Above: Windows 10
Image Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft today started rolling out a new Windows 10 preview build for PCs and mobile devices for people participating in the fast ring of the Windows Insider Program. Build 15014 follows build 15007.
As rumors indicated earlier this week, Microsoft is now bringing ebook purchasing to the operating system, specifically through the Windows Store, and only for people in the U.S. From there, users can find a new collection of “Books” in the Edge browser. In this preview, you’ll see a table of contents and a seek bar at the bottom of Edge when viewing ebooks from the library. You can drop bookmarks in, and read ebooks offline. And the Cortana virtual assistant has a role to play, too.
“You can search for words or phrases and ask Cortana to define specific words and view embedded video and audio content,” Dona Sarkar, a software engineer in Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, wrote in a blog post.
There are ways to widen text spacing, change the font, make the typeface bigger and smaller, and switch the theme. Microsoft will add more ebooks to the Store over time, Sarkar wrote.
This build also has a feature for making the most of your PC’s local storage, one that’s similar to the Optimized Storage feature that showed up for Mac users in macOS Sierra. If you go to Settings > System > Storage, you can enable the option, as it’s off by default. When disk space is getting low, Sarkar wrote, the new option can be configured to delete “unused temporary files and items that have been in your recycle bin for 30 days.”
With this build, Microsoft is beginning to experiment with a slider for power consumption in the taskbar’s power flyout. It will only show up on certain PCs, and it won’t actually do anything — it’s just being added so Microsoft can get some early feedback on the design of the feature.
“Some of our Windows PC OEM partners have asked for the ability to give people a number of options for how to ‘tune’ their PC for different scenarios. A person playing a game, for example, might be willing to have a few less FPS when on a long flight if it gets them more battery life — whereas the same person playing the same game, when near a power supply, may want top-end CPU performance to eek out every ounce of performance they can get,” Sarkar wrote.
There are some cosmetic changes in this build, too.
The Cortana search box now has a lighter shade, and notifications in Cortana and the action center will have larger text.
You can now choose a custom accent color, not just one of the 48 that the Settings > Personalization > Colors section offers.
Wi-Fi Sense and Paid Wi-Fi Services have been brought together into the “Wi-Fi services” part of Settings.
The Snipping Tool app now has mode options available through a new Mode button, instead of next to the New button. The standard-issue Mail app, meanwhile, might be pinned to your taskbar with this build.
Microsoft has made the transition for lowering blue light “a bit smoother,” Sarkar wrote.
As usual, this build comes with plenty of bug fixes on PC.
For one, the Explorer won’t crash anymore when desktop shortcuts include a percent (%) sign, or when projecting onto a second display. And copying with Control + C in Command Prompt will work again. Miracast will work again. Closing the lid of your laptop will no longer result in a
blue green screen of death (BSOD/GSOD). Hitting “skip this step” when Microsoft prompts you to create a Microsoft account when starting Windows 10 for the first time will no longer send you back to the “Who owns this PC?” page. The Action Center won’t appear blank anymore, as it has in some recent builds for Insiders. Refreshing a PDF in Edge won’t show you a blank page anymore. Changes you make to display brightness through Settings > System > Display will stick now after you close out of Settings. Custom layouts of icons on the desktop won’t go away after you reboot. Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps won’t crash anymore if they’re running on devices with more than 150 percent dots per inch (DPI). And uploading from Windows 8.1
to some of the recent Windows 10 fast ring builds will no longer rid your machine of apps that you’ve gotten through the Store.
That said, there are also known issues in this PC build, which is normal.
Interestingly enough, one affects the process of downloading this build — it might seem like it’s not actually downloading through Settings > Update & security > Windows Update, even if it actually is. Sarkar advised people to be patient. (A forum post has more detail.)
Various issues relating to the Spectrum.exe program — like a loss of audio and unusually high disk I/O — might pop up. If that happens, Sarkar recommended that people delete C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Spectrum\PersistedSpatialAnchors and then reboot their PCs. (A forum post has more information on this.)
Audio might not work, and you may see an error message “Device in use.” Sarkar suggested restarting Windows 10’s audio service.
Microsoft knows that Windows may say that “some Settings are managed by your organization” even if that’s not true. (I saw that bug in build 15007.)
You might crash the Windows Desktop Window Manager (DWM) and run into display issues if you connect an Xbox controller to your PC while running this build.
Netflix might crash at launch, and if it does, you should try opening it again. Or Netflix will crash when you start watching a movie. Tencent apps and Dota 2 might not work properly. Quicken 2016 might not, either. If you do run into issues with that app in particular, open Registry Editor (Start > type in regedit > right-click on it and select Run as administrator) and change the version from 4.7.XXXXX to 4.6.XXXXX for the following two registry keys: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Client and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\NET Framework Setup\NDP\v4\Full.
Some Win32 games will (still) minimize and can’t be brought up again when you click on certain things. And certain pages won’t come up in Edge (the error message will say “We can’t reach this page”), in which case Sarkar suggested you try opening the pages in the browser’s InPrivate mode.
And Cortana is still having issues quickly indexing newly installed apps, so you should wait five minutes after installing before saying something like “Hey Cortana, play Drake on Spotify.” (See Sarkar’s blog post for even more known issues and bug fixes.)
If you want to try this new build for PC or mobile, but you’re not a Windows Insider, you can sign up here.