New Beta Arrives Ahead of Fresh Windows 10 Updates

Many assumed that those testing Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system wouldn’t see new upgrades to the until mid-January. That isn’t the case though, late yesterday Microsoft announced a new Windows 10 update that’s going out to members of its Windows Insiders Program now.

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Microsoft announced the new Windows 10 update on its Windows Blog. Officially called Windows 10 11082, this is the first upgrade that members of the Windows Insiders Program have seen since Microsoft finished up work on the Windows 10 November Update. That update added new features to the Cortana Personal Assisstant, plus Skype-powered apps for video calling and messaging. There were more changes, but Microsoft mostly used the update to improve code that works behind-the-scenes in Windows 10.

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That’s exactly what the company is doing with this week’s new Windows 10 update, according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President Gabe Aul.

Read: Windows 10 November Update – What’s New & Different

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“With this build, you won’t see big noticeable changes or new features just yet,” Aul says in the announcement. Instead of including new features, Microsoft is working on freshening up some of the code that works behind the scenes on different versions of Windows. The company calls this software OneCore because it powers everything from the Xbox One to Windows mobile. Developers within the company will start adding new features into Windows 10 updates going out to testers after this work is done.

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Windows 10 11082 doesn’t include any new features, but Microsoft is preparing users now for big changes in the way it delivers the updates coming in 2016. The company says that it’s going to make Windows 10 updates available to Windows Insiders at a steadier pace than it did this calendar year. The decision is based on feedback provided by Windows Insiders.

That testers will be able to get their hands on the latest features and updates is great, but there will be a huge drawback. Aul says that those using the Windows Insiders program to download Windows 10 updates earlier will find that versions made available in the Fast Ring of the program will be “slightly more painful” to deal with.

Anyone that isn’t comfortable with receiving early Windows 10 updates with bugs through the Windows Insider Program will need to go into their Settings app and switch to the Slow Ring, which is available in the Advanced Options area within the Updates & Security menu. Again, this change is only for members of the Insider program. Regular users won’t get updates until Microsoft is comfortable with their stability. Nothing has changed for people wo haven’t joined the program.

Windows 10 101082 isn’t exciting on its own. Mostly, it’s stuffed full of performance improvements that are already in the tiny updates to the version of Windows 10 on millions of notebooks, tablets and desktops already. It is the first version of what’s said to be the Windows 10 Redstone Update.

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Read: Windows 10 Update: What We Know About the Updates

According to some, Redstone will include big changes for how Windows notebooks, desktops tablets and phones work together. Allegedly, Microsoft plans to let users with a Windows Phone take calls, answer text messages and more from their PC or tablet. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Apple’s iOS operating system for iPhones and iPads already offer a similar feature for Mac PCs. Windows 10 Redstone could also include. Widgets for the Action Center notification area and a freely floating Cortana are coming too, reportedly.

Microsoft is still letting Windows 7 and Windows 8 users download the Windows 10 upgrade free of charge. The free upgrade arrived for everyone back in July. Rather than update the operating system on every three years, Microsoft is making new features available to users in smaller updates scattered throughout the calendar year.