What’s New with Windows – September 2021

It’s been a relatively quiet month for Windows as Microsoft gets down to finalizing Windows 11 for an October 5th release.

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 is faster than Windows 10
  • New Surface hardware is announced
  • Passwordless sign-in comes to Microsoft consumer accounts
  • Windows Server 2022 reaches general availability

Windows 11 is faster than Windows 10

In a Microsoft Mechanics video released on YouTube, Steve Dispensa, Vice President of Enterprise Management at Microsoft, said that Windows 11 better optimizes memory management for frequently used apps and processes than Windows 10.

Windows 11 brings foreground process prioritization, even when the CPU is under heavy load, to improve up start-up times and Windows shell responsiveness.

For those with Intel Evo Platform hardware, there are also wake from sleep improvements. Dispensa says that Windows 11 has 25 percent better wake from sleep performance over Windows 10.

There are also performance enhancements for Windows Hello and reduced disk footprint. And on modern hardware with Windows DCH drivers, testing in the Windows Insider Program shows that Windows 11 brought a 99.8 percent crash-free experience for users.

For more information on the technical changes to Windows 11, check out Windows 11 is Faster, Even on Identical Hardware on Petri.

New Surface hardware announced

Not strictly Windows news, but as Surface is the premier hardware brand from Microsoft that mainly runs Windows, I thought this story would be of interest.

The Surface Laptop Studio is Microsoft’s new portable workstation. According to Brad Sams of Petri.com:

“The Surface Laptop Studio is the child of mixing the Surface Laptop, Surface Pro, and Surface Studio into a single product. Microsoft says that this is the most powerful Surface the company has ever built.”

Laptop Studio is based on Intel’s quad-core 11th generation chips and will be available in models ranging from the i5-11300H to the i7-11370H. The consumer version comes with Intel Iris® Xe or Nvidia RTX 3050Ti graphics.

And the commercial version can be fitted with an Nvidia RTX A2000 GPU. Studio comes with a 14.4 inch, 2400×1600 resolution display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

For more details on the formfactor and other technical details, check out Surface Laptop Studio: Microsoft’s New Portable Workstation on Petri.

Microsoft also updated the Surface Duo, Pro 8, and Go 3. You can find more details on Petri here.

Microsoft enables passwordless sign-in for consumer accounts

Again, not strictly limited to Windows, Microsoft earlier this month announced that consumers can completely remove passwords from their Microsoft accounts (MSA). MSAs are used to log into services like Skype, Outlook.com, and many others. Microsoft says:

“Weak passwords are the entry point for the majority of attacks across enterprise and consumer accounts. There are a whopping 579 password attacks every second — that’s 18 billion every year.”

Passwordless sign-in has been generally available for Microsoft work and school accounts since spring this year. Using the Microsoft Authenticator app, Windows Hello, or FIDO2 security keys, corporate users can sign into services connected to Azure Active Directory (AD) without needing their account password.

For more information on this announcement, see Microsoft Brings Passwordless Sign-In to Consumer Accounts on Petri.

Windows Server 2022 is now generally available

This isn’t the first time I’ve written that Windows Server 2022 is generally available on Petri. Because technically, it was already generally available in August.

But Microsoft made an official announcement at the beginning of September and followed that up with the Windows Server Summit in the middle of the month.

During the summit, Microsoft highlighted the different services and products that Windows Server 2022 integrates with, particularly Azure.

According to Bernardo Caldas, Vice President of Program Management of Azure Core OS and Edge Infrastructure at Microsoft, Windows Server 2022 was developed to address customer problems, like modernizing apps in a consistent way, managing applications at scale while maintaining security and compliance, modernizing Windows Server on-premises infrastructure with cloud services, and migrating on-premises workloads to the cloud.

You can watch the 2021 Windows Server Summit here and get more of the technical details about Windows Server 2022 on Petri here: Windows Server 2022 Now Available for Evaluation and to Volume License and Azure Customers.

Windows 11 now in the Release Preview Channel

Microsoft has steadily been updating the UI of some of the inbox apps in Windows 11 over the last month. And that’s mainly what it is; there’s not much new functionality but that’s likely to change over time.

But with the October 5th release date for Windows 11 imminent, Windows 11 made its way into the Release Preview Channel on the Windows Insider Program.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.194 is available to Insiders on the Release Preview Channel, providing that their hardware meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. ISOs are also available to Insiders here. Build 22000.194 is simultaneously in the Beta Channel.

And that is it for another month as we look forward to the release of Windows 11!