Windows 10 Insider Preview for PCs Comes Packed with New Features
Microsoft released the latest build of Windows 10 to members of its Insider Preview program today. The release, labeled Build 14328, includes upgrades to Windows Ink, the Start button, Cortana, and the Search function. The company released a previous version of the build for mobile devices earlier this week, so this latest version focuses primarily on PC functionality.
There are so many changes in the latest build that some users might want to wait around for a more stable version of the operating system. “With the amount of code change in this build there are going to be some rough edges,” Gabe Aul, corporate vice president, Engineering Systems Team at Microsoft, wrote in a company blog post. “If any of those make you uncomfortable, you may want to consider switching to the Slow ring and waiting for a later build which has a bit more stabilization on these new features.”
Changes to Start Button
Among the changes to the operating system is Windows Ink, which the company announced a few weeks ago. Ink allows users to write or draw on their Windows devices as if they were paper. The app can create sticky notes, whiteboard environments, and other handwritten formats, and it's integrated with other Microsoft applications such as Office, Maps, and Edge. Users that own active pens will have Windows Ink Workspace enabled by default.
The company has also made significant changes to the Start button (pictured above) in this build. In particular, the most used apps list has been merged with the all apps list to minimize the amount of clicking and scrolling required. Power, Settings, and File Explorer will now be visible on the left side of the Start menu. Additional folders that users have chosen to add to the Start menu will also be made immediately available, meaning users won’t have to click through to view them.
Several changes have also been made to the operating system’s tablet mode, including the return of the full-screen all apps list. Users can now choose to auto-hide only the task bar in tablet mode.
One big change for mobile devices has to do with Cortana. The virtual assistant will now be accessible from the lock screen, meaning that users will be able to ask her questions without having to unlock their devices first. Users will also have more ways to set reminders, such as creating photo reminders by taking pictures of things they want to be reminded of later.
Microsoft also fixed some of the problems Windows was experiencing with cross-device functionality on Cortana in the previous mobile build. The assistant will now be able to alert users when their devices are running low on battery power, and maps can now be shared across all devices.
Image Credit: Surface Pro 4 and Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14328 feature via Microsoft.
Image credit: Product shot by Microsoft; iStock/Artist's concept.