Microsoft Weekly: Visual Studio, decent builds of Windows 11, and the death of Ninjacat



We’re at the end of a new week of 2022, which means it’s time to recap all the big stuff that’s happened in the world of Microsoft over the past few days. This time we have news that developers might find interesting, Windows 11 news for insiders, and a farewell to a Windows mascot. Let’s dive into our weekly recap from February 12-18!

Developers, developers, developers!

Visual Studio 2019 Icon

If you are currently running older versions of Visual Studio in your development environments, be aware that some iterations of the IDE will soon be unsupported. Some versions of Visual Studio 2012, 2017, and 2019 are reaching end of life in the coming months. Microsoft recommended upgrading to a supported version, ideally Visual Studio 2022.

Microsoft has also rolled out Visual Studio 2022 17.0 Preview 6 for Mac. It fixes many of the issues present in Preview 5, but more importantly, it also completes the migration of core features to the native macOS UI. The company is also improving support for Xamarin and .NET MAUI development in this release and those coming in the coming months.

Visual Studio 2022 17.1 has also reached general availability. Indexed search in files is now enabled by default, you can allow the IDE to save changed documents whenever the window loses focus, take advantage of Git improvements, and much more. Microsoft noted that organizations and developers planning to take advantage of the latest improvements should plan their upgrades soon.

Important versions of Windows 11

Windows 11 screenshot of leaked version and logo

This week finally saw a Windows 11 Dev Channel release in the form of build 22557. This is a relatively large release as it contains a ton of new features and changes such as an updated task manager updates, app folders in the Start menu, Focus, Live Subtitles, new touch gestures and more. See full details on new features here and a list of fixes and known issues here.

Importantly, Microsoft has warned that Windows 11 Pro users will soon need a Microsoft account to set up their installation, just like Windows 11 Home.

But if you’re a gamer, build 22557 also contained some welcome surprises. Microsoft is working on windowed game improvements for legacy titles running on DirectX 10 and DirectX 11. This includes automatically migrating their presentation model to the one used by DirectX 12, which will result in lower latency and also open the door to Auto HDR and variable refresh. Rate (VRR).

The Xbox HDR Game Calibration app is coming to Windows 11 as the Windows HDR Calibration app. It is present in build 22557 but is not yet functional.

However, that wasn’t all the news from Windows 11 Dev Channel this week. Microsoft has also rolled out its set of “new experiences” for Windows 11 users. This includes a public preview of the Amazon Appstore, Taskbar improvements, and redesigned apps for Notepad and Media Player, among others.

Updates KB5010415 and KB5010414 have been released for Windows 10 and 11 respectively, and you can check out all the details here.

RIP Ninjacat

goodbye ninja cat

It looks like Microsoft is finally ditching its unofficial “Ninjacat” mascot that debuted in 2015 and was associated with Windows 10. Although the company hasn’t officially commented on the matter, reports citing insiders say the company is is separated from Ninjacat. , so he probably won’t use the mascot in his promotional material in the future.

To be fair, Ninjacat was never an official thing from the management of the company itself. Instead, the sticker – a cat riding a unicorn holding a Microsoft flag in its paw – was actually designed as a fun project by some Microsoft employees. Although he was well received by many employees and members of the public, it was mostly just a character like Clippy that people had begun to associate with Microsoft. Well, no more (if reports are to be believed).

Speaking of other Microsoft products, you’ll soon be able to access Teams apps directly from the Office app on Windows or, as well as control your Teams call through a Bluetooth headset. And if you’re an active Microsoft Edge user, it looks like the Redmond tech giant is testing Skype Meet Now’s browser integration and the ability to quickly install web apps in Edge on all your devices.

Development Channel

Microsoft Surface Laptop

Under the projectors

These are screenshots from Dying Light 2 on Xbox Series X

This week, Neowin News reporter Asher Madan published his thoughts on Dying Light 2 played on Xbox Series X. He described it as “parkour heaven”, but noted story missteps and how they diminish the overall experience.

Application Folders in Windows 11

Meanwhile, I’ve resumed our Closer Look series with a slightly different approach where we’re also looking at features in development on Windows 11. To kick things off, I’ve shared my thoughts on implementing App Folders in the menu Boot from Windows 11 Dev Channel build 22557. If that tickles your fancy, check out my article here.


Windows 11 desktop with heart emoticons on it

In this section, I’d like to draw your attention to Windows 11 apparently running on a Google Pixel 6 on a preview build of Android 13. While its usefulness is questionable, it’s certainly interesting to see what you can accomplish when you you are about to do what many would perceive as impossible.

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