A Tale of Two Kernels

Insiders are the millions who represent the billions – Dona Sarkar

This is absolutely true. Each and every Windows Insider out there is an individual who represents not only themselves, but also – to varying degrees – countless others who don’t participate in this amazing program. One area where the Windows Insider Program excels is in gathering broad coverage on the holistic Windows experience. We receive feedback and insights on every aspect of the OS – from app usage and core OS functionality, to usability and accessibility, from each of the primary languages around the globe. Windows Insiders represent the world in a microcosm.

One of the things we as a team have learned along the way is that at times the voice of one or two Insiders can be representative of hundreds of Windows users. Or thousands. Or even hundreds of thousands. Data from a handful of Insiders can truly be the “needle in a haystack” we’re often looking for while trying to squash bugs during a development cycle. The fun and challenging part of our work is when a small number of users – even just one or two – report an issue. Is this signal weak? Did so few people experience this issue that only one or two found a unique scenario (commonly referred to as a single-user or one-off issue), or is it because these users are a tiny number representing the proverbial tip of a “bug iceberg?”  How do we tell the difference between these two categories?

The Tale of a Blue Screen (Well, Two Actually)

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. It’s mid-December 2016. We’ve released Build 14986 for PC to Insiders in the Fast ring. Users are installing and giving feedback and all seems well as we head into the end of the year. Fast forward a few weeks into the beginning of January 2017. Build 15002 was released. The Engineering team is taking in Insider feedback, reviewing bugs, and as usual, we’re chatting with Insiders on Twitter. As part of these conversations, a tweet comes across like so many others. One user seems to be having an issue installing the new build:

Together we go through various troubleshooting steps, we work with the user so that feedback gets filed, and we wait until the next build to see if it was an issue only for this user. About a week after 15002 was released, another build was shared out to the Fast ring for PC users, build 15007. Unfortunately for this user, it’s the same situation yet again:

Same user, same problem, but still only one report that landed in front of us.

A Blue Screen by Any Other Name

Fast forward a bit to early February. We’re doing the second #WinBugBash for the Windows 10 Creators Update and a new error appears from another Insider who is frustrated with not being able to update and participate.

Well this is interesting. Another single-user issue of being stuck on 14986, but a very different error message. We work through all the usual troubleshooting steps, we ensure that feedback gets filed, and we test through a few more releases on the chance that any potential changes in the OS end up solving this issue. These steps didn’t resolve the issue.

As we work on this issue over the course of a few weeks, the frustration begins to set in for these two users. On our side, we’re still pouring through the data. How do we fix this issue? Why is it so hard to diagnose? And why aren’t other users reporting this? If this was an OS issue, there should be more than one person hitting each of these errors. And if it was the same issue as the PTE_Misuse error from the first user, why aren’t both machines showing the same error? The one thing in common here is that both users are stuck on 14986 and haven’t been able to update to any new builds since then. Something is wrong and we need to tackle this from a different angle. It’s time to put a new strategy in place.

Comparing Notes

It’s March 1st, I have two unresolved issues, and I haven’t been able to make headway for these Insiders. Pulling out all the stops, I loop both users into a private conversation via Twitter DM. It’s time to crush these issues once and for all. I’ve talked extensively with the Deployment team here at Microsoft, but there’s no actionable data in the setup error logs. All that we know is there’s a failure and it’s early enough in the update process that no telemetry is being captured. All signs point to a kernel-level failure, but we don’t know exactly what is happening.

Sometimes taking drastic actions can have surprising results. After starting the private conversation, both users share their system information data and immediately we see a connection:

DM Note 1

Now we have something to work with! Deeper investigation and additional hardware comparison shows that both users are running the near-exact laptops, both laptops being from the same manufacturer, and both with the same processor. The only notable difference is the amount of RAM in each machine (8GB and 12GB). At last we have a link! But even with this commonality, we can’t resolve the issue without seeing what’s going on. It’s time for kernel debugging, but neither user has done this before, and neither have I. There’s always time to learn something new though, and that’s part of what makes the Windows Insider Program fun.

