This Week on Windows: Ultimate Game Sale, customize your desktop and more

We hope you enjoyed today’s episode of This Week on Windows! Check out our Windows 10 Tip on how to personalize your PC with themes in the Windows Store; head over here for more on the Ultimate Game Sale, beginning Friday, June 30; read all about the biometric identity ring that works with Windows Hello; get better viewing with Sling TV Cloud DVR, now for Windows 10 – and keep reading for what’s new in the Windows Store.

In case you missed it:

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Pinball FX3 coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One this summer

Pinball FX3

Pinball FX has a long and storied history on Xbox Live, having released in the early days of Xbox LIVE Arcade in July 2010 (almost 7 years ago!). Now the time has come to evolve the Pinball FX2 platform, with Pinball FX3: the biggest, most community-driven pinball game ever created. New single-player modes have been developed that will help make players develop their skills and perform better, and you can bring the majority of your previous PFX2 purchases to PFX3 at no charge. Head over to Xbox Wire to read more, and keep an eye on pinballfx.com for news and updates!

Here’s what’s new in the Windows Store this week:

Spartan Jerome-092 and Arbiter Ripa ‘Moramee clash in Halo Wars 2 on Windows 10 and Xbox One

Two iconic figures from the Halo Wars series return to the forefront in the latest downloadable content for Halo Wars 2: the Icons of War pack. First up is Commander Jerome-092, Spartan-II super soldier and leader of Red Team aboard the UNSC Spirit of Fire. Next is the deadly and merciless Arbiter Ripa ‘Moramee, who may not have survived his stint as the primary antagonist of the first game, but arrives in Halo Wars 2 with loads of resentment and zero Regret. Both Jerome-092 and Arbiter Ripa ‘Moramee are available as part of the Halo Wars 2 Season Pass, or available for individual purchase at $5.99 USD each. You can also purchase a special 2-pack version that includes both Leaders for $9.99 USD. As always, new Halo Wars 2 content will continue to come in the months ahead, so follow @Halo and stay tuned to Halo Waypoint and Xbox Wire for the latest info. See you on the battlefield!

Killer Instinct

 A new warrior comes to Killer Instinct in this latest update.

A new warrior comes to Killer Instinct ($4.99) in this latest update. For Aria, Eagle is the most valuable being on the planet. His ability to commune with and influence all forms of life, including machines, holds the key to her total destruction. Now, set free after years of imprisonment in Aria’s dream world, Eagle returns to restore balance to the Earth.

Fate of the Furious

Fate of the Furious, available now in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store.

When a mysterious woman draws Dom into her world of crime in Fate of the Furious, his friends will crisscross the globe to stop her and bring back the man who made them a family. Own the latest installment in this blockbuster franchise two weeks before Blu-ray, available now in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store. Plus, for a limited time, purchase Fate of the Furious and get a free in-game item for the Rocket League game on Xbox One!

Preacher Season 2 – Buy from $22.99

Preacher Season 2 now in the Windows Store

Preacher ($24.99 HD, $22.99 SD) is back for a thrilling second season as Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy set out on a road trip to find God and get caught up in an epic battle spanning Heaven, Hell and humanity. Watch the season premiere of this twisted comedic drama now in in the Movies & TV section of the Windows Store!

Have a great weekend!

Windows Hello in Token, a biometric ring

Token, a biometric ring

There’s a good chance you’ve received an email today saying, “Congratulations, you’ve won!” or that “Your friend has tagged a photo of you” on a social networking site and you need to check it out now. Online schemes often shift from technical to social, and you don’t need to be a tech guru to know that there are bad guys out there trying to compromise your identity.

Our online identities are presented and verified hundreds of times each day as we navigate documents, apps, services and websites. Establishing trusted identities is how a web-based economy functions, and criminals know it. What’s more, passwords can be a hassle, and most of us don’t create strong passwords or follow the best practice of maintaining a different password for every site. Often times, we create easy-to-remember passwords and typically use the same passwords across all of our accounts.

Studies show more than 80 percent of people use the same password across multiple web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts. When the same password is used across several sites, compromising one account can expose many others to abuse. Log in credentials are such an important layer in securing your device because malicious actors can use social engineering, phishing, or keylogging techniques to steal passwords from your device, or compromise the server where the passwords are stored.

Protecting identities while simultaneously empowering people to be productive requires solutions that are engineered from the ground up to work together. At Microsoft, our approach to multi-factor authentication is a combination of a device and a second factor, say a PIN or a biometric signature, you create on the device. So it requires something you have as well as something unique only you know or have.

Microsoft designed Windows Hello to help enable people to move to a password alternative that is fast and has enterprise-grade security from the online threats and we’re thrilled to work with Token to make the Windows Hello experience even better. With its simple design, Token – a biometric identity ring changing the way you prove and protect your identity by streamlining the process of authentication throughout your day – logs you into Windows 10 seamlessly in a way that feels natural and familiar.

We’re excited to continue working with our partners like Token to make Windows devices and people’s online experiences more secure. Embracing new innovations like this one, we are continually fostering a vibrant ecosystem of partners across the industry who are committed to working together to make life harder for the bad guys, and easier for you.

Delivering the Modern IT promise with Windows 10

Our goal with Windows 10 has always been to modernize the way IT interacts with Windows devices, adopting simpler and easier approaches that leverage cloud-based services and help employees be more productive with Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).

Today, I am happy to announce the latest innovation that helps enable this vision – Windows AutoPilot, a suite of capabilities powered by cloud-based services, designed to simplify deployment and management of new Windows 10 PC’s along with enhancements to Mobile Device Management and new Device Health features in Windows Analytics.

