Windows 11

Microsoft released the optional March 2023 Non-Security Preview Update for Windows 11 with a search box that matches the current color scheme and a new feature that the company describes as “notifications for accounts Microsoft”.

E KB5023778 Insecure version of Windows 11 also has many improvements and bugfixes with the list, including new Microsoft Defender for Endpoint features and a fix for a Microsoft PowerPoint freezing issue.

As a non-security monthly preview release that helps Windows administrators test out the improvements that will roll out with next month’s patch, KB5023778 is optional and does not contain security updates.

You can only install this preview update from Settings > Windows Update by clicking the “Download and Install” button after checking for updates, or manually download and install it from Microsoft Update Catalog.

Windows 11 KB5023778 Update Preview
Windows 11 Preview Update KB5023778 (BleepingComputer)

Promoting Microsoft Products in the Start Menu

As mentioned at the start, this month’s preview update also comes with a new set of notifications (which some might describe as advertisements), which will appear in the Windows 11 Start menu’s logout drop-down menu. .

“This update introduces notifications for Microsoft accounts to the Start menu. This is currently only available to a small audience,” Microsoft explain.

“It will be rolling out more widely in the coming months. Some devices may notice different visual treatments as we gather feedback.”

This “feature” was in test since at least November 2022, when Windows enthusiast Albacore first spotted an early iteration.

Some Albacore screenshots showed Microsoft promoting the OneDrive file hosting service or encouraging users to create or complete their Microsoft accounts.

Social media reactions to “Microsoft account notifications” (or Start Menu promotional messages) have been unfavorable to say the least.

Today, Microsoft also shared a (small) screenshot of what those notifications will look like, showing a prompt asking Windows 11 users to back up their files to the cloud (likely using the OneDrive service). business).

Notifications for Microsoft accounts
New notifications feature for Microsoft accounts (Microsoft)

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has dabbled in promoting its products in the Windows app UI.

In August 2022, it displayed advertisements for Microsoft 365 Family subscriptions to Office 2021 customers and advertisements for certain Microsoft products (including Microsoft Editor) in the File Explorer appin March, as part of a Windows Insider test.

File explorer was injected with OneDrive promotional messages again in 2016, and Windows 10 Wordpad app showed advertisements pushing Microsoft’s free Office web apps four years later.

Microsoft also announced its Microsoft Edge web browser in the Windows 10 Start menu and accidentally broke the Start menu and taskbar when test Microsoft Teams ads on some versions of Windows Insider.

Other highlights in this month’s preview update

Windows 11 KB5023778 preview build comes with more fixes and improvements, some of the notable ones are highlighted below:

  • This update fixes an issue that affects Windows Search. Windows Search fails inside Windows container images.
  • This update affects the Group Policy Editor. It adds Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 to the list of protocols you can set.
  • This update fixes an issue that affects Microsoft HTML Application Host (HTA). This problem blocks the execution of code that uses Microsoft HTA. This happens when you enable Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC) User Mode Code Integrity (UMCI) enforced mode.
  • The update fixes an issue that affects the Remote Procedure Call service (rpcss.exe). The issue may cause a race condition between the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) and the Microsoft Remote Procedure Call (RPC) endpoint mapper.

Microsoft also warned today that after the start of next month, there will be no more preview cumulative updates for supported versions of Windows 10.

“After March 2023, there are no longer optional, non-security preview builds for supported editions of Windows 10, version 20H2 and Windows 10, version 21H2,” Microsoft said.

“Only cumulative monthly security updates (known as Release ‘B’ or Tuesday’s Update) will continue for these builds. Windows 10, version 22H2 will continue to receive security and optional releases.”

Additionally, from April 2023, optional non-security updates will be released Tuesday of the fourth week of the month to replace the “C” and “D” versions previously issued in weeks three and four.


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