Cracking the Issue

I could spend pages of writing detailing what happened over the month of March and early April, but I’ll sum it up in a few bullets:

  • I shared instructions with Tony and he set up a kernel debugger. We noticed that the failure happened before the debugger could grab anything during the boot process. The effort dead-ended on his machine.
  • I did some research and found another laptop from a different manufacturer with the same processor.  I set up a kernel debugger and tried to reproduce the issue. The issue didn’t appear. This points us to viewing this bug as being specific to the OEM (manufacturer) of the laptops these two users have.
  • We engage with the OEM and kick off a full investigation. The OEM tested the failure scenario on a variety of laptops and could reproduce the issue. This was reassuring that we were on the right path, but we still had to root cause the bug.
  • Several weeks of investigation and hypothesis testing ensued. Nearly 50 emails and countless investigation hours later between the OEM and Microsoft, our combined triage team found the issue.

It turned out that a BIOS update released by the OEM in late November for this family of laptop models would fail to allow newer preview builds of Windows 10 to install. The failure was so early in the boot process that none of our log gathering tools would capture the failure, including a standard kernel debugger. Now that we knew the full scope of the problem, we could begin to work on a fix.

Once the OEM had prepared an updated BIOS for these machines, it was time to test. The OEM completed a full range of testing and validation on their side. But what about the two Insiders who had helped tirelessly to help us troubleshoot? It was time to thank them. Once again partnering with this OEM, the updated BIOS that had been prepared was delivered securely to these two Insiders. Both users installed the new BIOS and then attempted to install build 15063. At last… success!  The BIOS update solved the issue and had fully resolved the update issue for these two users.

An Interesting Side-Note

From of all of this, it’s funny to look back and realize that we had accidentally found the issue back at the beginning of March and not even realized it.While the noted timing of the BIOS update was slightly off (Brent had updated in December), this bit of conversation captured the problem:

DM Note 2

Build 15002 hadn’t been released when each of these users had taken the BIOS update. Both users had installed build 14986 and then installed the BIOS that was now causing problems. Sometimes it’s best to trust your instincts, and it is always important to pay attention to all the details, but I digress from our story.

Learning an Important Lesson or Two (Actually, Three)

After fully detailing the scope of the issue and identifying all possible laptop models from this OEM that could be affected by the issue, we put a block in place to prevent affected retail users across the globe from attempting to install the Windows 10 Creators Update and hitting this upgrade failure. Months of hard work and investigation had helped protect users from a failed OS upgrade experience. The work of two dedicated Windows Insiders helped prevent potentially hundreds of thousands of failed OS upgrades and frustrated users. These two users and their feedback helped others from across the world to keep from using their internet bandwidth (which can be extremely expensive depending on locale) to download an upgrade they wouldn’t be able to install. We listened to Insider feedback and understood there was something bigger here, even if there were the only two people reporting the issue.

Windows Insiders are an amazing bunch of people. They like to learn, they like to explore new features and functionality, and with just as much importance, they like to poke around and find bugs. It’s this nature of curiosity that helps us continually make Windows even better. Another important lesson we learned from this experience is in highlighting the various layers of software that are at play in making a PC work properly. The initial thoughts from the affected users was that we had regressed (broken) functionality at the OS-level. As it turned out in this scenario, it was the OEM firmware that was the culprit of the regression. The software creation process is complex and fraught with ways to create potentially unexpected results (a polite way of saying “bugs”!). Anyone who writes software wants to create a good product and a positive end-user experience. To help with the troubleshooting process in the future, we’ll be creating an additional series of documentation; some will highlight the various layers of software and how they work, as other docs will lay out the foundation of engaging in troubleshooting and some of the related best practices. We’re committed to helping Insiders learn just as much as we’re committed to learning from Insiders.

Lastly, this overall scenario was an important reminder to us on the Windows Insider Engineering Team. Seeking to increase the diversity of hardware and application usage will be an even-greater focal point of the Windows Insider Program as we move forward. Seeing two Insiders represent so many retail users was a profound moment. We’re already working through ways to identify additional scenarios such as this and working to give them the attention they so greatly deserve. It will be an ongoing effort, but we are committed to this program and to listening to our greatest fans who take the time to share their insights and feedback. Knowing how important it is for the millions (of Insiders) to represent the billions (of Windows users), we also know it is just as important for the two who represent the hundreds of thousands. You never know if you may be the one user, or one of a small handful of users, whose feedback and dedication ends up being responsible for helping so many others.

This tale of two kernels is an expression of my unending gratitude to the dedication of every Windows Insider who helps make a difference every day. Without your efforts, this program would not be the success it is.

