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Dec222018

Microsoft Adds ‘Windows Sandbox’ in Latest Windows 10 19H1 Build 18305

A new Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18305 released to the Fast ring with a ton of new features.

Among the new functionalities launched with this latest 19H1 build, Microsoft also officially introduced ‘Windows Sandbox’ for running untrusted applications in isolation in a virtual environment.

At the same time, the company also has pushed Cumulative Updates for all supported versions of Windows 10 including this 19H1 build, which is now releasing as build 18305.1003 to the Fast ring.

The cumulative updates include a security fix for a remote code execution vulnerability in Internet Explorer.

According to the security bulletin, the bug is in the scripting engine of IE that handles objects in memory. If a script is used that corrupts the memory in a certain way, someone could execute foreign code on that machine. It can be used to install malware and more.

In addition to latest 19H1 build 18305, Microsoft has also released a new Windows 10 SDK Preview Build 18298, and Windows Server vNext Insider Preview Build 18298.

The latest release of Windows 10 Preview Build of the SDK can be used in conjunction with Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18298 or greater.

The Preview of this SDK can be downloaded at the developer section on Windows Insider.

The Insider build of Windows Server vNext Semi-Annual Channel release comes with the added support of “Network Policies” using Tigera Calico for Windows Containers.

The latest Tigera Calico for Windows can be accessed through the Tigera Essentials.

Microsoft also provided following Windows Server activation key for “unlimited activations”:

Server Standard: V6N4W-86M3X-J77X3-JF6XW-D9PRV
Server Datacenter: B69WH-PRNHK-BXVK3-P9XF7-XD84W

This preview build 18298 is set to expire on July 5th, 2019.

Here is what’s new in the Insider Preview Build 18305:

Windows Sandbox

With this 19H1 build, Microsoft officially took the wraps off rechristened “Windows Sandbox,” which creates an isolated, temporary desktop environment where users can run potentially suspicious software without the fear of impacting their working devices.

With Windows Sandbox, any software installed will stay only in the sandbox virtual container and when it’s closed, “all the software along with all of its files and state will be permanently deleted.”

Windows Sandbox can be installed by navigating to Settings -> Apps -> Apps & Features -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features “on” or “off,” and from there choose to enable “Windows Sandbox.”

Here is a screenshot of Windows Sandbow under Windows Features:

Enabling Windows Sandbox under Winfows Features in Window 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise editions

Once enabled, Windows Sandbox can be opened from the Start menu.

Since, it ships with Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise editions, no need to download any VHD etc.

Benefits of native Windows Sandbox include:

  • It’s clean as a brand-new installation every time it runs
  • Everything is discarded after the application close
  • Uses hardware-based virtualization for kernel isolation, which relies on the Microsoft Hypervisor to run a separate kernel which isolates Windows Sandbox from the host
  • Uses integrated kernel scheduler, smart memory management, and virtual GPU

Here is an image of Windows Sandbox running on a Windows 10 Enterprise Insider Preview Build 18301:

Windows Sandbox running on Windows 10 Enterprise Build 18301

Another capability in Build 18305 includes the recently announced new Office app, which is the successor to My Office.

The new Office app is coming to all Office users for free.

Simplified Start Layout

Microsoft is introducing with build 18305 a newly designed one column with less top-level tiles Start layout.

The new layout also comes with abilities like, uninstall additional inbox apps, way to unpin a folder or group of tiles.

A screenshot below shows the new simplified Start layout:

Simplified Start Layout in Windows 10 Build 18305 with One Column and less-top tiles

Improved Windows Security

A complete overhaul of Protection History experience in Windows Security now shows Windows Defender Antivirus detections as well as details on other threats and actions available.

  • Controlled folder access blocks are added to history, along with blocks made by Attack Surface Reduction Rules.
  • Windows Defender Offline scanning tool detections now also appear in history.
  • Any pending recommendations “red or yellow” states from throughout the app now shown in the history list.

