Microsoft Begins Testing Updated Touch Experience with Latest Windows 10 Release

Posted on August 29, 2019 by Brad Sams in Windows, Windows 10 with 33 Comments

Microsoft has released a new Windows 10 build today and with it comes a new mode that is designed to make it easier to use 2-in-1 devices. Sporting the build number 18970, if you are a Fast ring user, you can grab the bits now.

In this release, the company is testing a refined look for the desktop for users of 2-in-1 devices. The idea is to make it easier to use touch-enabled devices with Windows 10, an area that has regressed with the OS when compared to Windows 8. To be clear, this is not replacing the tablet UI, it’s an odd in-between mode for when a devicec is in tent mode.

These are the changes with this build that make it easier to use on 2-in-1 hardware:

  • Increased spacing between Taskbar icons.
  • Search box on taskbar collapsed into an icon.
  • File Explorer switches to touch-optimized layout
  • Touch keyboard auto invokes when you tap text fields.

Also being introduced with this build is the ability to reset a PC from the cloud. This new option allows you to re-download Windows when you need to reset your device which is handy for those times you can’t find the USB stick that has the ISO of Windows on it that you lost a long, long, time ago.

Keep in mind that if you use the cloud restore option, it will remove all the apps that you have installed on your device.

And finally, the new Cortana experience is now available for all insiders but before you install this release, make sure to check out the known issues log.

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Comments (33)

33 responses to “Microsoft Begins Testing Updated Touch Experience with Latest Windows 10 Release”

  1. fishnet37222

    What I'd like them to fix is the ability to turn off tablet layout when you have a mouse and keyboard connected to the device.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to fishnet37222: There is a setting that automatically switches from tablet to desktop, depending on whether the device detects a keyboard. Works fine on my Surface devices, folding the keyboard back or pulling it off. Are you saying it doesn't switch to desktop when you plug in a regular keyboard and it is set to switch on detect? Personally I keep my Go always in Tablet, unless I intentionally switch, and my Pro always in desktop, again, unless I intentionally switch. The setting allow that and also the annoying 'always ask before switching'.

  2. productreview

    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man,Keep it up.

  3. justme

    I dont know. I dont see any of those things making touch "easier" per se, just different. As you and others point out, touch regressed from Windows 8.1 in 10. I dont think 8.1 had everything correct, but it was better IMO than 10's implementation. I think the 8.1 interface needed to be better blended with the desktop so you didnt feel like you had two different systems.

    Of course, I also dont understand the hype behind the cloud restore option. I'm sure I am in the minority here, though, as I dont know of anyone who would ever use it. Me, if I am going to wipe the PC (which is essentially what you are doing), I'll have media on hand, even if I need to re-download it ahead of time. Wifi is great and all, until it quits working.

  4. bboney


    I develop WPF apps for industrial environments that use the touchscreen functionality of Windows 10 for HMI (Human Machine Interface) solutions. Windows 10 (IoT Enterprise Version) has been a much better solution than Windows 7 ever was for touch. There are some weird caveats. Essentially we want a kiosk-type experience. However, the simplest thing, like having a startup app is a pain-staking process. Would love to see them make this easy. Especially in an IoT version. Thanks for your insight.

  5. Rob_Wade

    What a laugh. These aren't anywhere close to "improvements" for touch users. In fact, they're almost an insult. Even going through the settings to make fonts bigger, etc., the user experience for touch is painful. I HATE the desktop focus. I HATE IT!!!!!!! It is NOT the way I want to operate anymore, yet the majority are driving MS to do things this way and it's horrific.

  6. Martin Sjöholm

    I'm happy to see that Cortana is finally available in Swedish ... wait, hold on ... this is just in ... ah ... sorry, that was a mistake. Microsoft does not care about their AI enough to bother bringing it to all markets. So, Siri will step in and do the job for you. And now, the weather.

  7. rm

    Great to see MS is showing they care about touch again! Keep the changes coming!

