Microsoft released an updated build to the Windows 10 Technical Preview this past week. This article will take a look at the changes from the first build Microsoft released. This new build, 9860, is only available as an update to the original build, 9841. Before I get into the new and changed features, I am go through the steps needed for updating the Windows 10 Technical Preview to the current build.
1. Click on the Start button.
From here, users will have two options. Users can click on Windows Update and if the new build is available using Windows Update, the new build can be installed through the normal Windows update process or they can use the Preview builds option. If the build is not available in Windows Update, users will need to use the following steps to install the update using the Preview builds option. As of October 25, 2014, the new build was not available when I tried to update the Windows 10 Technical Preview using Windows Update so I used the steps below to update to the new build.
1. Click on Preview builds.
2. After the check for new builds completes, click on the Download Now button shown above.
3. The download will take some time as it is between 2 – 2.74 gigabytes in size depending on the computer’s configuration. After the download finishes, click on the Install now button to start the update to build 9860.
4. The install also will take some time. The computer will restart several times during the update process.
5. After the computer finishes updating to the new build, users will need to login to the computer. After the update to build 9860, user accounts will have to be set back up again after the login. After they are set back up as part of the update process, user’s accounts should look like they did before the update to build 9860.
The update to build 9860 took about an hour and a half each on my laptop and desktop computers when I updated the virtual machines I use for the Windows 10 Technical Preview. The download took about 30 minutes each time and then the installation of the update took a little over an hour for each VM. From what other users reported for their update install time frames online when looking at additional information for the updated build, I suspect that running Windows 10 Technical Preview on virtual machines slows the update process quite a bit.
One new change I like is how they have added the ability to select how quickly a new build is available for installation on the PC. On the Preview builds screen (shown below), change the selection for how fast you’d like to get new builds to get the preview builds earlier. Notice that Microsoft states that choosing to get the builds faster may mean there are more bugs. More bugs means there could be bugs that can crash the computer so I definitely do not recommend using this option if you are using the Windows 10 Technical Preview on a production or daily use computer. If you are using a virtual machine for the Windows 10 Technical Preview, I do recommend creating a checkpoint before updating builds to save time if the new build is unstable.
I also liked the description of the different rings Microsoft uses for testing builds as the preview builds move towards public release. Microsoft described the ring structure in their blog as the description explained why the feature described above was added. As a result of user feedback, Microsoft added a new ring to their existing groups. The existing Windows Insider Ring was basically split into two groups, Fast and Slow. The Fast ring is the Windows Insiders group who are willing to test more frequent builds. The Slow ring is the default group that all Windows Insiders start in but users can switch groups by selecting Fast or Slow on the Preview builds screen.
In this build, Microsoft introduced over 7000 changes to improve functionality or fix issues with the previous build. Most of these changes will not be visible to users but some of the changes such as the ones described later in the article will be noticeable. In addition to the improvements, fixes, and added features, there are some known issues that Microsoft identified in their blog when they announced the release of build 9860.
Before looking at the new features, I am going to mention some known issues that Microsoft identified in their blog announcing the release of build 9860. Microsoft identified a number of known issues in their blog. In addition to those known issues, I have only come across a few other major issues.
One issue that was identified in the blog was Wi-Fi connectivity. After the update to build 9860, many users have been having issues connecting using wireless networks. This is an issue that Microsoft is aware of. The issue is tied to the user interface design being rolled back temporarily. Microsoft stated on the blog that there will be changes to fix this issue later. In the meantime, I recommend using a wired network connection if network or internet access is required.
The first major issue I found is the inability to activate the Windows 10 Technical Preview software on my desktop and laptop computers. I had reinstalled the original build on my virtual machines (VMs) so that I would have a clean installation of Windows 10 Technical Preview to work with but Windows is showing as not activated after updating to the new build. After updating to the new build, I am getting an error that the filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect. I reinstalled Windows 10 Technical Preview on my laptop’s VM to test the activation issue. After the reinstall finished, build 9841 showed that Windows 10 Technical Preview was activated. Updating to build 9860 causes the activation to break again as I was prompted to activate Windows when using the build 9860. It appears that this is definitely an issue that Microsoft will need to resolve before Windows 10 releases.
The Action Center shortcut is broken in the All Apps list for me on my desktop computer. The shortcut can’t find the file needed to run Action Center because the target location is invalid and the file needed cannot be found. Getting to the Action Center from the taskbar works so the problem is just the link in the All Apps list that is broken. On my laptop, Action Center is not showing up in the All Apps list so that appears to be another issue. I have submitted feedback to Microsoft regarding the issues so hopefully, they will be fixed in the next build.
