Fresh off the heels of Build 22499, Microsoft has just released a new cumulative update for Windows 11, but this time in the Beta and Release Preview channels. Build 22000.346 is essentially a fix dump as it brings forth a plethora of quality of life improvements to Windows 11 while resolving a ton of issues. The only new notable feature in this build is the addition of the new, redesigned Microsoft emojis that we saw in a Dev Channel release several weeks ago.
Windows 11 is still relatively in its infancy so it has various underlying issues and little corners of the OS that still need some love. Hence, we’re getting these huge updates that are almost exclusively bug fixes with some improvements mixed in. This shows that Microsoft is actively listening to user feedback and is eager to make Windows 11 a stable and mature OS as quick as possible.
New Features & Changes
Starting with a notable improvement, the Blue Screen Of Death is back! I know we shouldn’t technically celebrate BSODs, like, ever, but if you remember, the classic blue screen in BSOD had been replaced with a black one in Windows 11. So, now it was a black background with white text instead of the blue, but this build “fixes” that, bringing back the iconic blue background to further haunt your dreams. Yay!
Microsoft had teased redesigned 3D emojis for the longest time before Windows 11’s release and, admittedly, they looked quite attractive. However, users were gutted to find out that those 3D designs had been replaced with flat, 2D icons when Windows 11 released. This caused quite a bit of controversy and Microsoft faced severe backlash for simplifying yet another good-looking design. But, it seems Microsoft is sticking to their guns as the new, 2D emojis (officially named Emoji 13.1) are now rolling out to Beta and Release Preview channels after they debuted in the Dev channel a while ago.
This further solidifies the 2D design choice and indicates that Microsoft is likely doubling down on the flat look. However, Microsoft apps like Teams are still expected to eventually get the 3D emojis since many of those, including Teams, have support for animated emojis. Besides, 3D emojis would cause a lot of compatibility issues across apps anyways since the design is so particularistic and not universal, so perhaps it was better to just opt for 2D emojis to standardize them across Windows. Plus, the new designs are still an astronomical improvement over the old, black-bordered Windows 10 emojis.
Some More Changes
Microsoft has added support for cancellation of daylight saving time for the Republic of Fiji for 2021. A feature has been added that aids in facilitating cross-browser data transfer. Also added has been a notification for Group-Policy-controlled users that clearly tells them that their organization’s policy is managing their location privacy settings. Lastly, you can now chose if you want Focus Assist to automatically turn on for the first hour after a Windows feature update.
Jumping to the bug fixes, there are a couple of highlights here. Firstly, the USB print device issue has been finally patched and now there should be no problems for IPP-based USB printers preventing them from functioning properly after they’ve been plugged in. USB printers using Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) had previously faced issues where drivers for such kind of printers couldn’t be properly installed, leading to the printers not being detected by the system and unable to, well, print. This has been fixed in Build 22000.346.
Moreover, when trying to connect to remote printers on the Windows print servers, you’d get either one of these errors: 0x0000007c (ERROR_INVALID_LEVEL), 0x00000709 (ERROR_INVALID_PRINTER_NAME), 0x000006e4 (RPC_S_CANNOT_SUPPORT). These error codes have been addressed in this release’s bug fixes.
Microsoft Edge Custom Protocol Handler
Another change I’d like to talk about here is about the microsoft-edge: URI scheme. What this protocol handler does is basically make certain websites be exclusively accessible by only Microsoft Edge. Any website with the “microsoft-edge:“prefix would be redirected to be opened in Microsoft Edge if you’re using another default browser on your system. On the bright side, this prefix is limited to only certain Microsoft websites for now.
However, developers like Daniel Aleksandersen (EdgeDeflector) had created ways to circumvent this restriction. So, even websites with the Edge prefix would be able to open in your favorite browser without any problem with the help of these tools. Well, it seems that Microsoft wasn’t exactly ecstatic about this as this functionality is being completely removed in this build. You’ll no longer be able to use, at least, pre-existing tools to bypass Microsoft’s custom protocol handler.
Even More Bug Fixes
An issue that caused an unexpected “bag image” error dialog box to pop up has also been fixed in this update. Moreover, an issue that caused flash drives such as SD cards and some USB devices to not appear in the Defragment and Optimize Drives menu. Now, previously-affected devices should show up as normal. Another important bug fix addressed in this build pertains to startups where your device wouldn’t start up and become unresponsive due to licensing API calls. This should be fixed in today’s build.
There are a ton of additional bug fixes pertaining to OS freezes, fonts, displays, connectivity, performance, security, and more that have been addressed in this build, but it’d be exhaustive to go over all of them in this article. If you are interested in checking out the full list, you can visit the Microsoft Blog and take a look yourself. As always, don’t forget to leave feedback if any of these bug fixes affect you in any way so Microsoft knows they’ve done something right… or wrong, could be either way.