Revamped Protection history in the Windows Security

A new tamper protection setting in Windows Defender Antivirus offer additional protections against changes to key security features, including limiting changes.

It’s available under Windows Security -> Virus & Threat Protection -> Virus & Threat Protection Settings.

Password-less Microsoft Accounts

Users are now capable to sign-in to Windows with their phone numbers without needing passwords.

Those, who have added a phone number to their Microsoft account can now use an SMS code to sign in using any of the following Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, or a PIN.

I don’t already have, simply go to Word and enter the phone number under “Sign in or sign up for free” to create a new password-less phone number account.

Once created, follow these steps to add this new account to Windows:

  • From Settings -> Accounts -> Family & other Users -> “Add someone else to this PC”.
  • Lock the device and choose phone number account from Windows sign-in screen.
  • Next, choose ‘Sign in options’, and click alternative ‘PIN’ tile, and then click ‘Sign in’.
  • Just go through web sign in, and “Windows Hello” set up to start using password-less Microsoft account.

Microsoft also revamped reset experience of Windows Hello PIN with the same look and feel as signing in on the web.

Here is a GIF animation showing new password-less sign-in and refreshed Windows Hello PIN UI:

Windows 10 Build 18305 password-less sign-in and refreshed Windows Hello PIN UI

Sync Cortana and Microsoft To-Do

Now, Cortana can help to add tasks and reminders to a list in Microsoft To-Do. Here are the new preview features:

Microsoft To-Do app now stores and automatically sync all to-do lists and reminders across Microsoft To-Do, Cortana, and tasks in Outlook.

They can be accessed from the web, Microsoft To-Do anywhere app on Android or iPhone, with Cortana, or on Windows 10 PC.

The syncing feature currently works on Windows 10 Build 18267 (or higher) in either Australia, India, US, or UK region.

Here is GIF animation of the new Cortana and Microsoft To-Do syncing:

seamlessly sync to-do lists-reminders across Microsoft To-Do and Cortana in Windows 10 Build 18305

Other new features and improvements in Build 18305 include:

Windows is now capable of automatic troubleshooting of critical problems on the device as well as recommend troubleshooting for other non-critical problems.

Though critical troubleshooting cannot be turned off, however, users can make changes to recommended troubleshooting by opening Start -> Settings -> Privacy -> Diagnostics & Feedback.

Automatic Restart and Sign On (ARSO) for Enterprises

Microsoft is now doing away its flashing screens that appear after a Windows 10 update happens with a new ARSO feature.

With ARSO, whenever a Windows 10 updates to a new release or during a fresh installation, an automatic sign-in will happen to finish setting up and then locks the PC.

A device that is on Cloud Domain Joined and meets the following security requirements will be eligible for this feature:

  • BitLocker is enabled and is not suspended during the upgrade
  • TPM 2.0
  • SecureBoot

To see if a device will get ARSO, just head over to Settings -> Accounts -> Sign-in options -> Privacy. If the toggle is switched “On,” then the device meets the security requirements.

Here is a screenshot showing ARSO is enabled for a device:

Automatic Restart and Sign On (ARSO) for Enterprises Enabled for a Device under Settings in Window 10 Build 18305

Users can now set a default Task Manager tab by going to Options > Set default tab.

Updated Settings Homepage

Starting with this build, users can now quickly access some most frequently used settings after finishing Windows setup.

A new header located a the top of the Settings home page enable taking quick action for things such as signing in, managing Microsoft account, making Windows and Microsoft experience better, as well as a glance at system status.

Friendly Dates in File Explorer

A new default date format in File Explorer called as “friendly dates,” simplifies date modified column with consistency throughout the OS, apps, and on the web

Here is a screenshot of new friendly dates in File Explorer:

Friendly Dates in File Explorer in Windows 10 Build 18305

Shadows, part of Microsoft’s vision of the evolution of Fluent Design, is back again. Shadows were first introduced with Windows 10 Build 17711.

