Microsoft today released a new Windows 10 preview for PCs with a ridiculously long list of improvements. This is the first new build of 2017 and shows what’s coming in the company’s Windows 10 Creators Update, which is slated for release in “early 2017.”
Windows 10 is a service, meaning it was built in a very different way than its predecessors so it can be regularly updated with not just fixes but new features too. While Microsoft has released many such updates to date, the Creators Update will be a major one and follows the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, released in August 2016.
Here’s a quick rundown of this build that Microsoft sent over:
- Cortana’s increased helpfulness, as she can now provide a list of suggested app-specific commands when you’re typing in an app into the search box for greater ease of discovery
- Tab management improvements for Microsoft Edge and various other feature additions that aim to enhance the browsing experience (full changelog)
- Windows Ink enhancements, including an updated Windows Ink pen, pencil and highlighter control to now visually indicate what color has been selected, as well as a new point erase feature
- Windows Defender improvements, including new options to run quick, advanced or full scans such as device performance and health scans that provide reports on your PC’s health
- Updated Windows Share experience, redesigned to become more app-focused
- Lower Blue Light settings to automatically lower the amount of blue light emitted from your PC at night
Cortana now offers suggested commands as you type app names — clicking a particular suggestion launches the app with that command. If you know the command, you can of course just say it to Cortana. Time-based reminders can now be set for “Every Month” and “Every Year.” Lastly, the the keyboard shortcut to invoke Cortana in listening mode is changing to WIN + C (it’s off by default, so you have to enable it in Cortana’s settings).
Edge now has a tab preview bar that gives you a visual preview of every tab you have open without leaving your page. It also lets you set tabs aside to give you a clean slate. Edge finally also has a proper Jump List in the Taskbar, for launching a new window or InPrivate window. Stability has been improved thanks to a new UWP architecture and Flash click-to-run (untrusted content is now blocked by default). Last but not least, Edge now has preview support for the Payment Request API.
The Windows Ink pen, pencil, and highlighter control now visually indicate which color is selected. Point erase has been added to the Windows Ink Workspace’s Sketchpad and Screen Sketch. If you have the Windows Ink Workspace icon on your taskbar, it now displays the taskbar of every monitor, and clicking it launches the Windows Ink Workspace on that monitor.
Windows can now automatically lower the amount of blue light emitted from your PC at night (Settings => System => Display). There are settings to use a local sunset and sunrise, or even a custom schedule, as well as quickly override the schedule (Settings => Notifications & actions).
— Chris123NT (@Chris123NT) December 29, 2016
After this build leaked late last year, there was a lot of commotion around the fact that the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) had been changed to green. Given the history of the BSOD, and that green is associated with “go” and “good,” there were many who were quite upset at the change. Microsoft has now clarified that released versions of Windows 10 will continue to have the classic blue color. The green is simply there to distinguish when Windows Insider builds crash.
The desktop build includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
- The 3D Builder app has been moved to the “Windows Accessories” folder on Start.
- Fixed an issue where the display brightness keys on some devices weren’t working as expected.
- Fixed an issue where the display may stay black after resuming from sleep if a USB display is connected.
- Fixed an issue where opening an app that uses the camera, such as the Camera app, would sometimes result in a bugcheck.
- Fixed a crash in the RPCSS service which in turn was resulting in some Insiders experiencing CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED bugchecks on recent builds.
- Fixed an issue for touch keyboards sometimes requiring multiple clicks to invoke on non-touch PCs.
- Fixed an issue where Disk Cleanup would sometimes unexpectedly show 3.99TB worth of Windows Update Cleanup files.
- Updated logic for when the Edge window is narrow and Cortana has a tip, Cortana will only appear as an icon in the address bar. If you expand the window, you’ll see the full suggestion as before.
- Updated tooltips for the Edge favorites bar to wrap around for longer website names rather than truncate.
- Fixed an issue where Touchpad settings page via Settings > Devices > Touchpad wasn’t displaying an icon next to its name in the navigation pane.