Self-Service Deployment with Windows AutoPilot

Getting a new PC at work should be a magical experience for an employee. It shows the company cares about making sure employees are productive and successful. Microsoft wants that experience to truly feel rewarding at the same time as we optimize results and cost for the whole company.

Imagine being able to take a new device out of the box and with just a few clicks fully configuring it for productive use – no more images to create and maintain, no infrastructure to manage, and a simple process. Now imagine that any member of the organization can easily setup a new device without needing any IT assistance. For most organizations, this represents a significant departure from how Windows 10 devices are deployed and managed today, but brings with it significant benefits, both from a process perspective and an economic one.  We are announcing today Windows AutoPilot Deployment, a new cloud service that enables IT to customize the Windows 10 out of box setup experience using a cloud configuration, delivering a self-service deployment experience with new Windows 10 devices.

Windows AutoPilot Deployment works seamlessly with existing Azure Active Directory and Intune mobile device management (MDM) services, enabling a new PC to be easily transformed into a business-ready device: joined to Azure Active Directory, enrolled in Intune, transformed to Windows 10 Enterprise, settings applied, Office 365 apps and line-of-business apps installed. Ready to go!

Of course, there is no better way to understand how this process works than to see it in action.

As part of Windows AutoPilot Deployment, we will roll out the Windows AutoPilot Deployment Program to enable OEMs, distributors, and resellers to link devices to an organization. We’re happy to announce Surface will pilot Windows AutoPilot Deployment program with select customers and partners this summer.  We are also working with our OEM partners, distributors, and resellers to roll out support for the Windows AutoPilot Deployment Program and will provide more information about broad availability in coming months.

The Microsoft Store for Business and Microsoft Partner Center will soon provide Windows AutoPilot capabilities so that organizations as well as partners managing IT for organizations can link and configure devices.

We’re just getting started with Windows AutoPilot and several new features will be added in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update later this year:

  • Windows AutoPilot Reset – a new reset mechanism to reset a fully configured device while maintaining MDM management and AAD connection state and automatically get the device back into a fully configured state.
  • Enhanced Personalization with Windows AutoPilot Deployment – ability to pre-assign a device to a specific employee in the organization via cloud-configuration.
  • Self Service Active Directory domain join – self-service deployment to get new Windows 10 devices into Active Directory domain joined state along with Microsoft Intune enrollment.

Simplified Management

New mobile device management (MDM) and security features we’ve introduced with each Windows 10 update have continued to contribute to our modern IT goal. In the Windows 10 Creators Update that began rolling out in April, we enabled management of key security settings and features, such as BitLocker. We added support for hundreds of the most-used Group Policy settings available directly via MDM through support for ADMX-backed policies. This helps customers with their migration process from Group Policy to MDM.  We also released the MDM Migration Analysis Tool (MMAT) to show organizations what equivalent MDM policies exist for Group Policy settings in use by the organization. In addition, we introduced new dynamic management capabilities to enable settings based on location, network or time.

Now, with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, we will continue to focus on management of additional security capabilities. You will be able to deploy and configure Windows Defender Application Guard, as well as configuring security baseline settings (such as account and logon policies), to make it easy to use recommended security settings on MDM-managed enterprise devices. We’ve also added the capability to configure Windows Firewall rules.

To ensure great experiences with Windows AutoPilot scenarios, MDM capabilities in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will provide the option to show progress during the device provisioning process, to let the employee know what configuration activities are in progress and when the device is ready to go. In addition, the employee can see information on what their organization is managing, in Settings, thereby ensuring transparency.

 MDM support for Active Directory domain joined devices is coming to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

MDM support for Active Directory domain joined devices is coming to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

MDM support for Active Directory domain joined devices is coming. A device joined to Active Directory domain can be automatically registered in Azure Active Directory and automatically enrolled in Microsoft Intune or another MDM service. We will enable this for both existing devices already joined to Active Directory and new devices deployed into this state through Windows Autopilot Deployment.

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will also add new kiosk configuration and management features, supporting new multi-app scenarios and greatly simplified lockdown configurations.

Proactive Insights

With the introduction of Windows Analytics, we have delivered capabilities that organizations can use to make sure they are ready for the latest Windows 10 release through Upgrade Readiness, as well as new Update Compliance features to ensure devices are up to date with the latest quality and feature updates.  Today, I am pleased to announce the latest addition to Windows Analytics: Device Health.

Device Health functionality is designed to ensure employees have the best possible experience with Windows 10.  To achieve that goal, it helps identify issues that could affect a person’s experience, before they may even notice, while also identifying steps needed to resolve those issues proactively.  This reduces helpdesk calls and support costs, saving time and money.

Device Health is the latest addition to Windows Analytics. Device Health helps identify issues that could affect a person’s experience.

Device Health is the latest addition to Windows Analytics. Device Health helps identify issues that could affect a person’s experience.

New Device Health features will soon be available to preview, with general availability expected later this year.

In the spirit of agile service development, we continue to enhance the capabilities of the Upgrade Readiness and Update Compliance features. In Upgrade Readiness, we made it easier to rationalize apps by bubbling the low risk apps upfront. We added insights for prioritizing app and driver testing to move more devices to ‘Ready’ state quickly.

With these enhancements coming with the Fall Creators Update, along with the security features we announced earlier this week, Microsoft continues to improve the entire lifecycle of the device. From provisioning to ongoing management, to data-driven run-time insights, we want to help partners and enterprises be more efficient, secure and improve employees’ experiences with Windows 10.