Windows 10 Technical Preview: Update 7 (Build 10074)

I’m about a week late to publishing this article, but better than never.

Just as I expected to NOT hear at BUILD 2015 conference’s keynote in San Francisco, there would be no announcement on a release date for Windows 10. It looks as though the release schedule for Windows 10 remains the same as it’s been the last few times. A late July code freeze and bug bash with an RTM date in the late part of the month, followed by a few weeks before MSDN or general availability.

Visual Studio has finally moved from a Community Technical Preview to a Release Candidate, which I’d expect to see probably see two release of given the time left before going RTM. Given that Roslyn has also just released a second Release Candidate with a “go-live” license, it means it’s language complete and now officially supported by Microsoft in a Production environment.

Below is the latest information on the 10074 build, or take a look at the official announcement up on the Windows blog, which includes some sample commands for Cortana and the expanded list of markets that the Windows Store is now available.

Features included in the update:

  • General user experience improvements including a new Live Tile animation for Start in addition to some performance and stability improvements for Live Tiles. Work to better support high DPI displays, and support multiple monitors with different DPI so components scale correctly regardless of DPI. Aero Glass from Windows 7 has made a comeback of sorts through a little A/B test with this build – 50% will see normal transparency on the Start menu and taskbar while the other 50% will see a blur effect on the Start menu and taskbar (like frosted glass).
  • Improvements to Continuum and simplified taskbar. When you close an application in Tablet mode, it will take you back to the Start screen instead of the desktop as you would expect when using a tablet. You will see general polish on snapping, and the shared divider between two snapped windows now let’s you adjust the size.
  • Multi-tasking improvements around Alt-Tab, Task-View, and Snap Assist. Snap Assist also now supports the ability to close a window during Snap Assist.
  • Updates for the Music and Video Preview apps (both at v3.6.999.0) has some UX improvements including a more immersive Now Playing experience with a true full screen mode. With the Video Preview app you can download movies, TV shows, and TV seasons and check progress, pause, resume, cancel the download. You can also download, delete, and even re-download videos as many times as you want on up to three devices (they’re planning to increase the number of devices you can download content too). Closed captioning for purchased content now appears. 
  • New default Windows sounds.
  • Visual refresh for Cortana that makes the experience feel more ingrained into the overall Windows experience. Start and Cortana are now more tightly integrated. As you start to search for an app from within Start, Cortana can seamlessly take over and bring back the right result. The new Windows split view control has been added to Cortana’s left rail, offering quick access to key Cortana functionality like the Notebook, Reminders or Feedback on how Cortana’s doing. This split view control helps anchor Cortana to the rest of the Windows UI and provides navigation consistent with many other Windows first party applications.
  • New and updated experiences in Cortana powered by Bing Instant Answers. Cortana will aim to answer your question while you’re still typing.
  • The Xbox app for Windows 10 has been updated (your version number should be 4.4.9014.0 or higher) with new features like Game DVR for PC games, screenshots, a Live Tile, user profiles, and real-name sharing. Oh and the drivers for Xbox controllers are now included with Windows 10, so you no longer have to download and install controller drivers on Windows 10. For more on this month’s Xbox app for Windows 10 update as well as the new Avatars app – read this blog post.
  • Windows Store Beta improvements which is now a blue tile instead of grey. Xbox Live games should be working and so are in-app purchases. Apps you purchased on a PC running Windows 8.1 will now show up in the Store Beta on Windows 10 as owned (and vice-versa). They’re also expanding the Store Beta beyond the previous 41 markets.
  • Discovering features and apps in Windows 10 through easy “bite-sized” learning and discovery experiences. This ranges from tips and tricks on the Lock screen, to helping users discover high quality apps through Start, the Lock screen and Cortana.

Issues fixed in this build:

  • You can now launch Win32 (desktop) apps from the Start menu again.
  • You should be able to download music in the Xbox Music and Music Preview apps.
  • When you minimize an app playing audio, it should continue playing in the background.

Issues introduced in this build:

  • Developers cannot enable Developer Mode in the Settings app for installing and testing apps on this build. We’ll enable this in an upcoming build. In the meantime, you will need enable your device for development using the Group Policy Editor.
  • There is an issue in this build preventing some games from playing in full screen mode. We’re working to get a fix out via WU as soon as possible.
  • The People app continues to crash. We’re planning to release an update for the People app through the Store Beta that fixes this.

There is apparently also a new dark mode that can make parts of the OS even darker than the personalization features allow you to today. For the most part, it turns the pane backgrounds in the Settings app to black. To give it a spin…

  1. Open the Registry Editor
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\Personalize
  3. Create DWORD key: SystemUsesLightTheme
  4. DWORD Value = 0
  5. Reboot the computer

If you wish to revert to the light theme, just toggle the DWORD value to ‘1’ and reboot.