Now, when a user press WIN+(period) or WIN+(semicolon), in addition to emoji the picker that appears will now include symbols and kaomoji too.

Clipboard history gets a new look with optimized design for text snippets that come with a shrunk height of each entry giving access to more entries without needing to scroll the view.

Copy some text and press Windows logo key + V to check out the updated design.

Here is a full changelog of Build 18305:

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • We fixed an issue resulting in bug checks with error “KERNEL SECURITY CHECK FAILURE” while creating/launching VMs or installing/performing scans with certain AV Apps.
  • We fixed an issue where the Open Folder icon in File Explorer had a white background when using dark theme.
  • We fixed an issue in the previous build where Settings was crashing when opening Speech Settings.
  • We fixed an issue where the Action Center didn’t have an opening animation in the last few flights.
  • We fixed an issue where the activities listed so you could easily pick up where you left off when opening search all had an unexpectedly old timestamp.
  • We fixed an issue where the search box in the taskbar had a truncated dark border in light theme.
  • We fixed a few scenarios that could result in the taskbar unexpectedly becoming transparent.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in taskhostw.exe unexpectedly using a large amount of CPU for a long time.
  • We fixed an issue where Settings would crash when clicking on the “View storage usage on other drives” option under System > Storage in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue where “Delete previous version of Windows” in Configure Storage Sense was not selectable.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Backup unexpectedly failing for some with a message saying the media is write protected (error code 0x80070013).
  • When the Search section is visible in Settings it will now come before Update & Security.
  • We fixed an issue where some pages in Settings had more space at the top than others.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in ☆ and some other characters not appearing correctly in certain text fields.
  • We fixed an issue where the Windows Ink Workspace was using the old Microsoft Store icon.
  • We fixed an issue where the emoji picker might draw partially offscreen if invoked near the bottom of the screen.
  • We fixed an issue where the second line of the input indicator in the taskbar, when shown, wasn’t legible in light theme.
  • We’ve updated our message in the Snipping Tool to include a tip about using WIN+Shift+S to help improve discoverability – thanks folks that suggested this!
  • We fixed an issue where in the Details tab of Task Manager you couldn’t sort by the “Shared GPU memory” column.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in ShellExperienceHost.exe preventing the device from going to sleep with message “A Miracast Session is currently connected.” despite said session having already been disconnected.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous flight where on some systems the High Definition Audio Controller failed to start with Code 10, resulting in no audio from the onboard speakers and microphone.

Known issues

  • The hyperlink colors need to be refined in Dark Mode in Sticky Notes if the Insights are enabled.
  • The Windows Security app may show an unknown status for the Virus & threat protection area, or not refresh properly. This may occur after upgrade, restart, or settings changes.
  • The cmimanageworker.exe process may hang, causing system slowness or higher than normal CPU usage. This can be bypassed by rebooting the machine if it occurs.
  • Launching games that use BattlEye anti-cheat will trigger a bug check (green screen) – we’re investigating.
  • USB printers may appear twice in the Devices and Printers under Control Panel. Reinstalling the printer will resolve the issue.
  • We’re investigating an issue where clicking your account in Cortana Permissions isn’t bringing up the UI to sign out from Cortana (if you were already signed in) for some users in this build.
  • If you’re using Hyper-V and have added an external vSwitch in addition to the default, many UWP apps won’t be able to connect to the internet. Removing the additional vSwitch will resolve this.
  • The Task Scheduler UI may appear blank even though there are scheduled tasks. For now, you’ll need to use the command line if you want to see them.
  • Creative X-Fi sound cards are not functioning properly. We are partnering with Creative to resolve this issue.
  • When attempting to update to build 18305, some S Mode devices will download and restart, but fail the update. We are working on a fix for a future flight.
  • Night Light functionality has been impacted by a new bug in this build. Root cause is underway, and we expect to have this fixed in an upcoming build.
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