Microsoft has opened a new front in its war on passwords with the release of Windows 10 test build 17713.
Windows 10 users can already log into their PCs with Windows Hello, Microsoft’s biometric technology, provided they have compatible equipment such as specialized face-scanning cameras and fingerprint readers.
In the next major Windows 10 feature update, due sometime in this fall, the operating system will allow business users to log into remote desktop sessions using their faces or fingerprints.
The feature requires users to have their identities established in Azure Active Directory or Active Directory, and get set up with Windows Hello for Business, which uses two-factor authentication to enhance account security for corporate users.
“Because you signed using Windows Hello for Business, Windows remembers how you signed in and automatically selects Windows Hello for Business to authenticate you to your RDP [Remote Desktop Protocol] session but you can click More choices to choose alternate credentials,” explained Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider early-access program, and senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc, in a blog post.
Microsoft is also introducing a new login feature for local Windows 10 PCs called Web Sign-in. It enables users of non-ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) identity services to securely access their systems. For shared PCs, there is a new Fast Sign-in feature, which as its name implies, slashes the time it takes to log into a PC with multiple user accounts.
On the security front, Windows Defender Application Guard includes a new interface that eases the management of the threat isolation technology. Users of standalone implementations can now make changes without tinkering with the operating system’s registry. On systems managed by enterprise policies, users can consult the interface to check their settings and get a better understanding of how their systems are protected.
Notepad Learns New Tricks
Notepad, the venerable text editor that ships with Windows, has learned also some new tricks.
The find/replace function in Notepad now includes a wrap-around feature that allows users to continue their search after the document ends. It also automatically populates the find field with highlighted text and can store information on a previous search and its selected options.
Users tired of squinting at Notepad pages can now use the application’s native new text zooming feature, which is accessible through the View menu or by using keyboard shortcuts and the Ctrl + Mouse Wheel action. Microsoft also added line numbers to the word-wrap viewing mode and has sped up the application’s performance when opening large files.
Microsoft Edge gains new controls that allow users to set the browser’s auto-play options on a per-website basis. They can also now find definitions of highlighted words in the browser’s reading view, books and PDF rendering modes.
Meanwhile, the latest Windows Server 2019 preview build is available for download. And while it may be light on new features, it does include one important new addition, Hyper-V Server. Build 17709 also brings with it improvements to the reliability and scalability of containers that use group managed service accounts while accessing network resources.