The optional March 2023 non-security preview update for Windows 11 now includes a search box that matches the current colour scheme and a new function known as “notifications for Microsoft accounts,” according to Microsoft.
Several enhancements and bug fixes are also included in the KB5023778 Windows 11 non-security version, such as the addition of new Microsoft Defender for Endpoint functionality and a resolution to a PowerPoint freeze problem.
KB5023778 is an optional, non-security preview release that is released each month to assist Windows administrators in testing upgrades that will be made available with next month’s Patch Tuesday.
Only this preview update can be manually downloaded and installed via the Microsoft Update Catalog or by clicking the “Download and install” button from Settings > Windows Update after checking for updates.
Microsoft is promoting its items in the Start menu.
The sign-out flyout of the Windows 11 Start menu will now display a new set of notifications, which some may define as advertisements, as was described at the beginning of this paragraph.
“With this update, the Start menu will now display notifications for Microsoft accounts. Currently, only a small audience may access this, says Microsoft.
“In the upcoming months, it will be deployed more widely. As we gather input, some devices might notice various graphic treatments.
Since at least November 2022, when Windows enthusiast Albacore first discovered an early variant of this “feature,” it has been in testing.
Some screenshots Albacore displayed Microsoft encouraging customers to sign up for or finish their Microsoft accounts, or advertising the OneDrive file hosting service.
The “Microsoft account alerts” (or start menu promotional messages) drew negative responses on social media (to say the least).
Microsoft today also unveiled a (small) screenshot of the notifications’ interface, which depicts a popup urging Windows 11 users to back up their data to the cloud (presumably using the firm’s OneDrive service).
Microsoft has experimented with advertising its products within the user interface of Windows applications before.
Customers of Office 2021 were shown advertisements for Microsoft 365 Family subscriptions in August 2022, while in March, as part of a Windows Insider test, advertisements for several Microsoft products (including Microsoft Editor) were featured in the File Explorer app.
In 2016, OneDrive marketing messages were once more injected into the File Explorer, and four years later, advertising for Microsoft’s free Office web apps appeared in the Wordpad software for Windows 10.
Also, Microsoft promoted its Microsoft Edge web browser in the Start Menu of Windows 10, and while testing Microsoft Teams ads on some Windows Insider releases, it unintentionally broke the Start Menu and Taskbar.
More highlights in the preview update for this month
This update fixes a problem that has an impact on Windows Search. Inside of Windows container images, Windows Search doesn’t work.
Affected by this upgrade is the Group Policy Editor. It expands the list of protocols you can set to include Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3.
This patch resolves a problem with the Microsoft HTML Application Host (HTA). Microsoft HTA-using code cannot be executed because of this problem.
When User Mode Code Integrity (UMCI) enforced mode is enabled in Windows Defender Application Control (WDAC), this happens.
The update fixes a problem that the Remote Procedure Call Service is affected by (rpcss.exe). The problem may result in a race condition between the Microsoft Remote Procedure Call (RPC) endpoint mapper and the Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM).
Microsoft also issued a warning today stating that the supported Windows 10 versions would no longer receive any additional preview cumulative updates after next month.
Microsoft said that there would be no more optional, non-security preview releases for the supported editions of Windows 10, versions 20H2 and 21H2, after March 2023.
“With these versions, there will only be cumulative monthly security updates (often referred to as the “B” or Update Tuesday release). Security and optional updates will continue to be released for Windows 10, version 22H2.”
Also, starting in April 2023, optional non-security preview upgrades will replace the “C” and “D” releases that were previously made available during the third and fourth weeks on the Tuesday of the fourth week of the month.
ALSO READ: Redmi Note 12 Turbo meets Harry Potter: A magical mashup