Microsoft's latest Windows 10 20H2 previews bring a big pile of fixes

Microsoft releases an array of Windows 10 updates and fixes across a number of versions.

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Windows 10 fans can now grab the latest preview update for version 20H2, and Microsoft has released new optional cumulative updates for Windows versions 1909 and 1809.   

The updates for 1909 and 1809 mark the return of optional Windows 10 updates after Microsoft's 2020 holiday season hiatus

For Windows Insiders, Microsoft has released the 20H2 Build 19042.782 – update KB4598291 – to the beta and release preview channels for users on 20H2 or the Windows 10 October 2020 Update. It was the version of Windows 10 released in September 2020. 

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The 20H2 Build contains dozens of fixes for Windows components, including fixes for Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Intune, BitLocker encryption, Azure Active Directory, Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, and memory issues with LSASS.exe. 

The non-security update KB4598298 is for those on Windows 10 version 1909 (and specifically not for version 1903, which ran out of support in December). Microsoft advises 1903 users to upgrade to continue receiving security updates. It pushes users up to build number 18363.1350. These are the updates that precede next month's Patch Tuesday cumulative updates.  

This update lets administrators disable standalone Internet Explorer using a Group Policy while continuing to use Microsoft Edge's IE Mode, and configure certain policies that support Microsoft Edge IE Mode using mobile device management.

For gamers, there's a DirectX 12 graphics improvement, and it also fixes problems with JumpList items when creating them using the Windows Runtime (WinRT) Windows.UI.StartScreen API for desktop applications that are packaged in the MSIX format. 

Windows 10 users of version 1809 get a preview of build number 17763.1728 via the update KB4598296

The update fixes a problem with devices that display a blank lock screen after it wakes up from Hibernate. It also fixes a glitch that prevented users from opening a document on the Windows desktop. Previously, it would show an error message, "The directory name is invalid." There was also a bug that stopped Windows from showing "Extract all" on the shortcut menu when users right-clicked an online-only ZIP file.

Separately, Microsoft has released the Windows 10 Insider Preview build 21296 (RS_PRERELEASE) for Windows Insiders on the Dev Channel.

Microsoft warns that Dev Channel users on Build 20262 or earlier should update before January 31. 

"Please be sure to update to the newest build provided in the Dev Channel to avoid getting into a bad state," Microsoft notes

Microsoft has also acknowledged a bunch of issues affecting its new News and Interest feature in the Windows 10 taskbar. The issues indicate how early Microsoft is in delivering the experimental feature to mainstream users, if it does deliver them at all. 

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Moving to this build will cause your news and interests taskbar setting to be reset to "Show icon and text". Microsoft says "this is fixed going forward."

Sometimes the news and interests flyout can't be dismissed with a pen. The feature also users more taskbar space on the left than expected. Other problems include the task bar showing stale information, a pixelated button, overlapping context menu and news and interest. 

A potentially annoying aspect of the feature is that in "certain circumstances", the feature "uses 100% of CPU when first launched". 

There's also a screen glitch for Surface Pro X owners. "Insiders who installed the preview version of the Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver on the Surface Pro X may experience reduced brightness of the display. This will be addressed in a future update."