Windows 10 Technical Preview: Update 4 (Build 10041)

It’s been about 50 days since Microsoft released it’s latest Windows 10 Technical Preview build to the public, which is now up to build 10041. Along with the release was news that the Windows team has decided to change the way they pick builds for future releases and the addition of another update speed.

In the past, they picked a date in the future and tried to have everything ready by that date. As a result of a known upcoming date where everything had to be perfect, work usually slowed to ensure they produced a good build with the newest updates. Between the last release and the newer release they eventually gave to the public, there would be at times several good builds that were perfectly fine, other than lacking some of the newest features and fixes. They were tired of losing productivity as they neared the date and instead moved to an escrow based build release system where they take the latest good stable build they encounter and put it into escrow. Each time they come across one of these builds in the future, it too would be put into escrow. By the given date each month that they have roughly penned on the calendar comes around, they simply just release the last build that is in escrow.

The team’s mindset essentially changes as they know they have a good build already saved and don’t worry so much about the fit and finish in their next build. It’s all a “Technical Preview” anyways and not meant to be production ready, so why necessarily treat it that way? Issues will come up that unintentionally get released in the builds, such as the 9926 debacle that let Windows Update come with a branch chooser which was meant to remain internal to the company, and most likely to the Windows group itself.

People that have chosen the Fast track for updates, should expect builds on a monthly basis, but they did note that it’s possible for an occasional additional build per month along the way. The builds produced in the Slow track are the ones that are also selected for the downloadable ISO images on MSDN and the Windows Insider website. There has also evidently been some super serious conversations internally about allowing for a Ludicrous speed track for those who want bleeding edge updates. Alternative names include “warp speed” and “hyperspeed” are also in the running.

As for what is in the update, (full list at Windows blog):

  • The Start menu has been improved since the XAML-based experience was introduced in 9926. The menu also now has transparency, issues with the All Apps button is easier to use with touch, and drag-n-drop apps from All Apps or your most used apps list to pin them to Start was added.
  • Virtual Desktops now allows you to drag a window into a Virtual Desktop. Previously, you had to right-click and use a context menu. You can also drag a window to the “+” icon to both create a Virtual Desktop and move the window to it in single step. This is also now support for a filtered taskbar which only the running windows in a particular Virtual Desktop will show in the taskbar. There is some A/B testing for different defaults for different users to help Microsoft decide what default to use based on feedback. The Alt+Tab key combination is now filtered so you only see the windows on the given Virtual Desktop.
  • Cortana now also works on the desktop in China, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain – in addition to the U.S.
  • Introduced a network fly-out from the taskbar when you click on the network icon for quick access to your network settings. You’ll be able to easily connect to wireless networks from this fly-out. We have more work to do here as the UX isn’t complete just yet.
  • The updated Live Tile for the Photos app will now include your photos on OneDrive in the recent photo rotation where previously you would only see local photos. Lots of performance and reliability improvements across the entire app. Added support for RAW format files, which should be up to date with new major cameras. Implemented first set of keyboard shortcuts for the Photos app – tab, arrow keys and page up/down.
  • Introduced an updated experience for handwriting panel recognition optimized for short text entry. Auto displayed on tap in edit control with pen, positioned near the edit control, provides recognition candidates, suggestions and next word predictions.
  • Experimental Lock screen shares some “did you knows” as well as tips and tricks to help people learn Windows 10.
  • The Windows Insider Feedback app now has the ability to filter your feedback as well as suggestions versus problems. “Me too” functionality shows up in search results so you can quickly add your “Me too” to items from directly from the search results view. Performance improvements around launching the app, category download, search results, and submitting feedback have also been made. For the Insider Hub, the “Your Progress” page was updated to track how many missions you’ve completed, how often you’ve responded to requests for feedback, how much feedback you’ve submitted, and the number of up-votes your feedback has received.

Issues fixed in this build:

  • In 9926 there were several issues which prevented Start from launching, these should all be fixed.
  • Search box now works if you have taskbar on the top/side of your screen.
  • After installing the last build (9926), you saw a boot selection menu when you rebooted your PC. We’ve fixed this and you should no longer see the boot selection menu – unless you’re intentionally dual-booting.
  • Persistent grey thumbnails in the Collection view in the Photos app on Build 9926 should be fixed.

Issues introduced in this build:

  • Some people might hit an issue where the username and password boxes do not appear or don’t accept input when logging in, which will prevent them from logging in. Possible workarounds include clicking the “Switch User” button, using Ctrl+Alt+Del, or pressing the power button on your PC to sleep/resume and try again.
  • It is possible to manually lock your PC during the initial out-of-box experience. If you do this, you will have to hard reboot your PC and restart the OOBE experience.
  • There are several accessibility issues in this build, which may make it difficult to use with Narrator or 3rd party screen readers. Additionally there is an issue where using a Lens after enabling Magnifier may cause the screen to be unusable.
  • Some apps in the Store Beta will fail to install or update due to a licensing issue.
  • In this build, the Mail, Calendar, and People apps may be broken due to a licensing issue with the Store Beta. To get these apps working again, you need to follow these steps:
    • Open powershell as administrator
    • Run the command Get-appxprovisionedpackage –online | where-object {$_.packagename –like “*windowscommunicationsapps*”} | remove-appxprovisionedpackage –online
    • Re-install Mail, People and Calendar from the Store (green tile)
  • You might end up in a state where windows open on your desktop are accidentally visible behind the Start Screen, Task View, Snap Assist, and when rearranging windows in Tablet Mode. This makes it difficult to read text and find what you are looking for. The intended design is that that only the wallpaper is visible behind these surfaces.
  • Creating virtual desktops may result in missing or black thumbnails in Task View.
  • You might notice a chess knight icon on your Lock screen to the right of the screen. This was added by the Lock screen team so they could tell via screenshots if someone was using the new Lock screen or the old one, and will eventually be removed in a future build.
  • Font sizes on the Lock screen on devices with high DPI can be really large.
  • They currently have the Tablet Mode notification turned off by default to address some of the issues they’ve been seeing. The notifications can be turned back on via Settings.
  • The touch keyboard doesn’t show up on login screen which prevents you from unlocking your PC when Narrator is on.
  • Some people might see frequent prompts to restart to install updates, even though no updates need a restart. This prompt can be ignored safely.
  • When you take a picture with the camera app on your PC and tap the circular icon in the top left to view the photo you just took, the Photos app will launch and then crash immediately.