– Jason

Surface Hub more powerful with Windows 10 Creators Update

In the past 14 months since we began shipping Surface Hub, the response we’ve seen from businesses globally has been astounding. Today, over half of Fortune 100 companies have purchased Surface Hubs to improve how their teams inspire and collaboratebreaking down barriers and creating real business value.

Today, we’ve taken another leap towards improving collaboration in the workplace by rolling out Windows 10 Creators Update for Surface Hub.

The Creators Update is the culmination of months of listening to feedback of our best customers and includes a litany of great features and tools to help teams better create. My favorites: the amazing new Microsoft Whiteboard App that allows real-time collaborative inking across devices, deeper integration with a person’s individual authenticated Office 365 documents and new manageability and security tools to help keep your information safe.

Let’s take a deeper look at what is under the hood of Windows 10 Creators Update for Surface Hub:

The Amazing Microsoft Whiteboard

As you might have seen from us on stage in Shanghai, there is a litany of inking innovation coming to the Microsoft Whiteboard app on Windows 10, such as intelligent digital inking, geometry recognition, table conversion and automatic table shading. Microsoft Whiteboard will come first to Surface Hub starting in mid-June as an app update, with the vision to bring it to more Windows 10 devices later this year (including the Surface Studio and Surface Pro) with exclusive capabilities for Office 365 subscribers.

Real-time collaborative coauthoring in Whiteboard – which enables teams to ink with each other in real time across Surface Hub devices – for lack of a better term: is magic. Additional Microsoft Whiteboard features include new inking tools, awesome ink effects as well as more ways to integrate existing content into the whiteboard canvas to create the ultimate digital workspace. Stay tuned for more as Whiteboard comes to more Windows 10 devices.

With the new Microsoft Whiteboard App, teams around the world can visually collaborate in real time with intelligent digital ink.

With the new Microsoft Whiteboard App, teams around the world can visually collaborate in real time with intelligent digital ink.

Single sign-on and deeper integration with Office 365

We’ve made Surface Hub more personal by adding the ability for people to sign-in to their Office 365 account from the welcome screen or the updated start menu. This essentially turns Surface Hub into your personal Windows 10 device, and allows you to navigate quickly to Office 365 apps and cloud-saved content including:

  • Content stored in your OneDrive
  • Most recently used (MRU) documents panels inside Office applications like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Integration with Microsoft Teams, which can be accessed today via the Edge browser
Improved Welcome Screen makes it easier than ever to find your meeting and get started on Surface Hub.

Improved Welcome Screen makes it easier than ever to find your meeting and get started on Surface Hub.

Improved Office 365 integration makes it easier than ever to access your important documents, making the Surface Hub your own PC while in the meeting you scheduled.

Improved Office 365 integration makes it easier than ever to access your important documents, making the Surface Hub your own PC while in the meeting you scheduled.

Enhanced audio, Miracast, and Skype experiences

I love my Surface Hub meetings because they feel as natural as being in the same room with the team. To create that sense of being in the same room the audio experience is critical. To ensure Surface Hub has the best possible audio experience, we worked with the audio masters at Dolby to optimize the audio experience for human speech.

Other updates include improved Miracast projection to make it faster and more reliable.

Skype controls have been simplified too, making it quicker and easier to call, message and share content with remote participants. Now you can easily scroll through the scheduled meetings on the welcome screen with the new meetings carousel and see who’s been invited to each meeting before you join.

Now it’s easier than ever to collaborate with colleagues via the improved Skype experience on Surface Hub.

Now it’s easier than ever to collaborate with colleagues via the improved Skype experience on Surface Hub.

New manageability and security features

Security and privacy of data are of the upmost importance to us. To ensure what happens in your meeting stays in the meeting, we’ve added several security and manageability features in the latest round of updates including:

  • The ability to set Surface Hub to wipe all data at the end of each session by default;
  • The option to require BitLocker encryption for USB ports to prevent malware and other security threats;
  • Support for additional Mobile Device Management (MDM) features, so IT administrators can change settings remotely; and
  • Support for two-factor authentication, to enable users to approve an authentication request easily on their companion device.

And more…

We are now also offering a 5-year Extended Hardware Service for Surface Hub to match the business-critical value our customers are placing on their investment.

Meeting experiences and process transformation enabled by Surface Hub will continue to evolve with a growing pipeline of Windows 10 apps built with Surface Hub in mind, including newcomers AirServer, and SAP Digital Boardroom, plus apps that work great on the Edge browser, such as iObeya.