One issue that I commented on in my Windows 10 Technical Preview initial thoughts article concerns the Charm bar functionality. I was wrong when I said the functionality was disabled when using a keyboard and mouse. Apparently, it should be accessible with computers using keyboards and mice but the functionality is not working. It is still bugged in build 9860. Personally, I would prefer that the Charm bar function be disabled on non-touchscreen devices as it gets in the way when trying to use the buttons to resize, minimize, or close window buttons at the top right corner of the full screen windows. Hopefully, Microsoft will provide an option for users to turn it off in the final release.
In build 9860 of Windows 10 Technical Preview, new features were added as part of the over 7000 improvements and fixes. Some of the main ones that were announced by Microsoft on their blog are the addition of notifications from Action Center, Battery Saver, and DataSense from the Windows Phone operating system. The addition of new animations when performing some actions and additional keyboard shortcuts were also announced.
Microsoft added the ability to track notifications to this build of Windows 10 Technical Preview. This feature was carried over from Action Center on the Windows Phone operating system. This feature will combine the notifications from the system and installed apps although it currently only displays some basic notifications. More notifications types and a cleaner user interface will be added in future builds. I like that fact that notifications will be saved using this feature. Previously, notifications from programs would appear but there was no way to save them to look at later on. With the new feature, users can check for notifications they may have missed while away from their PC. Users also can look at notifications that they could not take care when the notification originally popped up. I like this change because at work, I often am back and forth between my computer and the computer lab. There are times that I have missed notifications in the past from programs so this feature will allow me to check for any notifications I have missed. In the image below, there are two items I want to point out. The first item is the Notifications window. Right now, it is empty as I don’t have any notifications. The second item is the icon in the small box below the Notifications Window. That icon is the Notifications icon which is used to open the Notifications window. Hovering over the icon will show whether or not any new notifications have been received.
Battery Saver is a new feature located in the PC Settings section. According to the information on the Battery Saver screen, Battery Saver conserves the battery on mobile devices. I was not able to test this feature as I am using virtual machines. On the VM set up on my laptop, unplugging the power to the laptop made no difference for the VM. Although I was not able to test this feature, I can see how it will benefit users on mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and Windows phones.
DataSense is another feature carried over from Windows Phone. This feature allows users to track their wireless and cellular data use. I was not able to test this feature as my VMs use virtual network adapters to connect to networks. DataSense is another new feature that I think will be very useful for many users, especially those users with mobile devices. DataSense has three sections with an overview page, usage page, and a settings page. The Overview and the Usage pages both show the total usage as well as how much data was used by Wi-Fi and how much data was used by a cellular connection. The Usage page shown below also shows how much of that wireless or cellular data usage was used by system services. The Settings page is used to set restrictions on background data and background data while roaming as well as turn on or off the total data tracker for the device usage.
New animations have been added with this build for various functions in Windows 10 Technical Preview such as animations for opening, minimizing, or closing programs as well as animation were added for when users switch between desktops. These settings can be turned off if users do not want to see animations when they perform actions on the computer. To disable the animations, please use the following steps. The image below shows each of the menus or windows to use.
1. Right-click on the Start button.
2. Select System from the list of functions in the context menu.
3. The System Window will open. On the left side if the window, click on Advanced system settings.
4. The System Properties window will open with the Advanced tab selected. In the section called Performance, click the Settings button.
5. The Performance Options window will open. Click on the radio button for Custom and then uncheck the animations you wish to disable. If you want to enable previously disabled animations, you will need to make sure the options have a checkmark in the box.
6. After making your changes, click OK to apply the changes and then close the Performance Options window.
Additional Keyboard Shortcuts
With this new build, Microsoft also added additional keyboard shortcuts such as WIN + CTRL + <arrow> which is used to move the current app to a different desktop. This is just one of several added shortcuts that are available on another of the Microsoft blog posts.
With this updated build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, Microsoft added several new features. Of these new features, the ones that were brought over from the Windows Phone operating system seem like they will have the most benefit for users although the additional keyboard shortcuts will also benefit users. Personally, I don’t care one way or the other regarding using the animations. I do agree with how Microsoft has implemented them and I also agree with having a way to disable them for users that don’t like seeing them. As this is a technical preview, I was expecting to find issues and I did find more bugs with this new build. There is still a lot of time before Windows 10 releases so the issues I found will be fixed. Microsoft will need to fix the activation issue and the other issue should be a quick fix to change the shortcut’s path to the correct one. I still like the appearance and functionality in the Windows 10 Technical Preview. I am looking forward to when Windows 10 releases and I can install it on my desktop and laptop computers as my primary operating system. If there are any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or email me at the link in my bio.