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Announcing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22494

Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22494 to the Dev Channel. TL;DR We are beginning to roll out the ability to mute or unmute your microphone from the Taskbar starting with Microsoft Teams. This build includes a good set of fixes for some impactful bugs but also adds a…

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Hello Windows Insiders, today we are releasing Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22494 to the Dev Channel.

TL;DR

  • We are beginning to roll out the ability to mute or unmute your microphone from the Taskbar starting with Microsoft Teams.
  • This build includes a good set of fixes for some impactful bugs but also adds a few known issues. Please read the fixes and known issues sections below!

What’s new in Build 22494

Easily mute and unmute your microphone directly from your taskbar during a Microsoft Teams call

No more awkward or embarrassing moments when you forget to unmute or mute your microphone. Starting with Microsoft Teams today, you’ll find a microphone icon automatically added to your taskbar when you’re actively in a call. You can see your call audio status, what app is accessing your microphone, and quickly mute and unmute your call at any time.

When you join a meeting, you will see the following icon instantly appear in your taskbar. The icon will be present throughout your call, so it is always accessible, no matter how many windows you have open on your screen.

Mute and unmute your calls with the microphone icon on the taskbar.

We are beginning to roll this experience out to a subset of Windows Insiders with Microsoft Teams for work or school installed and ramp it up over time. This means not everyone will see this right away with their Teams calls. We plan to bring this to Chat from Microsoft Teams (Microsoft Teams for home) later.

Other communications applications can also add this capability to their applications. The capability to mute or unmute your call applies only to your current call.

You can now communicate and collaborate with confidence & ease using the new call mute feature on Windows 11. We plan to enable this feature for all Windows 11 customers in a future serving update.

*Features and app availability may vary by region.

Changes and Improvements

  • We are trying out showing snap groups in ALT + TAB and Task View with some Windows Insiders just like when you hover open apps on the taskbar, and you see them there. This isn’t available to all Insiders just yet as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.
  • If you’re searching for file type or link types under Settings > Apps > Default apps, we’ll now show a dropdown of options containing your current query without having to first press enter.
  • If needed, you can now launch the installed apps settings page under Settings > Apps > Installed apps directly via this URI: ms-settings:installed-apps.
  • Adjusted the names of the sort by options under Settings > Apps > Installed apps to help make them clearer and added a new option to sort from smallest to largest size.

Fixes

[Taskbar]

  • Tooltips should no longer appear in random places on the Taskbar after sliding your mouse over volume, battery, network, or other icons in the Taskbar corner.
  • Addressed an underlying issue that was leading to come unexpected duplication of certain icons in the Taskbar corner.

[File Explorer]

  • Addressed an issue that was causing the context menu to crash for some people if you tried to scroll it.
  • Did some work to help address an issue where in certain areas of the screen the context menu submenus would draw on top of the context menu instead of beside it (for example, if you hovered over New).
  • The context menu icons should be less blurry on systems with multiple monitors with mixed DPI now.
  • Addressed an issue that could cause selecting Open With in the context menu to unexpectedly just open the file in certain cases rather than actually opening the Open With dialog.
  • Renaming files on the desktop is back up and running in this flight.
  • Made another adjustment to the command bar underlying logic to help improve performance of command actions in File Explorer.

[Search]

  • Fixed a recent issue that was causing the indexer database to become too fragmented, leading to the indexer unexpectedly consuming a large amount of memory and CPU for a prolonged period of time. This was particularly noticeable for people that have large Outlook mailboxes.

[Input]

  • Mitigated an issue that was causing certain apps to hang when trying to drag something with the Shift or Ctrl key held down.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing the touch keyboard to not appear on tablets when tapping the text field if you were to try to reset your PIN from the login screen.
  • Improved reliability of the Pen menu.

[Windowing]

  • Fixed a few explorer.exe crashes related to using windowing features (snap, ALT + Tab, and Desktops).
  • If you open Task View on a system with multiple monitors, the background should now be acrylic on both monitors.
  • Addressed a couple UI issues with the window thumbnails in Task View and ALT + Tab, notably that the close button might get cut off if the app window was too thin.

[Settings]

  • Addressed an issue where Facial Recognition (Windows Hello) might be unexpectedly greyed out in Sign-in Settings in certain cases until closing and opening Settings.
  • Fixed an issue where Storage Sense wasn’t cleaning up C:WindowsSystemTemp.
  • Standard users (aka non-admins) should now be able to change the time zone in Settings if Location access is not granted, rather than the dropdown going blank.

