Microsoft today released the first update to Windows 10 preview as part of the company’s Windows Insider Program. The new arrival bumps the build number from 9841, which arrived on October 1, to 9860.
The update should arrive for Windows 10 preview users via Windows Update. Unless you changed the default setting, this means it will be downloaded and installed for you in the middle of the night (your PC has to be plugged in and be on or sleeping).
If you want to get it now, head to PC Settings, select “Update and recovery,” then “Preview builds,” and click the “Check Now” button. Follow the instructions (the download size ranges between 2GB and 2.74GB, depending on CPU architecture and language), and go grab a snack while it installs. A fair warning: The reboot after installation will be longer than normal.
There are three major features Microsoft wants to highlight: Action Center for Windows PCs, apps that can be moved between monitors, and an animation for switching between desktops. If you’ve been giving feedback and you’re disappointed by this list, the company offers these words of consolation: “When we do make a change based on your feedback, it can take a while until you see those changes in the builds coming to you.”
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the Action Center that Microsoft has essentially ported from Windows Phone. All your notifications are now in one place, and you can follow up on all actionable items:
Today’s build, however, only enables basic notifications (from the system and apps). Microsoft promises that “quick actions and [a] cleaner UI will come later.” The Action Center can be accessed via a new icon in the notification area of your taskbar.
Next, you can now move apps easily from one monitor to another. The new feature even includes a keyboard combination: WIN+SHIFT+arrow will move the active app to another monitor.
Finally, switching desktops has received its own animation. Microsoft says this is in response to one of the pieces of feedback the company received: Users complained it was hard to distinguish when the switch occurred.
After installing build 9860, you should also notice a new option to set how quickly new builds reach you (PC Settings => Update and recovery => Preview builds):
By default, this option will be set to “Slow,” which means you can wait for others to try out new builds and let you know about the issues and potential workarounds. If you want to get updates “Fast,” change the setting and you’ll get every build the day it comes out.
Microsoft says this addition is also in response to feedback. Many users wanted to know more about what problems they might run into and how quickly they might be addressed in the next build.
Speaking of issues, here are the big ones Microsoft says are in build 9860:
- In some places the UI design has gone “backwards” temporarily. For example, in this build it’s harder to join a Wi-Fi network. This will be fixed later.
- Another example of some UI “roughness” is sometimes Internet Explorer glyphs look garbled and items on the Start menu might disappear. Not everyone will see this; it depends on your display driver. A fix for this is also “coming soon.”
- Some machines may wake up and not go back to sleep properly.
- Microsoft Solitaire and Mahjong games are broken in some cases and won’t launch.
- When using two external monitors over Display Link, you may get a blue screen when you undock. This does not appear to be an issue when using just one external monitor. A fix for this is also in the works.
Remember: The Windows 10 preview is currently meant for enterprise and power users. Early next year, Microsoft plans to talk about consumer features, and in April 2015, during its Build conference, the company will share more details with developers. If you’re not a business customer, we’re not saying you shouldn’t join the Windows Insider Program, but you should set your expectations accordingly.
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