  8. codymesh

    I find most of the basic 'core' Windows 10 ui usable with touch - which is to say, the taskbar, the start menu, the action center etc.

    The problem is, as usual, using old apps with touch and with websites not designed with touch in mind.

    Also less important, but obviously touch doesn't work when you run into older parts of Windows like when Settings lead you to open an old-school dialog box, and File Explorer remains a sore spot.

  9. dontbeevil

    "Touch keyboard auto invokes when you tap text fields."

    but this was already available for a while.

    glad that this article was written by Brad

    • Thom77

      In reply to dontbeevil:

      Actually, at least on my Go, you have to touch the text field TWICE to get the keyboard to pop up. Seems trivial, but it's actually very annoying

      • MikeCerm

        In reply to Thom77:

        Even more annoying is how the touch keyboard has a tendency to cover the text box you're trying to type into. This is basically never a problem on Android or iOS. Since Windows has almost no touch-optimized apps, it should be a priority to devise a solution that works in browsers and old-school apps.

  10. boots

    So now there are 3 modes for 2-in-1 laptops. One for Laptop mode, one for Tent mode and one for Tablet mode.

    Is this supposed to simplify things? Why would you want a different experience with Tent mode than with Tablet mode?

    P.S. There must be a whole generation of kids who have never seen a tent that has the classic triangle roof shape, most tents are dome shaped now. They must wonder why the hell it's called "Tent" mode.

  11. SvenJ

    They did this before in Windows 7, before anyone realized Win 7 could have a touch screen. (that's sarcasm). It increased the size of many touch targets, and increased spacing between them, notably in Office product ribbons. Ironically Office products were where one would least likely to be using your fingers.

    I am glad they are not removing 'Tablet Mode' as I find it reasonably functional on my Surface Go, which is used as a tablet much of the time. It is as functional as the iPad UI, IMHO. There is a main screen with tiles, as opposed to icons, that launch apps. Apps launch full screen, and you can do split screen. iPad OS is a bit better once in apps, but it is derived from an OS that was always touch first, so developers had to think that way. Windows has always been keyboard and mouse first, and touch was an afterthought. As much as 'everyone' hated Win 8, it is what made at least some developers start thinking about touch and tablet. To bad few of those developers were at MS. Those that were, were on Windows Phone.

  12. jimchamplin

    If they want to improve tablet mode...

    Just put the Windows 8 UI in the place of the wimpy Windows 10 tablet mode.

    Done deal! It was everything 10's tablet mode isn't. That is, it was good and not absolute garbage.


    Lots of people with big soapboxes "hated" the Windows 8 UI and Microsoft reacted in a kneejerk way.

    That was a mistake. Now those of us who didn't have a buck to make have to deal with that crock of shit.

  13. ebnador

    I wish they would improve the existing tablet mode. I leave my surface in tablet mode all the time, i only use the keyboard cover to input data. I'd like them to add more swipe gestures, like phones have, and to make the on screen keyboard like a phone, that never covers the input field. Then I'd never use the keyboard cover.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to ebnador: You know you can float your keyboard, right. I don't often have issues with the keyboard covering the input field, but do notice it seems to be app dependant. Facebook is the worst, but then their Windows app is dismal overall.

  14. bcollins

    This new touch mode seems like a regression to something more like the normal desktop whereas touch mode should be making the experience more iPad like.

  15. PeteB

    Christ. Give the touch nonsense a rest, MS. nobody cares

  16. IanYates82

    Interesting... So I can stay in desktop mode on my surface, but remove the keyboard and stay in desktop mode (multi window, etc) but have a better touch experience.

    Sounds pretty good to me. I wish they made it more explicit as a mode though.

    It'll also be annoying if I use touch to select a field but use the physical keyboard to type - so long as it goes away when I physically type it'd be OK.

    Also things I learn from the release notes.... Windows still has infra-red support! Takes me back ?

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