What just happened? Microsoft has started rolling out Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20161 to Windows Insiders in the Dev channel, which was previously called the Fast Ring. The new build adds a number of features to Microsoft’s operating system, including an updated Start Menu, though not all Insiders will see them straight away.
Here's a breakdown of all the new features found in Preview Build 20161, which Microsoft says is from its Active Development Branch and not tied to any upcoming Windows 10 release.
A revamped Start Menu
We’ve been eagerly awaiting the revamped Start Menu for some time, and Microsoft recently gave us a taste of what to expect. In the Preview Build, we again see how the solid color backplates behind the app list logos have been removed, while the tiles get a partially transparent background. Microsoft says the new design complements the Fluent Design icons for Office and Edge, as well as the redesigned icons it rolled out last year.
Microsoft illustrates the new Start design in both light and dark themes, and how it looks with a splash of color.
ALT + TAB between Edge tabs
Edge users should appreciate this one. In the latest build, using ALT + TAB will display all tabs that are open in Microsoft’s browser, not just the active one in each browser window. You can choose to show fewer tabs, or turn the feature off completely, by going to Settings > System > Multitasking.
A more personalized Taskbar
Microsoft wants to give new users a better PC experience from day one by testing a cleaner, more personalized default Taskbar that aims to minimize clutter and perceptions of bloatware.
The company says it will “evaluate the performance of individual default properties, monitoring diagnostic data and user feedback to assess an audience’s reception.” It adds that the “experience is limited to new account creation or first logon scenarios. We will not use Programmable Taskbar to alter the Taskbar layout on existing accounts.”
Notifications are getting a revamp in the new build by including the app logo in messages, allowing users to see where it’s coming from quickly. You can dismiss these by hitting the X in the top right corner.
“Second, we are turning off the Focus Assist notification and summary toast by default, so we will no longer let users know that Focus Assist has been turned on through an automatic rule via a notification,” added the company.
As part of its ongoing mission to bring Control Panel capabilities forward into Settings, information in the former’s System page is being migrated to the Settings About page. Links that would open the System page in Control Panel will now direct you to About in Settings
Other improvements include making device information copyable using a new button
Improving the tablet experience for 2-in-1 devices
Those with a Windows 2-in-1 device will know that when detaching the keyboard, a notification appears asking if you want to switch to tablet mode. This no longer appears in the new build—you’ll be taken straight to the new tablet experience when removing a keyboard. Microsoft is also removing tablet mode quick action on non-touch devices.
Elsewhere, Microsoft says the graphing mode feature released to Insiders in January is now rolling out to the general public, which should be welcome news for students.
- Plot one or more equations on the graph. Enter multiple equations so that you can compare plots against each other and see interactions between the lines.
- Add equations with variables. If you enter equations with variables (e.g., y = mx + b), you’ll be able to update the value of those variables to see the changes live on the graph.
- Analyze the graph. Trace plots with your mouse or keyboard and analyze equations to help identify key graph features, like the x- and y-intercepts.
Since the preview, Microsoft has introduced a “brand new dark theme graph and more line customization options, adding error handling for when you try to plot an equation that isn’t quite right, and improving the overall experience when tracing or plotting multiple equations at the same time.”
For a full breakdown of the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20161, including updates for developers, fixes, and known issues, head to Microsoft’s blog page.