The team is incredibly passionate about helping people be more productive and bring their ideas to life. We believe the best work is done through engaged teams. People who get together, challenge each other, and work together to accomplish so much more than they would have working independently.

Our goal is that these improvements and continued innovation and investments will help people around the world collaborate and create in innovative ways. It’s truly never been a better time to purchase Surface Hub!

Find out more about Surface Hub and the Windows 10 Creators Update on the Surface Hub update history page and the Support Site.

Thanks,

Ryan

For a deeper dive into the Windows 10 Creators Update coming to Surface Hub, click here:

*Requires OneDrive for Business

Microsoft shows partner innovation with Always-Connected PCs, MR and IoT at Computex 2017

Computex, Asia’s largest IT trade show, is always an exciting event for Microsoft. We see the OEM and ODM ecosystem come together with over 40,000 visitors and 1,600 exhibitors on new technologies and business relationships. This year, it is inspiring to launch partners’ innovative devices with Windows 10. Beyond the PC market, these partners are also driving emerging categories like the Internet of things and mixed reality. The Microsoft booth at Computex displays the latest in device and solution innovation and gives people hands-on time with the latest technologies.

This year I had the pleasure of taking the keynote stage with Nick Parker, CVP, consumer and device sales and Matt Barlow, CVP, Windows marketing to talk about how Microsoft is ‘Building the Possible’ with our partners.

Our announcements included:

  • Debut of numerous modern devices from top partners,
  • OEM and Operator commitments to deliver Always Connected PCs,
  • Windows Mixed Reality progress on the road to launch later this year, and
  • Windows and Azure IoT solutions in key verticals like manufacturing and utilities.

We talked about our efforts to inspire customers with new Windows experiences and devices, to help grow the ecosystem, and to bring new categories to life.

Diverse Windows Mixed Reality Headset designs

Last year at Computex, Terry Myerson and Alex Kipman invited partners to join us in building devices that merge physical and virtual realities. Since then we have seen Windows Mixed Reality Headsets from partners like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

At the show this year, we are able to show off the great new designs from these partners making mixed reality available for everyone later this year. These headsets, coming to market this holiday, use Microsoft’s platform to enable a single and consistent user interface, standardized inputs, and a universal app platform for developers.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset

Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset

HP Windows Mixed Reality headset

HP Windows Mixed Reality headset

During Alex Kipman’s Build keynote, we announced that Windows Mixed Reality dev kits from Acer and HP are now available for pre-order through the Microsoft Store for developers in the US (Acer, HP) and Canada (Acer, HP). The response to these dev kits has been positive and we look forward to seeing all the great content that our development ecosystem will create.

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset

ASUS Windows Mixed Reality headset

As a leading gaming and innovation partner, ASUS is expanding on its prowess into the fast emerging mixed reality category. In addition to its Oculus-Ready ROG gaming desktops and VR-Ready VivoPC X, ASUS will be adding a futuristic head-mount device with a unique polygonal 3D cover panel, designed with comfortable ergonomically adjustable strap, enabling an easy one-hand setup. ASUS is engaged with Microsoft to make this HMD fast, powerful, and ultra-light with a six degrees of freedom (DOF) tracked motion controller, for an incredible, immersive MR experience.

Dell Windows Mixed Reality headset

Dell Windows Mixed Reality headset

Dell is building on their Virtual Reality (VR) leadership in premium gaming and professional creation by partnering with Microsoft to deliver an affordable consumer headset, which will bring mixed reality experiences to a broad audience. Dell’s stylish white headset is uniquely focused on user comfort, designed by the same team that crafts their premium XPS and Alienware PCs. The Dell headset, which will be available by holiday, is thoughtfully designed for comfort and convenience with innovations such as comfortable cushions that can be replaced for a personalized experience, weight balanced headband centered on the user’s head for long-term comfort, cable routing to free the user from dangling wires and, a flip-up visor for easy wearing and removing.

Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality headset

Lenovo Windows Mixed Reality headset

Lenovo is partnering with Microsoft to bring this amazing technology to everyone through an incredibly affordable mixed reality headset for truly immersive, beyond-the-screen mixed reality experiences. Coming later this year, Lenovo’s mixed reality headset will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out tracking and simplified set-up to let users move around more easily as they experience virtual worlds.

