Microsoft today released a new Windows 10 preview for PCs with the ability to send links from your Android phone to your PC, as well as Cortana, reboot, input, Edge, and gaming improvements. This is the eighth build of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which is slated to arrive later this year (likely in September).
Windows 10 is a service, meaning it was built in a very different way from its predecessors so it can be regularly updated with not just fixes, but new features, too. Microsoft has released many such updates, including three major ones: November Update, Anniversary Update, and Creators Update.
The biggest addition is undoubtedly the ability to link your Android phone to your PC (iPhone support is coming “very soon”). This build focuses on cross-device web-browsing, meaning you can share the site that you’re browsing on your phone to your PC. To enable the feature, go to Settings => Phone and link your phone. You will receive an SMS directing you to install a test application called “Microsoft Apps.”
On your phone, when you are visiting a website you want to view on your PC, simply hit the share option and pick the “Continue on PC” option. You’ll need to sign in with your Microsoft Account (you have to use the same account you are using on your PC). Then pick “Continue now” (the website will open on the linked PC) or “Continue later” (the website will show up in the Action Center).
Next up, Cortana now shows you web search results without launching the browser. For some questions, the Cortana pane will expand automatically, quickly showing you exactly what you need to know. So far, it works with movies, celebrities, stock prices, weather, flight status, and whatever else Cortana has a quick answer for (remember, Cortana is powered by Bing). If Cortana doesn’t have a quick answer for your query, the pane won’t automatically expand.
Speaking of Cortana, the assistant now has voice commands to lock, sign out, shutdown, or turn off your PC. The available commands are as follows (this feature is only available in English for now):
- Hey Cortana, restart PC.
- Hey Cortana, turn off PC.
- Hey Cortana, sign out.
- Hey Cortana, lock PC.
For some of these voice commands, Cortana may ask you for a verbal confirmation, meaning you’ll have to say “Yes” for Cortana to complete the voice command. The commands can also be executed on the Lock screen, but first you have to enable Cortana on the Lock screen if you have not done so already.
The part I’m most excited about in this build is the improvements to the boot up sequence. The advanced Windows Update feature that uses your sign-in info to automatically finish setting up your device after an update has been extended to regular reboots and shutdowns. When you log in and initiate a reboot or a shutdown, Windows will automatically set up your account after it has booted back up. This means a faster sign-in and automatically launching any application that has registered for application restart. You can, of course, disable this functionality under the Privacy section of the Sign-in options page in Settings.
In terms of input improvements, the one-handed touch keyboard is now a little bigger but also has a slightly thicker border, so you’re less likely to accidentally dismiss it. The new XAML touch keyboard now supports English (United States), English (Australia), French (France), Italian (Italy), German (Germany), and Spanish (Spain). Lastly, launching and dismissing the touch keyboard now has a sliding animation and the typing sound is softer.
Edge no longer rescales sites when in Tablet Mode when in a snapped view or portrait orientation. Aside from that, the browser also received numerous reliability fixes, PDF viewing fixes, and Pinned Sites fixes.
As for gaming improvements, Microsoft is testing enabling Game Mode by default for some games. Only some users will get this experience, and the company didn’t specify how many users or which games.
This desktop build includes the following bug fixes and improvements:
- Fixed an issue from the last flight where if you had display scaling set higher than 100 percent, you might encounter a bug where the hit targeting was offset when interacting with various parts of the shell. This was particularly noticeable in Action Center, where it might appear that nothing in Action Center could be clicked or tapped, but could also have been experienced in other UI around the system.
- Fixed an issue resulting in IMAP email accounts such as Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL potentially not syncing in the Mail app in the last two builds.
- Fixed the issue causing Windows Defender Security Center to be unable to configure and list items for Controlled folder access, Threat History, and Exclusions due to a crash in the UI.
- Narrator Scan Mode is now on by default for just the Edge app. You can continue to toggle Scan Mode on and off with Caps Lock + Space.
- Fixed a bug that resulted in poor text rendering on some machines when Magnifier was running with bitmap smoothing enabled.
- Fixed an issue where the Windows Defender Security Center icon appeared unexpectedly stretched out when using a wide-sized tile pinned to Start.
- Fixed an issue where certain inbox apps might unexpectedly show a progress bar on their Start tiles for a short time after upgrading.
- Fixed an issue resulting in explorer.exe using an unexpectedly high amount of CPU in recent flights when certain apps, such as Microsoft Edge, were running.
- Fixed an issue where Groove Music’s mini view player would reset its position to default if you used File Explorer to open and start playing a new mp3 in Groove Music.
- Fixed an issue resulting in some apps, such as Tweetium, not rendering the UI correctly and becoming difficult to use.
- Fixed an issue resulting in the notification prompting you to enter tablet mode not working properly when you access in recent flights.
- The My People emoji above the Taskbar is now referred to simply as “My People notifications.” This terminology can be found in Taskbar Settings.
- Fixed an issue where the mouse response might appear erratic on certain devices when playing games with Raw Input disabled.
- Fixed an issue where the insertion point mouse cursor appeared white for some Insiders, making it invisible against the white background of many text boxes.
- Some Insiders may have noticed the Windows Error Dialog had a new string in recent flights (“opening a portal to another dimension”) — it has now been updated to say the problem is being reported to Microsoft.
- Fixed the issue with PC Games using the Origin overlay where the use of overlay may cause game movement to lock up.
- TruePlay, formerly called Game Monitor, is a placeholder within the Windows UI. Your games cannot be affected at this time.
Today’s update bumps the Windows 10 build number for PCs from 16241 (made available to testers on July 13) to build 16251. This build has six known issues, so make sure to check those before updating.
Microsoft today also released a new Windows 10 Mobile build, but nobody cares.