Talking tech since 2003

Have you been keeping up with the latest and greatest in Windows operating systems? If so, you may already be aware that yesterday, as previously promised, Microsoft released the newest build of its Windows 10 Technical Preview, Build 9860, which can be downloaded via the Update menu. With that new build, the OS has gotten a fair bit of polish here and there, bringing the operating system ever closer to its finished version. So what’s in store for users of Windows 10 this time around?

As we’d heard before, Microsoft has added animations to its bundle of Windows tricks. They’re somewhat subtle, but they make the OS seem a bit friendlier as a whole – almost as though you’re actually interacting with a physical set of objects, rather than pawing at a touchscreen. When you open a new application, the window grows to full size from the taskbar – and performs a similar shrinking animation when you minimize or close the application. Likewise, there’s a new animation for switching between virtual desktops, which can be done by holding Ctrl-Windows and right or left. This video from Neowin demonstrates the action nicely:

That new feature is designed to help users realize when they’ve switched from one virtual desktop to another, limiting confusion and making it easier to find the apps they’re looking for. I haven’t experimented much with virtual desktops yet, but I’m looking forward to diving deeper when the build grows even more stable.

notificationsMicrosoft also added the Notifications feature to the latest build, and it’s actually really good already – to a surprising degree. Again, I’ve barely had time to use it since downloading the new build last night, but so far the Notifications window has kept tabs on the various alerts that head to my computer, ranging from needing to install a new version of Java, some Dropbox files having been synced, and – crucially – new emails I’ve received. It’s a small addition, and more of an outgrowth of the kinds of notifications we’ve gotten used to with smartphones, but it’s a welcome addition.

Microsoft explains that while there are some cool new features in this build, not all is perfect in Windows 10 land. Apparently “in this build we know that it’s harder to join a Wi-Fi network,” for which a fix will be coming shortly. Additionally there are some issues with waking and sleeping some PCs with the new build, and Microsoft Solitaire and Mahjong are flat-out busted in this version of the OS. Alas.

Fixes are coming, though. Considering this new build came less than a month after the first one, it seems that Microsoft is doing all it can to respond to feedback and build the best Windows it can. I’m impressed – what about you?

[Windows Insider Blog]

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