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Are you a Windows Insider? If so, that means that you’re testing out the Technical Preview of Windows 10, a new (and kinda old) twist on the Windows operating system that blends the best bits of Windows 7 and Windows 8. Yesterday, Microsoft released a new version of the preview, called Build 9879, which offers some new features and improvements – along with new instabilities! Hooray for unstable operating system previews! Join us and read about what’s new in Windows.

One of the major new features is the introduction of Windowing and Gesture improvements, the former of which are exclusive to users with Precision Touchpads (like those on the Surface Pro), and the latter of which refers to using Snap Assist across multiple monitors. Here are the new gestures you can use to navigate Windows:

  • 3 finger up: Task View
  • 3 finger down: Show Desktop
  • 3 finger flick to left or right: switches to previous app (go back 1)
  • 3 finger move left or right: Alt-Tab (Task View) pops up and you can select the app you want (remove fingers to select)
  • 3 finger tap: Search

The new version of Windows also made changes to how OneDrive works, with the intention of making it easier for users to figure out which files are being stored online only, and which are synced to their hard drives. I’ve shied away from using OneDrive because I’ve found it endlessly confusing; I’ve stuck with Dropbox as a result. With these new changes, however, I might start to migrate over.

There are also a few new tweaks that Microsoft made to the build based on feedback, like improved animations, and a new icon for the Options button in Modern apps. Gone are the “three dots,” and in is the “hamburger” button – the famous “three lines” that’s been a staple of Android apps for quite a while now. Since so many users have experience with that particular icon, it makes sense that Windows would incorporate it as well. Microsoft also added the option to remove the Search and Task View buttons that are new to Windows 10. Personally, I’ve left them in – but now you have the ability to take them out if you want to unclutter your taskbar as much as possible.

Then, of course, there’s the stuff that’s not working. The Windows Blog explains that logging in or unlocking the new version of Windows may present a black screen, and the only solution is a hard reboot. Make sure you save your files before putting your computer to sleep, okay? Then there’s also some issues with hard drive space:

“Some systems may see disk growth of 20GB+ due to driver install duplication. On systems with low disk space this can block setup and cause a rollback to the previous build.”

Overall, it sounds like things are moving forward nicely on the new build. However, if you’re using the technical preview, don’t forget that things are…fluid, at best. For instance, if you bought the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter, thinking you could cast your screen to your TV, you will be in for a sad surprise – just like me! It doesn’t work with the technical preview. That, and other issues, will keep cropping up. Even still, it’s interesting to use the OS as it evolves. I’m looking forward to putting this latest build through its paces. Your thoughts?

[Microsoft Windows Blog]


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