Windows 11 change proves so unpopular that Microsoft reverses course

Microsoft has reversed a decision it made to change File Explorer in Windows 11 following complaints from testers.

This happened in the freshly introduced build 23486 in the Dev channel, and as Microsoft announced in the blog post to go with that preview version: “Thank you to all the Windows Insiders who gave us feedback on the Folder Options changes in File Explorer that removed a handful of old settings in Build 23481.

“We’ve rolled back this change. As is normal for the Dev Channel, we will often try things out and get feedback and adjust based on the feedback we receive.”

If you missed it, the change (brought in just over a week ago) was removing what Microsoft felt were outdated options for the folders that sit on your desktop.

That includes the setting to ‘Show drive letters’ and ‘Hide protected OS files’ among a number of other options (nine of them in total).

Build 23486 also brings in some work on the passwordless front, with Microsoft enhancing the passkey experience in Windows 11, allowing users to go to any supporting website or app and use passkeys via Windows Hello. (Speaking of the latter, you may get a head-scratching pop-up related to Windows Hello, as we reported yesterday).

Analysis: Registry workaround was not well-received

We should note that Microsoft did leave a route to still access those folder options in the build where they were dropped, namely editing the Registry. But that’s obviously a pretty clunky way of doing things, so it’s no wonder folks weren’t happy with being thrown that ‘bone’ as a consolation of sorts.

To be fair to Microsoft, as the company makes clear in its statement, this is what test builds are for. Someone has an idea – in this case, for streamlining the interface – so they try it out and see whether it works okay, and what the reaction is to the change.

In this case, there was quite a good deal of feedback from users – power users in the main – not happy about having these folder options stripped away in Windows 11, because they still find many (or at least some) of them useful. After they made their feelings known, Microsoft dropped the idea.

It’s good to see the software giant is listening and taking the feedback from testers seriously (as it should, of course: this, and finding bugs, is the entire point of the Windows Insider scheme). There are those out there, mind, who can’t understand why Microsoft would even think about ditching some of these choices.

We may find that in the future, when a broader redesign happens – and a big File Explorer revamp is indeed in the pipeline – that Microsoft might again try to shed some of these options in the name of tidying up the interface. (Hopefully, they can be left in and tucked away in an ‘Advanced’ panel somewhere, though).

Via Neowin

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Windows 11’s latest update proves disastrous for some Chrome users

The latest update for Windows 11 has totally broken Google’s Chrome browser for users of a popular antivirus app.

For Malwarebytes users, patch KB5027231 for Windows 11 22H2 causes Chrome to fail to work – the browser window simply doesn’t appear, even though there is a running Chrome instance in Task Manager.

Neowin spotted that Malwarebytes staff members have posted several times on the issue, to let affected folks know that the company is investigating and working on an update to fix the issue. Users also note that there’s no issue with Windows 10 and Chrome.

A Malwarebytes employee going by the forum name Msherwood posted to say: “We’re currently experiencing issues with Malwarebytes Exploit Protection and Chrome in Windows 11 where you’ll see Chrome crash. We suspect this is happening due to a Windows Update (KB5027231) that was released on June 13, 2023.

“We’re actively troubleshooting this and we’ll be back with more info as soon as possible.”

A further update to that post notes that there is a fix now in the beta of Malwarebytes 4.

Analysis: There is a fudged workaround, too

The good news is that if you don’t want to switch to the beta of Malwarebytes – and let’s face it, most folks won’t (beta software may well have problems of its own) – there is a workaround which has been successfully applied according to numerous reports.

Some people have simply turned off Malwarebytes Exploit Protection, but that leaves you vulnerable as you might imagine, and there’s a more targeted fudge as provided by another staff member at the company, Arthi.

That is to turn off Chrome as a protected app in Malwarebytes. To do this, go to Settings, and the Security tab, and under Exploit Protection, click the ‘Manage Protected Applications’ button. Then find Google Chrome in the list of apps and turn off the protection slider.

Obviously that still isn’t ideal, as Malwarebytes will no longer be protecting Chrome against exploits. If that makes you uncomfortable, the only other path is to uninstall the Windows update (KB5027231) and live without it until the security company provides a full fix. That should be soon enough, given that the cure is already in beta as mentioned.

There is one other workaround suggested by Arthi, and this is to set Chrome as your default browser in Windows 11 (if it isn’t already, obviously). However, a couple of reports in the customer support thread suggest that this didn’t make any difference.

It’s worth a shot, though, seeing as this is a workaround which won’t hinder your level of security with Chrome (turning off exploit protection certainly does).

Interestingly, there’s a claim that Malwarebytes isn’t the only antivirus vendor affected, and an ESET user reckons they have encountered it – and that the problem is caused by having any other Chromium browser set as your default (such as Microsoft Edge).  Take that with lots and lots of salt, though it makes some sense in that one of the suggestions from Malwarebytes is to change Chrome to be your default browser.

