Microsoft is delivering another update to testers of its next operating system this week and signaling its plans to slow adding new features to focus on quality and bugs ahead of the approaching Windows 10 release this summer.
Microsoft announced Windows 10 10122 in a post on its Windows Blog this week. A new upgrade only available to members of the Windows Insider Preview program, the update doesn’t come with a huge set of new features by design. Microsoft says members of the program will notice there are less new features included in this version of Windows 10 and other versions users get until the official Windows 10 release.
“The Insider Previews continues to be aimed at very technical people who want to play with pre-released code, but I think you’ll feel more and more comfortable using this build and future builds on your day to day systems,” Microsoft’s Gabe Aul says in his post about the new update.
Microsoft’s Windows team seems committed to tweaking it’s the most notable holder-over from its Windows 8 operating system, the venerable Start Screen. In previous versions of Windows 10 Microsoft altered the Start Screen so that it could act as a perfect replacement for the Start Menu that notebook and tablet users loved in versions of Windows 10 before Windows 8.
Adding shortcuts for most used actions made the Start experience in Windows 10 better for users that weren’t too happy with its previous iterations. Now Microsoft is giving touch-centric users a bit of what they want, hiding those quick use shortcuts and boosting the size of every Live Tile when Windows 10 is in Tablet Mode. Windows 10 turns on Tablet Mode by default, meaning mouse and keyboard users will still get the shortcuts they need and never notice a change. Microsoft also killed off a toggle that let users quickly turn their Start Menu into a Start Screen. The company says that testers got confused when they made the menu fullscreen, thinking they were in Tablet Mode when they actually weren’t.
There are big changes for Microsoft’s new Edge web browser. Set to replace Internet Explorer for users that don’t need backwards compatibility, Edge is getting some very important features that would have ruined its debut had they not been present. Options for browsing sites and not saving them in your browser history are back. Website pinning, and history browsing are back too. Microsoft Edge has a new screen that lets users see the latest news from MSN and their frequently opened sites whenever they create a new tab too.
Finally, Windows 10 10122 takes some steps to solve a huge issue that has plagued Windows for years. Today, installing an app that runs in the Desktop usually triggers prompts asking if you’d like to set that program as the default program to run that app. With Windows 10 Microsoft is aiming to kill some of these issues. According to Microsoft, “all apps will be unable to invoke a prompt to change your defaults, only Windows.”
All told, these features are small in the grand scheme of things, but exactly what you’d expect if Microsoft still plans to release a Windows 10 upgrade sometime this summer. To their credit, Microsoft has spent the last year making huge changes to Windows 10 in public view. The Continuum feature allows Windows to adapt to whatever input devices users have, making it much easier to use on all form factors. Windows 10 allows Windows Store apps to run in the Desktop alongside what we traditionally think of as programs like iTunes.
Microsoft plans to distribute the Windows 10 upgrade free to users with Windows 7 and Windows 8 for one year.