[Other]

  • Fixed an issue causing links to Windows Update, Recovery and For developers to show under the main Windows Update Settings page.
  • Fixed a bug where images had a yellow tonality in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Lightroom Classic when in HDR mode.
  • Mitigated an issue related to DHCP that was causing unexpected power usage while the screen was off in recent builds for some Insiders.
  • Did some work to help address an issue where Service Host: WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service would unexpectedly utilize a lot of CPU.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause some devices to have a black screen when coming out of sleep (where the lock screen wouldn’t display).
  • Addressed an underlying issue that was causing some users with ARM64 PCs to experience an increase in Microsoft Teams crashes in the last few Dev Channel builds.
  • We have increased the padding for selected items as seen by clicking Show More Options in the File Explorer context menu, or the menu options in Task Manager.
  • WSL: Fixed error 0x8007010b when accessing Linux distributions via `\wsl.localhost` or `\wsl$` (Issue #6995).

NOTE: Some fixes noted here in Insider Preview builds from the active development branch may make their way into the servicing updates for the released version of Windows 11 that became generally available on October5th.

Known issues

[General]

  • Users updating from Builds 22000.xxx, or earlier, to newer Dev Channel builds using the latest Dev Channel ISO, may receive the following warning message: The build you are trying to install is Flight Signed. To continue installing, enable flight signing. If you receive this message, press the Enable button, reboot the PC, and retry the update.
  • Some users may experience their screen and sleep timeouts being reduced. We’re investigating the potential impact that shorter screen and sleep timeouts could have on energy consumption.

[Start]

  • In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the Taskbar. If you experience the issue, press WIN + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it.

[Taskbar]

  • The Taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods.
  • We’re investigating an issue in this build where the clock in the Taskbar can get stuck and not updated, particularly when accessing the PC via Remote Desktop.

[Input]

  • Clipboard history says it is empty even if it is enabled and should contain content. This is a UI issue we’re investigating – when a flight goes out with a fix, any pinned items should become available again.

[Search]

  • After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again.

[Quick Settings]

  • We’re investigating reports from Insiders that the volume and brightness sliders aren’t displaying properly in Quick Settings.

For developers

You can download the latest Windows Insider SDK at aka.ms/windowsinsidersdk.

SDK NuGet packages are now also flighting at NuGet Gallery | WindowsSDK which include:

These NuGet packages provide more granular access to the SDK and better integrate in CI/CD pipelines.

About the Dev Channel

We have moved the Dev Channel back to receiving builds from our active development branch (RS_PRERELEASE). These builds are from the earliest stage in a new development cycle with the latest work-in-progress code from our engineers. These aren’t always stable builds, and sometimes you will see issues that block key activities or require workarounds while flighting in the Dev Channel. It is important to make sure you read the known issues listed in our blog posts as we document many of these issues with each flight.

These builds are also not matched to a specific release. New features and OS improvements from these builds could show up in future Windows releases when they’re ready, and we may deliver them as full OS updates or servicing releases.

Build numbers are higher in the Dev Channel than the Windows 11 preview builds in the Beta and Release Preview Channels. You will not be able to switch from the Dev Channel to the Beta or Release Preview Channels without doing a clean install back to the released version of Windows 11 currently.

Are you not seeing any of the features listed for this build? Check your Windows Insider Settings to make sure you’re in the Dev Channel. Submit feedback here to let us know if things weren’t working the way you expected.

The desktop watermark you see at the lower right corner of your desktop is normal for these pre-release builds.

Important Insider Links

Thanks,
Amanda & Brandon

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Microsoft

Babylon.js 5.0: News Tools – Part 2

We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools. Animation Curve Editor Creating and…

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We are artists, developers, creators, and dreamers and we want to make it as simple as possible to enable everyone to bring their ideas to life. With this new version of Babylon.js, we set out to make it even easier to develop thanks to a suite of new and exciting tools.

Animation Curve Editor

Creating and modifying animation data in a rendering engine can be complicated and verbose, but not anymore! Babylon.js 5.0 adds a built-in Animation Curve Editor (ACE), making it incredibly easy to create and modify animation data directly in your Babylon scene. As with all Babylon.js Platform tools, you can also save your animation data to the Babylon.js Snippet Server and load it back into your Babylon.js scene with one single line of code!

See it in action here: Play with the Animation Curve Editor

Learn more: Animation Curve Editor Documentation

Performance Profiler

Performance is one of the most important things to keep in mind as you create advanced interactive 3D experiences. After all, you don’t want to create an awesome experience that only runs on the most high-end graphics cards, right? You want to create something that EVERYONE can enjoy, and this means keeping track of and optimizing the performance of your scene. Babylon.js 5.0 makes performance debugging and management a breeze with the introduction of the new Performance Profiler. This handy tool allows you to see a real time graph of key performance indicators of your scene, all hooked up live! Make a change, see the impact on perf. It’s really that simple!

