not generally available and Microsoft is really one step ahead with all of this. Microsoft is also guaranteeing that users who are signed in with a Microsoft entry ID account into their corporate tenants they’re providing commercial data protection so they’re guaranteeing that you know any data that you expose from your organization won’t be used to further develop the learning of that language model you know that’s that data is protected and you don’t need to worry about that leaking out into the public domain or being used to improve the Copilot’s responses that it gives that data is protected.
Windows 10 is reaching end of support in October 2025 and while that’s obviously quite a long way out Microsoft has been talking this week about what your options are going to be if you’re not ready to migrate away from that platform on that date. Now of course Microsoft realizes there are always going to be organizations that are going to take a little bit longer to make that move despite the two-year lead into that so what are they saying well of course the number one thing that they’re saying is that you should be upgrading to Windows 11. Now we know though that that’s not necessarily going to be possible because it depends on the hardware that you’re running because Windows 11 has very strict hardware requirements.
There of course are some other options you can pay for extended security updates for up to three years if you choose to do that that apparently is also going to be available as an option for consumers that is probably going to be quite an expensive way to extend support but you can do it if you want. Microsoft is also saying that if you access Windows 365 or a virtual machine using an Azure virtual desktop the host device will receive three extended security updates of course if it’s running Windows 10. So obviously Azure virtual desktop Windows 365 are subscription services that you have to pay for but if you want to do it that way then the local Windows 10 device will remain protected at least for up to three years.
So, you may have seen in the press this week that there’s been a problem a bug a very strange bug that has been renaming users printers to HP laser jets regardless of what printers they have installed. Now Microsoft has come out and said that yes this is definitely a bug and regardless of the users not given permission for the application to be installed and for whatever reason this is being caused by Windows automatically downloading HP’s smart app even though the user has never initiated that action or given permission for that to happen and a related bug to that has caused printers installed on the device to be renamed to HP Laserjet. So of course that has caused a lot of confusion for some users.
At the moment Microsoft says that it’s investigating the issue and they’re saying it’s not really an HP issue it’s an issue on their side and that they will release more information when it’s available. Towards the end of each month Microsoft publishes various summaries about Microsoft 365 teams what are the new features that they’ve been working on throughout the month and one thing that caught my eye this month about Microsoft 365 is that they’ve added the ability on the office.com homepage and in the desktop app to tag or the ability to categorize and tag documents.
Now as far as I understand these tags can be assigned to your own documents and any documents that have been shared with you but this categorization or tagging if you like is something that’s private to you and it’s just another way of you being able to organize documents so I assume that you’ll be able to search via a particular tag so that you can quickly find I don’t know all documents related to a particular project for instance and I think that’s something that’s really quite interesting. Now the reason that I’m saying is I assume is because while Microsoft is saying that this is kind of available at least in my tenant it’s not available yet so I don’t know maybe this is you know only available to users on a particular channel at the moment or maybe it’s gradually rolling out over the next few weeks but I think this is definitely something that’s worth educating your users about.
Now I believe last week at the European SharePoint (ESPC) conference Microsoft started talking about something called SharePoint Embedded and as far as I know this is something that is new I’d not heard about it before and it’s basically a renaming of syntax repository services. Now Loop and Microsoft Designer they store their data their you know app data in what was syntax repository services. Now Microsoft is renaming this and I think the idea of it is that this SharePoint Embedded service if you like is now going to be available as something that you can pay for and subscribe to if you have an application and you need some kind of storage solution for that apps data. So that is something that Microsoft has been talking about and you can head over to the show notes to find out more about it.
Now I thought that Microsoft wasn’t adding any of the new kind of Copilot functionality into the classic desktop app for Outlook but this week I noticed on the roadmap that they’re apparently adding the ability to use Copilot to help you draft emails into the classic desktop app and I assume what they mean by that is the kind of what I like to think is a big outlook that you download as part of your Microsoft 365 subscription. So you know maybe you know that is coming to that app we’ll have to wait and see but that’s what I understand from the roadmap. If you found this video useful I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a like because it helps us to push it out to more people on YouTube and to grow our channel. I’m going to leave another video on the screen that you also might find interesting about big changes coming to Microsoft Planner so do check that out but that’s it from me this week and I’ll see you next time.