Latest Windows 10 Build Adds New Features -- and Bugs
Microsoft is also ramping up for big events, like Build and Ignite.
You can't say you weren't warned.
If you download the latest version of still-under-development Windows 10 and something goes wrong, you can only point the finger at yourself.
Microsoft released its latest Windows 10 preview (build 10061) last week to its "fast-ring" testers, warts and all.
This build contains plenty of bugs, as described in Microsoft's announcement. For those testers less tolerant of software flaws, Microsoft also has a Windows 10 "slow-ring" group of testers. Previews of Windows 10 can be obtained by signing up at Microsoft's Windows Insider Program. This latest build is notable for arriving before Microsoft's big events for developers and IT pros, which are coming as soon as next week and early May.
The most notable Windows 10 preview software flaw this time around seems to be that Win32 desktop apps can't be launched from the Start Menu in this build. Instead, users need to search for these apps and then pin them to the taskbar to launch them.
New additions to this build are Microsoft's new Mail and Calendar apps. These apps can use feeds from "Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, IMAP, POP and other popular accounts," according to Microsoft's announcement. However, the apps have "a known issue that causes every typed letter to appear twice." To address this issue, testers can download updated Mail and Calendar apps (builds 17.4016.42291.0) from the Window Store beta version. However, the newly installed Mail and Calendar apps require 15 minutes to update for things to work normally.
Testers also might also see "a black screen with only your mouse cursor during login/logout," Microsoft warned. A fix will be coming through the Windows Update service.
The good news is that Microsoft has addressed a problem from a previous build where testers could not use Hyper-V. Also, Microsoft made a number of improvements to the user interface with this build.
For instance, Microsoft improved the user interface of the Windows 10 "continuum" feature, which optimizes the interface for so-called "two-in-one" devices. A two-in-one device can switch from working like a tablet to being more like a laptop by swapping in a keyboard, and Microsoft's continuum feature senses when that happens. The continuum feature now better supports the tablet mode, Microsoft claimed. Button access is spaced out now to make it easier for touch interactions to happen.
As with all Windows 10 preview releases, Microsoft is now exercising its faster software development cycles. It hasn't been holding back on builds because of software flaws. If Microsoft's OEM partner AMD is to be believed, Windows 10 might start rolling out as early as the end of July, but perhaps just for hardware imaging purposes. If so, Microsoft seems to have lots of bugs to fix in just three months' time.
Events and Windows 10
The company's Windows 10 messaging likely will ramp up next week, beginning with its Build event for developers, where the company is expected to talk more about its Windows 10 "universal apps" concept. That's the idea where developers can write code once for the Windows 10 platform and have it run across different form factors -- from big-screen devices such as Microsoft's forthcoming Surface Hub device to smartphones and industrial devices -- with just minor code tweaks, purportedly.
Next up in early May will be Microsoft's Ignite conference for IT pros that promises to deliver more information on Microsoft's mobile device management approach for Windows 10, and even for Android and iOS devices. Ignite is Microsoft's new big tent event that combines previously separate conferences that focused on Exchange, SharePoint and Lync (now called "Skype for Business"), so we can expect more information about Windows 10 and Microsoft's forthcoming server technologies, although many of Microsoft's new servers to come are expected to arrive in 2016. Microsoft has indicated, though, that its next System Center Configuration Manager product will ship at the same time as Windows 10.
Microsoft's partners also have lots of Microsoft events coming up shortly where Windows 10 will get discussed. For the details, check out this Redmond Channel Partner article.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.