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Microsoft News Roundup: She-Hulk on a Surface Pro 8, WhatsApp Desktop update, and the long-lost Windows 8 startup sound

Microsoft Surface 3 with Windows 8
(Image credit: Future)

From She-Hulk using a Surface Pro 8 to Gmail being optimized for the Surface Duo, we cover a wide range of stories here at Windows Central. To kick off each weekend, we gather the biggest pieces of news mixed with some fun tidbits from across Microsoft land. Here are the highlights from this week.

Missing Windows 8 startup sound revealed

Windows 8 famously shipped without a startup sound. Well, maybe not famously in most circles, but we certainly noticed. Jensen Harris, former Director of Program Management for the Windows User Experience team, has discussed the missing startup sound at length in the past. In short, Microsoft had a chime for the operating system but decided not to ship it. Since then, the Windows 8 startup sound has lurked in the shadows, unheard by everyday users. But no more. Harris played the sound in a recent YouTube video and detailed the process of how it was created and why it ultimately never shipped.

We also learned that Microsoft had a Surface-specific startup sound. It too never shipped, joining the ranks of the canceled Surface Mini and many other products that never saw the light of day. Oh, what could have been.

In any event, both startup sounds are now available as .wav files in case you feel like using them as a notification sound or in your latest TikTok video.

Gmail for Android now spans across Surface Duo

Gmail spanning on Surface Duo 2

(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft optimizes many of its apps to take advantage of the dual-display design of the Surface Duo, but other companies haven't been as quick to adopt to the new form factor. This week, Google finally hopped on board by updating Gmail for Android. The app can now span across both displays of Microsoft's foldable. Much like Microsoft Outlook, Gmail shows a list of emails on the left screen and the contents of a selected email on the right.

With Android 12L on the way, more apps should be optimized for foldables. That operating system centers around devices with larger displays, many of which are built for multitasking.

She-Hulk 

Marvel's She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

(Image credit: Marvel/Disney)

Microsoft and Marvel superheroes have gone hand-in-hand for quite some time. Black Widow made a call using Windows 10 Mobile and Daredevil used a Surface tablet. Even Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man used Bing. That last example was technically from a Sony film, but it was still a Marvel character. Now, you can add She-Hulk to the list of heroes to use Microsoft products.

A new web ad features Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, using a Surface Pro 8 and Windows 11. There's a good chance that the commercial will also appear on television, though we haven't seen it air yet.

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The brief ad also highlights that you can download Disney+ on Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store. That's noteworthy because Microsoft hasn't pushed the store as much in the past, at least with this type of partnership. The Microsoft Store was revamped recently and has seen a much bigger push over the last year.

If you keep your eyes peeled, you'll also see a Surface Studio in She-Hulk episode one.

WhatsApp Desktop now works when your phone is offline

WhatsApp Beta on Windows

(Image credit: Facebook)

WhatsApp Desktop received a major update this week on Windows. No longer a web app (Electron), WhatsApp Desktop looks to deliver better performance and reliability. The app also received a visual refresh, though that's relatively minor compared to a new feature that's now available. WhatsApp Desktop can now send and receive messages even if your phone is offline.

The functionality, which was in beta for several months leading up to general release, helps the communication app compete with the best WhatsApp alternatives. Importantly, WhatsApp Desktop remains end-to-end encrypted in this setup. 

Review roundup:

Alongside the latest news stories, our site houses an ever-growing library of reviews from our experts. Here are all of the gadgets, games, and devices we looked at this week:

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).