Windows 11

Microsoft announced that the latest version of Windows 11 delivered to Insiders in the Canary channel comes with additional Windows Kernel components rewritten in the memory-safety focused Rust programming language.

Rust is considered a safer alternative to C and C++ due to its memory safety improvements that help prevent common issues such as null pointer dereferences, buffer overflows, and suspended pointers that could lead to system crashes and security breaches.

It also enforces stringent rules for concurrent programming, mitigating data race conditions where multiple threads simultaneously access and modify shared data, allowing developers to write secure, data race-free concurrent code.

This is essential for kernel processes because memory bugs could allow attackers to execute commands at the highest privilege levels in Windows. Therefore, securing them with an in-memory safe programming language would be a priority for Microsoft.

“Rust offers reliability and security advantages over traditional programs written in C/C++. This preview comes with an early implementation of critical kernel features in Safe Rust,” said Microsoft’s Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc on Wednesday.

“Specifically, win32kbase_rs.sys contains a new implementation of the GDI region. Although this is a small trial, we will continue to increase the use of Rust in the kernel.”

Windows GDI is an API layer that sits between user-mode applications and Windows drivers, allowing applications to request graphics output functions and relay them to the driver through the kernel.

The GDI Regions feature, now rewritten in Rust, contains functions that can be used to create rectangles, polygons, or ellipses (or combinations of these shapes).

New Rust-based Windows kernel implementations are just beginning to roll out with Windows 11 Insider Preview build 25905 on the Canary Channel and are not yet available to all Canary Channel Insiders.

David Weston, Microsoft’s vice president for operating system security, shared more at the company’s BlueHat IL 2023 cybersecurity conference regarding Redmond’s goal of moving to memory security languages. for core development.

Mark Russinovich, CTO of Microsoft Azure first revealed in May that Redmond began rewriting parts of the Windows 11 kernel in Rust.

Today’s Canary release also includes a long list of new features that have already rolled out to Insiders in the Dev channel, including development player, Backup and restore improvements (Windows Backup), Dynamic lightingTHE Windows App SDK Version of File Explorer and Galleryand more.

This Insider release also deprecates support for Arm32 UWP apps from Windows on Arm, meaning Arm32 apps will no longer launch on Arm devices after the upgrade.

After upgrading to the new version, repairing Arm32 apps will require a manual process of uninstalling and reinstalling from the Microsoft Store.

This will allow you to install a compatible version that will work on upgraded devices enrolled in the Canary channel.

Last month, Microsoft also began rolling out a look at its AI-powered Windows Copilot personal assistant and one built-in password manager for Windows Hello to systems registered in the Dev channel.


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