Internet of things solutions are coming in key verticals

Businesses, governments, and academic institutions are harnessing the internet of things (IoT) to drive business forward. With Windows 10 IoT core on devices, Azure IoT, Cortana analytics, and business intelligence, Microsoft is providing a consistent, end-to-end platform that enables partners to build enterprise-grade, IoT solutions for customers.

IoT is about more than a device connected to the cloud, it is really about a multitude of devices, connected together, to deliver insights. In the Microsoft booth, my colleague Mike Quinn showed journalists “a Day in the Life with IoT,” and how these devices work together. For example, the Airbox device collects and reports data on air quality metrics like temperature and humidity and displays the analytics on a dashboard. While in the restaurant scenario there is digital signage, a digital price board, a kiosk for self-ordering, and a robot which makes product recommendations based on historic order information.

New “Always Connected PCs” allow constant connectivity

There is a new generation of users that need to be connected to the cloud at all times. They are students, creators, freelancers, small businesses, and enterprises.  This means sharing experiences across screens and leveraging the latest network technology like gigabit LTE and eSIM. We are collaborating with our ecosystem on a shared vision. This starts with a close partnership at the silicon layer, with Intel and Qualcomm and with our mobile operator partners to provide seamless eSIM connectivity. Microsoft device partners ASUS, HP, Huawei, Lenovo, VAIO, and Xiaomi, are committed to this new category of Always Connected PCs using eSIM technology. In addition, Microsoft announced Always Connected devices will be coming from ASUS, HP, and Lenovo on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. These new devices will feature Windows 10, always-on LTE connectivity and great battery life.

New, innovative Windows 10 PCs

By far, my favorite part of the show every year is seeing the latest devices from our partners come to market. Partners like Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Huawei have all brought beautiful new thin and slim laptops, ruggedized tablets, 2-in-1’s and gaming PCs to market in recent weeks. Here are a few announced here at Computex:

Acer’s new Nitro 5 series and its latest Spin 1 convertible notebook

With Acer’s new Nitro 5 series, gamers can choose from a variety of configurations that feature popular graphics and processors to meet different budgets and needs. Dual fans with Acer Coolboost technology deliver heightened fan speeds and cooling ability, and allows users to manually control the cooling process when heavy use requires an added boost.

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The latest version of Acer’s Spin 1 convertible notebook features a sleek metal chassis and vibrant Full-HD display. It comes with Windows 10, and is lightweight, portable and supports Windows Ink through an Acer Active Stylus for creative users on the go.

ASUS brings new thin and light PCs and gaming devices to market

This week, ASUS introduced a line-up of thin-and-light ZenBook and VivoBook laptops that push the boundaries of design and technology to deliver the ultimate mobile computing experiences. The new laptop line-up includes support for many new Windows 10 features — including Windows Ink, Windows Hello, Cortana, and Modern Standby — that boost productivity and gives users an amazing computing experience. Also unveiled at their ROG event here in Taipei was the long-awaited ROG Zephyrus. Zephyrus is the world’s slimmest gaming laptop powered by a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and the latest NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 graphics. Zephyrus features the Windows 10 Creators Update, which improves the performance of PC games via the all-new Windows Game Mode, and makes it easier to perform native game-streaming with Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming service.

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Dell’s new Inspiron AIOs and gaming desktop  

Dell’s new line-up includes the Inspiron 27 7000 AIO, the Inspiron 24 5000 AIO and the new Inspiron Gaming Desktop – the first gaming desktop to join Dell’s expanding Inspiron Gaming line-up. The new systems boast Dell’s iconic virtually borderless InfinityEdge display technology for a beautiful viewing experience – available for the first time on the Inspiron AIO line – and “Ready for VR” configurations which are capable of delivering immersive experiences through high-end VR headsets. Both new AIO devices are equipped with Windows Hello for one look login and Cortana for far-field speech recognition.

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Lenovo’s new V720 designed for small business

The digital transformation is your stepping-stone to the technologies of the future. Enabling employees to realize the benefits of digital transformation requires computing devices that offer power, flexibility, durability and mobility.

It was exciting for me to announce on stage a new commercial device from Lenovo. Thin and light and with an industry leading 77% screen proportion, the new Lenovo V720 is powered by the latest Intel processors and includes next-gen features like Microsoft Hello and Cortana. USB-C Thunderbolt and discrete NVIDIA graphics will help end-users leverage digital technologies to match the pace of business transformation.

