In October 2021, Windows experienced a series of new updates as part of Microsoft's monthly tradition called "Patch Tuesday." They will consist mostly of the same few issues we have encountered before such as the printer spool issues and the notorious driver issues. However, this time, Microsoft has also chosen to bring its internet browser into the mix amongst many other things.
As such, let's explore all the new things introduced in October 2021's Patch Tuesday
1. The Microsoft Edge Updates
Since its launch back in January 2020, Microsoft Edge announced some fantastic new features and quickly rose through the ranks of elite web browsers.
With the latest October update, the developers decided to add some new elements that will make it easier for users to navigate through tabs.
Usually, you would simultaneously press Ctrl + Tab to scroll through tabs. On the other hand, it is also common practice for a Windows user to sift through apps using Alt + Tab. The problem here is that sometimes this can create a mental block; with some users accidentally using one for the other.
The new update removes this indecisiveness by allowing you to shuffle through apps as well as tabs on Microsoft Edge using Alt + Tab.
Furthermore, users will now be able to pin their favorite websites to the taskbar allowing easy access, bypassing the web browser formalities, and saving time in the process.
Move your cursor to the three dots on the top-right corner of your Microsoft Edge browser, and select More Tools from the drop-down list. Here, select Pin to taskbar.
2. Revamping the Start Menu and the Taskbar
The start menu has been changed; however, only to the extent of its color scheme. It now has a more streamlined design with all icons having the same light tone color to go easy on the eyes.
The menu itself is more transparent than before allowing you to see what’s in the background and delivering a more immersive experience overall.
However, if you want to spice things up, you can always go back and personalize app icon colors to fit your taste. This is a simple process: all you have to do is go to Settings > Personalization > Color and you’re set.
Another feature of the update is the addition of a small app icon on all notifications. This will allow you to seamlessly make sense of any new notification that pops up.
The X mark on the notifications is also slightly bigger to make it easier to stay focused on the task at hand; a small addition but very helpful nonetheless.
The taskbar has been fine-tuned and is now customizable to the user’s liking. The taskbar now has less clutter and only displays apps in use and other hot bar apps. The difference is a minor one but it stacks up with the other performance updates to give you a better experience.
3. Adobe Updates
This month, there have also been some new updates from third-party apps. The foremost among them is Adobe; it has released a series of updates that address certain vulnerabilities in its programs.
Thankfully, all of the threats that it managed to identify and neutralize were classified as mild to moderate level threats. Still, exploitation could cause arbitrary codes to be executed in the context of another user; this just grants an extra layer of protection.
4. MysterySnail Exploits and Other Vulnerability Patches
As is custom with these updates, this month Microsoft has addressed 71 vulnerabilities; several of which were zero-day vulnerabilities. This can be very detrimental and has only increased this month; with the successive series of attacks being dubbed the Mystery Snail Exploits.
A freshly discovered remote access trojan (RAT), MysterySnail is capable of stealing and collecting system information from compromised servers.
It also allows other malicious users control over the affected system, even letting them launch further attacks. It attacks not only the newly launched Windows 11, but also Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and other Windows Servers.
After receiving reports about this vulnerability, Microsoft protected the Windows OS against these MysterySnail attacks by patching them up in the October 2021 Patch Tuesday.
5. Windows 11 Updates
This month also saw the release of the first set of updates for the Windows 11 operating system. Most of the line-up was textbook security updates that made the system secure.
Microsoft also ironed out some of the compatibility issues the OS was having with Intel and Dell’s optimization software. In addition to the improved colors and boosted frame rate, the update addressed minor performance problems.
6. Miscellaneous Updates
Along with the several new enhancements that Microsoft added to improve user experience, it has also taken this opportunity to address some other issues that people have been facing.
Firstly, they fixed an issue with the DNS Cache that made the CPU usage rise to 100% utilization. This created a problem for a few users whose PC wasn’t up to the task.
Also, another bug that caused the device to suddenly stop working and that caused apps to crash for seemingly no reason has been rectified.
The cumulative updates also fixed a problem that caused some users to not be able to attach an input file on Microsoft Outlook Add-in after they selected the Reply button.
An issue that caused the stylus to malfunction was also addressed; many users complained that their pens would stop functioning randomly. The latency issue, the delay when the pen touches the screen and when it registers on the screen, was also improved.
A Jack of All Trades Deal
As we know, these updates roll out on the second Tuesday of every month and are worth keeping an eye on; especially with many zero-day exploits growing rampant. All in all, this month’s line-up of updates was packed; keeping Windows 10 as well as Windows 11 as safe as possible.
Just remember to pause your updates before Windows automatically installs the latest update on its schedule. Backing up your files before scheduling an update for your Windows PC is the safest route to take.