We’ll keep an eye on the situation as it develops to ascertain whether or not other antivirus apps are also hit by this gremlin.

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Twitter’s latest meltdown proves Elon Musk is still doing it wrong

Twitter thrives on shares, not just within the social media platform but from partner links all over the Internet. Except on Monday, most of those links stopped working.

For approximately an hour, anyone trying to share recently published articles on Twitter was met with an error message clearly intended for developers:

Twitter API bug

(Image credit: Future)

It was almost as if Twitter was informing publishers that they didn't pay their water bill and, as such, couldn't publish links on the social network.

What went wrong?

We didn't have to wait too long for Twitter CEO Elon Musk to explain. In response to a tweet from former Netscape founder and well-known venture capitalist Marc Andreessen pointing out how four of the five top Twitter trends were about Twitter, Musk tweeted, “A small API change had massive ramifications. The code stack is extremely brittle for no good reason. Will ultimately need a complete rewrite.”

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This seemingly clear-headed tweet though should be cause for alarm. Musk claims the code stack (basically a massive stack of programs that all work together to create the Twitter whole) is brittle and needs a rewrite. What he fails to mention is that among the thousands of Twitter employees he laid off since November, a good number of them were engineers and, it's safe to assume, some were in what's known as QA or quality assurance.

Typically if you plan on making any kind of code change to a website, online service, or app, QA tests it on an offline copy of the platform. In this way, they ensure that the updates, no matter how small, won't adversely impact the live environment.

The concept is known as “production,” the live site or service, versus “staging,” an environment that's identical to live but can not be seen or touched by users. You run your new code or feature through staging, a group of QA testers applies a set of known scenarios (maybe they throw in an edge case or two) and as long as there are no red flags, the update gets pushed from Staging to Production. 

Twitter, which has seen its overall reliability drop (from going offline to having features appear and disappear unexpectedly) since Musk took over, may be getting its updates in a different way.

Musk likes to test features on production (the live site). As a result, he keeps running into unintended consequences.

There is some disagreement on whether or not there is a Twitter QA team.

Some argue one exists but Musk grows impatient and then pushes untested code live.

Others insist that Elon Musk arrived at Twitter and discovered that Twitter had no QA team and it was long in the practice of pushing untested code live. That though seems highly unlikely. 

I asked Musk directly on Twitter if the API update was tested on staging before being pushed live and will update this post if he responds.

Never assume

The assumption he made here, that a small API change would have little impact on the site was a poor one. And, yet, Musk still doesn't understand that he's doing it wrong.

Testing features of any kind on a live version of a complex platform like Twitter will inevitably result in bugs and crashes.

Will rewriting the code stack solve all this? Maybe, but very few platforms stay as clean as they were on launch and even if the rewrite is robust and perfect, frequent updates and fresh features will test that stability.

As long as Musk refuses to fully test what he launches before he launches it, there is no scenario in which Twitter escapes regular downtime.

This is a simple fix, Elon, make QA an inescapable part of the development pipeline and save yourself and us a lot of headaches. Or keep doing it your way because that's working out so, so well.

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New Windows 10 update proves Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about you

While Microsoft has understandably been giving Windows 11 a lot of attention lately (including launching a new update that brings Android apps to PC), it has also published an update for the older Windows 10 operating system as well.

As Windows Latest reports, Windows 10 KB5010415 is now available as an optional update. This means you won’t automatically get it, but if you open up Windows Update, you should see it waiting for you under ‘Optional Updates’.

It’s worth checking out, as it brings fixes for several Windows 10 problems (which will later be included in cumulative updates in March and April), so if your PC isn’t running well, this update could fix it.

It also includes a fix for people trying to upgrade to Windows 11, but who find the process failing when checking the TPM status of the PC.

However, as this is an optional update, if your PC is running fine as it is, you can feel free to ignore it for now, rather than risk adding new issues to your PC – something Windows 10 updates have been responsible for in the past, unfortunately.

New features

This Windows 10 update also brings new features to the operating system as well. For a start, you can now share cookies between Microsoft Edge Internet Explorer mode and Microsoft Edge. This could be handy for web developers, or anyone who uses online services that still work with Internet Explorer.

Microsoft has also added the ability to add and remove NVMe storage without having to turn off your PC (known as hot swapping). Again, this is a feature that likely won’t appeal to most users, but enterprise and power users may find it very useful.

Windows 10's grave

(Image credit: Anna Kucherova / Shutterstock / Microsoft)

Analysis: Still going strong

While this may not be the most exciting update ever, especially when compared to Windows 11’s latest release which adds some genuinely game-changing features, it’s still good to see Microsoft continuing to update and support Windows 10.

After all, Windows 10 remains the most-used version of Windows at the moment, and while Microsoft may be keen to get people to upgrade to Windows 11, it still needs to look after people who continue to use Windows 10, either by choice or because their PCs aren’t compatible.

Windows 10 will continue to be supported until October 14, 2025, and we hope Microsoft continues to release updates for the operating system until then.

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