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February 25, 2020

Weekly Windows Newsbytes — Week 28/2019

Public Preview Available for FIDO2-based Passwordless Sign-in in Azure AD

On Wednesday, July 10, Alex Simons (Corporate VP for Program Management, MS Identity Division) announced a “public preview of FIDO2 security keys support in Azure Active Directory.” Why does this mattter? Because this permits Microsoft to provide users with “seamless, secure and passwordless access to . . . Azure AD-connected apps and services” (the emphasis appears in the MS announcement). The preview also permits admins to manage authentication factors for an organization’s users and groups, with plans to add support for managing multi-factor authentication (MFA), OATH tokens, phone number sign-in, and more, in the offing. As Mr. Simons puts it “Our goal is to enable you to use this one tool to manage all your authentication factors.” Good stuff!

Insider Preview Fast + Skip 18936 Releases on July 10

MS pushed another Fast and Skip Ahead Ring release for 20H1 this week. See the Windows Experience blog post from Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc for more details, or read more at TenForums.com. (Note: I usually read this kind of news at TenForums because they mix a link to the announcement post with real-time feedback from advanced users who rush out to grab and install new releases as they appear, often with valuable feedback about issues, gotchas, and more.)

New Servicing Stack for Windows 10 1903 Appears in KB4509096 on July 9

The so-called “Servicing Stack” is the portion of Windows 10 that interfaces and interacts with Windows Update. It gets updated regularly, and should you ever have difficulty installing a current Cumulative Update, may fix those difficulties to then permit subsequent update success. Read about this update (and get pointers to the MS announcement and manual download links) at TenForums.

New Cumulative Update for Windows 10 1903 Build 18362.239 Appears in KB4507453 on July 9

Yes, folks: July 9 was “Patch Tuesday” (usually occurs on the second Tuesday of each month, including the most current CU, the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), quality updates, and sometimes more). The latest CU takes Windows 10 1903 to Build 18362.239 (shown via Winver.exe below). Some gotchas have been reported, and are covered in the user comments in the TenForums post on this CU. Here’s a link to the MS Support note for KB4507453.

MS Reverses Take-Back of Partner Internal Use Rights (IURs)

Earlier this month (on or before July 7), MS provoked a great outcry from its Partner network when it announced that it would no longer permit partners to obtain free licenses for Microsoft products and platforms that they sell to their customers. Kari posted about this on July 9, and again on July 12 when MS announced it would maintain the old IUR policy for at least the next year. Here’s a link to the MS Partner Network blog post from July 12 in which Corporate VP Gavriela Schuster from the MS One Commercial Partner program explains the reversal (worth reading, especially for those who are — or work for — Microsoft Partners).

New MS Services Agreement Takes Effect on August 30, 2019

If you’ve got Windows 10 set up using an email address, you’ve got what’s called an MSA (Microsoft Services Account). There’s an official MS policy that goes with that account, and the terms of that policy will be changing at the end of next month (August 2019). If you read the entire TenForums post on this topic, you’ll see a detailed list of exactly what is changing in post item #2 (also worth reading, just to make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to).

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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