See it in action here: Performance Profiler Demo

Learn more: Performance Profiler Documentation

GUI Editor Beta

Babylon.js has a powerful GUI system that offers countless widgets, controls, and properties to help you create rich GUIs. With Babylon.js 5.0 that powerful system becomes far simpler to use with the introduction of the GUI Editor Beta. While still in active development, the GUI Editor Beta is a rich and modern tool, allowing you to create the perfect GUI with a simple and intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Say goodbye to thousands of lines of GUI code and hello to a world of design with the GUI Editor Beta and loading your creations with a single line of code!

See it in action here: GUI Editor Beta Demo

Try it out for yourself: GUI Editor

Learn more: GUI Editor Beta Documentation

New Node Material Nodes

The Node Material Editor is one of the most advanced tools available in the Babylon Platform. One simple UI that helps you generate stunning GLSL shaders with ease. With Babylon.js 5.0 the Node Material gets even better with the introduction of several powerful new nodes!

Check out the new nodes:

Learn More: Node Material Documentation

Asset Librarian

The Babylon.js Platform offers a large library of free Creative Commons 0 assets available for you to use in your Babylon.js scenes, completely for free. With Babylon.js 5.0, accessing these assets is easier and faster than ever! The new Asset Librarian brings a new Assets namespace that you can use in your projects to easily access the 200+ free assets to make your Babylon.js scenes soar.

Try it out: Asset Librarian Demo

Learn More: Asset Librarian Documentation

Dev Stories Documentation

Babylon.js 5.0 adds a whole new category of documentation called “Dev Stories.” These new tutorials are designed to walk you, step-by-step, through some common scenarios that many Babylon.js developers ask about. From setting up a Babylon.js project quickly, adding interactive 3D elements to your e-commerce site, to deploying your Babylon.js project to a Native Application, “Dev Stories” are rich, deep, detailed tutorials aimed at helping you take your project from idea to reality!

Check It Out: Dev Stories!

“Going The Distance With Babylon.js” A New Book               

We are also incredibly excited to share that alongside Babylon.js 5.0, community member and talented author Josh Elster has written an entirely new book about Babylon.js 5.0. Published by Packt Publishing, “Going The Distance With Babylon.js” is written from the mindset of taking you through the entire development process of building a game with Babylon.js from the ground up. We are thrilled to partner with Josh and Packt on this book and think it’ll be a great addition to your library and accelerate your Babylon.js learning journey.

Pick Up Your Copy Here: Babylon.js 5.0: The Book

Beside the tooling, there are also a ton of new features in the engine itself. Check out part three to learn more about the exciting new improvements with Babylon.js 5.0.

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How Windows speech-to-text and other tools can help address educational inequity

Graham, a 12-year-old boy who lives in Kansas, has a neurological condition that renders him unable to read or write. But, thanks to Windows speech-to-text, Immersive Reader and other tools, he’s been able to look forward to the future. He now aces book reports and makes business cards for his lawn-mowing service thanks to those…

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Graham, a 12-year-old boy who lives in Kansas, has a neurological condition that renders him unable to read or write. But, thanks to Windows speech-to-text, Immersive Reader and other tools, he’s been able to look forward to the future. He now aces book reports and makes business cards for his lawn-mowing service thanks to those tools. He dreams of being a doctor.

Features like these can help address inequity in schools, empowering students like Graham to find their voices and be game changers.

See the video below. To learn more about Graham and some of the ways teachers are using technology to help address inequity in the classroom, visit Microsoft Stories.




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Using Azure and Windows 11, IRZ consulting company helps farmers save water and power

Water is one of the most precious resources on Earth. And as someone whose family has been farming for generations, Fred Ziari has made it his life’s work to help growers be more efficient with this vital element for their crops, as well as the energy it takes to distribute it. Ziari is the CEO…

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Water is one of the most precious resources on Earth. And as someone whose family has been farming for generations, Fred Ziari has made it his life’s work to help growers be more efficient with this vital element for their crops, as well as the energy it takes to distribute it.

Ziari is the CEO of IRZ Engineering & Consulting, which provides services to agriculture communities around the world. The company is based in eastern Oregon, which he says is 95% efficient in its water use, vs. about 40% globally.

Water management is directly tied to crop productivity. IRZ offers water management services for large scale farms (100 acres or more), using water sensors and Microsoft Azure cloud services. This Internet of Things (IoT) solution links the internet connected sensors to the cloud. Azure SQL Server manages the incoming data and then IRZ uses custom apps to deliver that information to farmers, leading to decisions that help them save them 15-20% in water and power usage annually, which translates to millions of dollars. Windows 11 PCs and Microsoft 365 are must-haves for IRZ to smoothly conduct its daily business.

By reducing both water and energy in irrigated farming, IRZ customers conserve over 10 billion gallons of water every year.


Born in Northern Iran on a farm along the Caspian Sea, Ziari says generations of his family grew about 30 different types of crops, so agriculture has always been a big part of his life.

