Windows 10 gets a fresh lock screen weather widget and bug fixes in new update

Microsoft has dropped a new preview update (KB5034203), bringing an updated lock screen weather widget to Windows 10 alongside regular bug fixes. The update also comes with changes to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act – however, these changes are set to roll out gradually rather than all at once.

The update will bring more life to the weather experience on Windows 10, including more interactive weather updates, allowing you to hover your cursor over the widget on your lock screen to see more information about current weather conditions in your area. Clicking on the weather ‘card’ will then sign you into your device and open up Microsoft Edge with a full weather broadcast.

Alongside the updated widget, update KB5034203 comes with other fixes such as addressing issues that affect BitLocker data-only encryption, the failure of some apps in Windows 10 to respond to changed keyboard language, and a fix for an annoying bug that caused the Internet Explorer shortcut to become unresponsive for some users.

Optional, but still worth an update

In terms of compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Microsoft released a blog post directed to Windows Insiders back in November addressing plans to ensure Windows 11 and Windows 10 follow the set obligations.

The Digital Markets Act includes a wide range of requirements that Microsoft will have to adhere to within the EU – most notably, the ability for users to uninstall any Windows app, including Cortana and Edge. According to the blog post, Microsoft will “be updating Windows 10, version 22H2 and Windows 11, version 23H2 PCs in the EEA to be compliant by March 6th, 2024.”

So, we can expect more of these smaller-scale updates in the coming months to both Windows 10 and Windows 11. I'm pleased to see Microsoft continuing the effort to keep Windows 10 updated, considering many people are still quite hesitant to jump ship to Windows 11.

KB5034203 is an optional preview update at the moment, so you’ll have to install it manually if you’d like to check these features out yourself right now. Head over to the ‘Update and Security’ section of your setting and click the ‘Windows Update’ tab. There you’ll see a list of optional updates available and a link to download and install the update. Enjoy!

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The Microsoft Office app has a fresh new look, but not for everyone

Microsoft has rolled out a fresh version of and the corresponding Windows application, with a revamped user interface that’s supposed to maximize productivity.

As explained in a Microsoft blog post, the changes will take effect for business and education customers first, with similar updates for personal accounts to follow “in the coming months”.

The company suggests that business customers took priority in this instance because the new functionalities are largely geared towards managing large volumes of files more efficiently, a challenge that professionals are more likely to encounter.

New-look Microsoft Office

First announced at Microsoft Ignite in November 2021, the changes to the Microsoft Office app and web client are designed to make managing and locating files simpler, by fine-tuning menu screens and introducing opportunities for customization.

“We designed and the parallel Office app for Windows to be the hub for your content – a place where you can get to all your files and documents, understand what needs your attention, and easily start creating content,” wrote Microsoft.

The most significant upgrade is perhaps the new-look home screen, which now features a Quick Access section that helps surface important files and filter options that allow users to organize files by those most recently opened, shared, favorites and various other parameters.

Microsoft Office

The new home screen. (Image credit: Microsoft)

There’s also a new My Content pane, which Microsoft says “helps you get to all the work related to you no matter the file type, where it’s stored, or how it was shared with you”. This page also benefits from infinite scroll, which eliminates the hassle of tabbing through multiple results pages to find a specific file.

Lastly, the Create pane lets users create new documents and spreadsheets with a single click, using a variety of templates as the base.

“Just select the type of content you wish to create and you’ll be presented with various template options across multiple apps all at once so you can decide which works best for you,” Microsoft explained.

These updates should take effect for all corporate and education customers by the end of the week.

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Windows 11 is getting a fresh new email app

Microsoft's push to update all its classic apps for Windows 11 has now moved on to its email platform.

Following makeovers for core tools such as Paint, Word and even Notepad, the company is now reportedly hard at work on a refresh for its Outlook email platform.

The work, codenamed Project Monarch, will look to update email on Windows 11, offering a truly cross-platform experience for users looking to embrace hybrid working.

One Outlook

News of Project Monarch first appeared in January 2021 under rumors that Microsoft was looking to unite all its email programs under one brand, as well as replacing the current calendar app in Windows.

It was said that the new client will work across Windows 10, Windows 11, macOS and the web, allowing Microsoft to replace its existing Outlook Win32, UWP and Outlook for Mac clients with one that offers a unified experience across platforms in a similar way to how Outlook for the web works.

Now, WindowsLatest claims that new references on Microsoft's website suggest that the new program could see a public preview of the One Outlook app in late March or April 2022, before expanding to other Insider channels in the summer ahead of a general launch in autumn 2022.

Both the classic and new One Outlook apps will be available simultaneously to begin with, giving users a chance to manage their switch over.

The site claims that a Microsoft support document it has discovered shows that the new app interface will be similar to Outlook web. This includes the rounded corners and icons already seen in a raft of new Windows 11 apps as Microsoft looks to offer a unified design approach.

The news comes after a series of recent updates and upgrades for Outlook as Microsoft looks to breathe new life into the software. 

This includes an upcoming upgrade that will allow Outlook web users to customize the color of the events in their calendar app, the launch of spelling and grammar checks for Outlook on mobile platform, and another update to let users set a notice showing where they are working, whether that be at home, in the office, or elsewhere.

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Microsoft Office has a fresh new look – here’s how to update

If you've upgraded to Windows 11 and want Microsoft Office to match the look of the company's latest operating system, then you're in luck as Microsoft's visual update for its office software is now available.

Back in June, the software giant announced a new look for Office designed for Windows 11 though it will also improve your experience if you're running Windows 10 according to a new blog post from Microsoft. 

At its core, Microsoft's new visual update for Office delivers a simple and more coherent experience across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook. It's worth noting that the update isn't available for some of the company's other software including Access, Project, Publisher and Visio. 

Once enabled in one of the compatible Office apps such as Word, the visual refresh will also be applied to the others so Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook will have a new look as well.

Office Visual Update with Word Dark Mode

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Enabling the visual update for Office

Microsoft's new visual refresh for Office can easily be turned off or on using the Coming Soon feature which is located in the top right corner of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

To get started, simply click the megaphone icon to open the Coming Soon pane, navigate to the bottom and use the toggle to move between the new and current interface and apply the setting to all of Microsoft's compatible Office apps.

The biggest change in this visual update is the fact that Office now matches your Windows theme by default. This means you can experience it in whichever Windows theme you want including black with Word Dark Mode enabled, white, colorful or dark grey.

Another change is that the Quick Access Toolbar is now hidden by default to make the user interface of Office simpler. To display it again, just right-click the ribbon or click on the Ribbon Display Options icon and then click Show Quick Access Toolbar.

Microsoft's visual update is now now available for users running Windows 11 as well as for those running Windows 10 version 2110 and build 14527.20226 or later but if you don't see the update, restarting Office should make it appear.

We've also rounded up the best Microsoft Office alternativesbest free office software and best online collaboration tools to help you work more productively

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