- Fixed an issue that may have resulted in a recent drop in Action Center reliability for Insiders.
- Updated the Speaker Properties dialog to now allow you to configure Spatial Audio for different endpoints. If the current playback device has Spatial Audio enabled, the volume icon in the notification area will now indicate this.
- Made some tweaks to the backend for how users connect to devices, such as Miracast displays and other PCs. Use the Connect UI (WIN+K) as you normally would, and file feedback if you encounter any issues.
- Removed the rerouting of mspaint.exe to Paint 3D.
- Fixed an issue Insiders may have experienced on recent builds where navigating to OneDrive folders could unexpectedly result in popup saying there had been a “Catastrophic Error”.
- Fixed an issue that could result in a Visual Studio crash when trying to open, add, or save a file.
- Fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders using PCs with certain older chipsets from seeing colored boxes in the place of text and various other UI in UWPs apps.
- When you use Miracast to a device that supports input (for example, an Actiontec Screenbeam or Miracast-enabled Windows 10 PC), you will now see a toast notification to help you enable input (touch, keyboard, etc) on that device.
- Fixed an issue where the Home and End keys were unexpectedly not working in certain Settings pages, for example “Apps & features”.
- Fixed an issue that could cause some progress indicators in UWP apps to appear to wobble or glitch.
Today’s update bumps the Windows 10 build number for PCs from 14986 (made available to testers on December 7) to build 15002.
This build has 18 known issues:
- Opening Battery settings page via Settings > System > Battery will crash the Settings app.
- The option to enable the Virtual Touchpad is missing from the taskbar context menu.
- Cortana’s cross-device scenarios won’t work on this build (including notification mirroring, missed call, share photos, share directions, low battery, and find my phone).
- Some websites in Microsoft Edge may unexpectedly show “We can’t reach this page”. If you encounter this, please try accessing the site from an InPrivate tab.
- Dragging apps from the all apps list to pin on Start’s tile grid won’t work. For now, please right-click on the desired app in order to pin it.
- Using CTRL + C to copy in Command Prompt won’t work.
- When projecting to a secondary monitor, if you set the connection to “Extended”, Explorer.exe may start crashing in a loop. If this happens, turn off your PC, disconnect the secondary monitor, then restart your PC.
- The touch keyboard button may be unexpectedly missing from the taskbar. If this happens, open the taskbar context menu, and select “Show touch keyboard button”.
- You may see an error from Windows Hello saying “Couldn’t turn on the camera” on the lock screen.
- Brightness changes made via Settings > System > Display will unexpectedly revert after closing the Settings app. For now, please use either Action Center, power flyout or brightness keys to change the brightness
- The list of apps in the Surface Dial “Add an app” page via Settings > Devices > Wheel may unexpectedly be empty. If that happens, tap the “Browse for an app” button at the bottom of the screen to pick the desired app instead.
- Miracast sessions will fail to connect.
- The Netflix app may display a black screen rather than the expected video content. As a workaround, you can use Microsoft Edge to watch video content from Netflix.
- On certain hardware types (e.g.: Acer Aspire), the Netflix app crashes when starting a movie.
- 3rd party UWP apps would crash on devices if the DPI settings on the machine are >=150% (Generally people do this on high resolution devices – Surface book etc.)
- If you upgrade from Windows 8.1 directly to Build 15002, all your store apps are lost during upgrade process but you can go and re-download all the lost apps from the Store.
- When using Microsoft Edge with Narrator, you may hear “no item in view” or silence while tabbing or using other navigation commands. You can use Alt + Tab when this happens to move focus away from and back to the Edge browser. Narrator will then read as expected.
- Saying “Hey Cortana, play <item> on <AppName>” doesn’t work immediately after installing the app. Wait 5 minutes for indexing to begin and try again.
If you’re OK with the above and want to get build 15002 now, head to PC Settings, select “Update and recovery,” then “Preview builds,” and then click the “Check Now” button.