“Growing up in a family farm, I always believed that the technology of agriculture was more important to me and more interesting than the farming itself,” Ziari says. “I felt that by using water more efficiently, you can increase productivity by many, many fold.”

Fifty years ago, he came to the U.S. when he was 18.

He went to Texas A&M University for his undergrad and graduate studies before joining the faculty at Washington State University as a researcher in water management, specializing in irrigated agriculture.

Fred Ziari of IRZ

Irrigation and rainfall are the two sources most farms use to water their crops. Irrigated agriculture has become more important since it’s not so dependent on the environment and changing climate conditions to assure production and yield. But that means farmers need to use water more efficiently.

“If you put too much water to the crop, you are drowning it because the roots need oxygen. If you put too much water, you’re suffocating them,” Ziari says. “If you can put just the right amount of water, your productivity increases substantially.”

Soil moisture sensor up-close, in a potato field

In 1982, he moved to Oregon. Two years after that, he started IRZ engineering consulting, when he was 30.

Ziari got some of his best business advice from his grandfather. When he was a teen, his grandfather told him to be brave, take risks and create something, and good things would happen. As an entrepreneur, Ziari says that courage is a must. He also believes in a purposeful life – helping others, serving communities.

“You can only manage what you measure, so we rely tremendously on field sensors and climate input technologies – as well as modeling – using software to achieve our water management goals,” Ziari says. “Our company has been using Azure cloud services to provide near real time information and data to the farmers in multiple states: Oregon, Washington, Idaho and around the globe. So that has been a game changer for us on how we provide information and data to farmers – and how quickly they’re able to make irrigation decisions based on that data.”

Tim Berk of IRZ

Before Azure, they had to send a soil scientist and agricultural engineer to the farms and they would measure soil moisture, write it down on paper and bring it to the office. And then another person input the data. IRZ’s technical team installs real-time moisture sensors that go up to a meter deep and report what is happening with soil moisture and how much of the crop is taking water out of the soil every 15 minutes. They’re also tapping into weather stations and using proprietary software to forecast crop water use. It’s a massive amount of data – that’s now connected to Azure. Then apps forward that information to farmers on their desktops, laptops and mobile devices so they can decide when and how much to irrigate.

At the IRZ offices, engineers rely on Windows 11 and Microsoft 365 daily, such as using the centered task bar, widgets and a simplified start menu; as well as PowerPoint or Excel for calculations needed for sophisticated modeling or presenting ideas to clients.

Telemetry unit with the rain/irrigation gauge (black object) on the left in a potato field, where the crop is at a later stage of growth

Tim Berk, who’s been with IRZ for about 20 years, is the company’s IT manager. He says it’s been a long road to where they are with technology.

Within their customer base, the acceptance of technology has increased. In earlier years, Berk says it was difficult to encourage a grower or one of their customers to go online to get information – whether that was a weather report or a report IRZ published. In more recent years, as the internet has become standard, those growers have embraced web-based technologies.

IRZ chose Affirma as its technology partner about seven years ago to help them in other areas.

“Affirma allows us to do things that we can’t do ourselves,” Berk says. “They’ve got a lot of talent to draw from, whether it’s a data architect, a web developer or UI/graphics arts designer. Our customers also benefit from our relationship with Affirma. They help us bring our ideas to life and in their best form possible. Our expertise is in irrigation, consulting and engineering. With Affirma, we have a deep bench with talent and data architecture, software engineering, user interface design.”

Berk started at IRZ doing field work, then moved over to his current role in technology, where he’s been the majority of his time there.

Soil moisture sensor installed in a field

“Water management is important for a couple of reasons,” he says. “It allows growers to better manage costs associated with irrigating their crops and fields. Secondly, it’s important for the environment to use water wisely. It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the planet.”

In the past, IRZ hosted its own website and infrastructure, which was very expensive and difficult to implement. With Azure, they have all those things available to them without having to manage it themselves. Being cloud-based helps IRZ with redundancy and geo-located backups of services – something Berk says puts a small business on the same level as big business.

As a result, they’re giving farmers and growers the biggest benefit of all: time.

Traditionally, a farmer would have to visit his field multiple times a week, even every day. With IRZ’s sensors in the field, farmers can have the confidence to take time off and still be able to monitor their fields in near real-time.

Berk frames the company’s services to growers as a decision support system, starting with sensors in the field – moisture in the soil or applied irrigation – that transmit that data via satellite or by cell modems.

From there, IRZ imports that data into its system where it’s stored in Azure SQL databases, and then a number of processes run within a web application. And then it’s available to IRZ customers in near real-time in the form of reports on either a tablet, smartphone, a PC or a web browser.

During the summer growing season, fields can get dry – sometimes all at the same time. But farmers can’t add irrigation to the entire field at the same time due to the nature of the way the irrigation machines work. They have to plan ahead.

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