MSI Promises the “Next Gaming Dimension”

MSI displayed this week high-end Windows gaming devices. This includes its refreshed gaming laptop rosters: the GT75VR, GS63/73VR, GE63/73VR series and the very latest X299 GAMING M7 ACK, X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC, X299 TOMAHAWK motherboard. In its booth, they also showed the beefy Infinite A and Trident Arctic gaming desktops, and gaming accessories like the Clutch GM70 gaming mouse, Vigor GK80 gaming keyboard along with Core Frozr XL CPU cooler.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 Pro

I also had the privilege of showing for the first time, Samsung’s new 2017 Notebook 9 Pro which allows users to easily switch between typing on the keyboard, write with their intuitive S Pen, and navigate the brilliant touchscreen. Its slim and lightweight design is for those who are always on the go and need a portable, yet powerful device.

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This year, more than ever, we’re seeing new devices in emerging categories truly changing the market. From mixed reality headsets coming at highly affordable price points and connected IoT-enabled devices enabling consumers and businesses to achieve more to new “Always Connected PC’s” powered by eSIM technology, the opportunities for partners to bring new types of devices to life has never been greater.

A thriving ecosystem

All of these devices and new categories create business opportunities for our partners. From new business models like dynamic store bundling and cloud to expanding the ecosystem into new areas like head-mounted displays and motion controllers for mixed reality, our platforms are creating new opportunities for partners.

Our partners push the envelope in gaming experiences. They deliver affordable devices for education. They bring to market devices that light up Windows 10 experiences. Through this thriving ecosystem of partners, new categories come to life.

I’m very excited for the year ahead and for how this ecosystem works together to build the possible.

Everspace 1.0 now available on Windows 10 and Xbox One

It has been a very long road to release since we started development on Everspace more than two years ago, and it’s hard to believe the day is finally upon us. Truly an exciting time for everyone here at Rockfish Games and for space game enthusiasts. The greatest addition coming with the full release is the long-awaited campaign, including missions, cinematic flashbacks, and fully-voiced cutscenes (in English and German) with text localization available for more than 10 languages including French, Chinese, and Spanish.

Everspace now on Windows 10 and Xbox One

As all players who have played Everspace in Game Preview have already experienced, the hero finds himself clueless in the cockpit of a space fighter at the beginning of the game. After completing basic pilot training, the peculiar onboard AI provides sometimes useful contextual information about the game world and its lore. Now in the full version, you’ll gradually unveil the mystery behind the hero’s existence and your mission through character encounters and cinematic memory flashbacks.

In the completely revamped final sector, you must survive an all-new boss fight that will provide the last piece of the campaign puzzle. But this will not be the end of the game. There’s still an important objective to accomplish to reach the final destination of your journey — no more spoilers beyond this point!

For the full release, you can also look forward to a great set of Achievements and some further surprises that we got up our sleeves. So look for Everspace if you’re up for a narrative-driven roguelike space shooter in a procedurally-generated universe full of surprises, and head over to Xbox Wire to learn more!

Windows 10 Tip: Manage music playback on your favorite music apps with Cortana

With Cortana, it’s easier to stay on top of your schedule, your commitments, and all the important things you need to remember to keep your day running smoothly. And now, with the Windows 10 Creators Update, you can use Cortana to control music playback on more of your favorite music apps.*

Here’s how to get started:

First, make sure Groove is enabled by going to the Music tab in the Cortana Notebook.

Groove supports the ability to play music by mood, category or activity so you can say, “Hey Cortana, play me some workout music.”

Groove now supports the ability to play music by mood, category or activity so you can say, “Hey Cortana, play me some workout music.”**

Groove supports the ability to play music by mood, category or activity so you can say, “Hey Cortana, play me some workout music.”

We’ve also enabled natural language compatibility for the iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio apps. This will work both above the lock screen (when your PC is locked) as well as below!**

Try saying things like:

  • Play Drake on iHeartRadio
  • Play Top 40 on iHeartRadio
  • Play NPR Hourly News on TuneIn
  • Play jazz music on TuneIn
  • Play Z100 on iHeartRadio
  • Play KUOW on TuneIn

And, if you are wondering about what song is playing, just say “Hey Cortana, what’s playing?” and Cortana will find the answer for you.

Have a great week!

*Cortana available in select markets; this feature available in US only
**Requires Groove subscription