Microsoft Updates Calculator in New Windows 10 Fast Ring Build

Posted on January 17, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 25 Comments

Microsoft has released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 19546 to Insiders in the Fast ring, and it has one new feature. Which may or may not be in the next version of Windows 10, because that’s the system we’re working with now.

Actually, it’s even stranger than that if you really think about it. This particular change is just one new feature in one Store app that happens to ship with Windows 10. So it could technically be added to any supported version of Windows 10 at any time. Meaning, it doesn’t have to be—should not be—restricted to Windows 10 version 20H2 or later.

But that’s the system, right? We’re testing features now in the Fast ring. Including, apparently, new features inside of existing apps.

In this case, Calculator. (Or, as the Insider post refers to it, “Windows Calculator.” A name that appears nowhere in Windows 10 that I can see. Not in the Start menu, not in the app’s title bar, not in the app’s About box. And not in Task Manager when the app is running. I don’t why this stuff bugs me so much, but the lack of precision in these posts continues to amaze.)

And the new feature? It’s a new graphing mode that Microsoft says is one of its top feature requests in Feedback Hub. Which is interesting, given all the important things that still need to be fixed in Windows 10.

Still, it’s obviously useful for certain people, like students. Or, even “empowering,” as Microsoft claims, because everything has to be empowering these days. It will let you—sorry, empower you to—plot one or more equations on the graph, add equations with variables, and analyze the graph. It looks pretty cool. Doesn’t seem to warrant an entire build. But cool, sure.

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Microsoft Updates Calculator in New Windows 10 Fast Ring Build”

  1. RobertJasiek

    MS should first fix all bugs of the W10 calculator. Under W7, it was bug-free so I use the W7 version in W10...!

  2. MikeGalos

    Paul, if it bothers you that much then file a bug against the name of the application.


    That's what beta testing is all about.

  3. tomker

    Calculator? How about some attention to something that really needs it -- the Mail and Calendar app.

  4. sandeepm

    Duh! Windows Calculator is the best calculator, even without graphing. Pity it is not available on Android. No one uses calculator on a PC.

    Actually, bing search is also a very good calculator.

  5. hrlngrv

    The return of XP's Powertoy Calculator? Great if true.

    As for Feedback Hub, MSFT pays attention to what it wants to pay attention to. Claims of 'top feature request' rank right up there with 'the check's in the mail' and 'I'd never cheat on you'. This was easy to do (MSFT already had code to do this more than a decade ago, and that ignores Excel's code base), and it'll look good. Cheap eyewash is always a winner in Redmond.

  6. madthinus

    I would prefer they bring back the worksheet functions they had in the Windows 7 calculator. Those where very handy. Calculated my house bond it while hunting for a house.

  7. Jim Lewis

    Amazing how negative Paul can get about a very useful feature that needs to be tested before it's put in the Store or released as part of Windows. If it was made widely available and discovered to have serious bugs, Paul would be on MS's case for not adequately testing it before it was released, e.g., see comments about problems with previous Win10 versions, too rapid release, etc. Since it's a useful, requested, but not particularly crucial feature, what's wrong with MS favoring its own priorities and so on in how it goes about releasing the graphing feature-Fast Ring Insiders are those who've volunteered to be on the bleeding edge for whatever reasons. It's not as if the masses of "normal" people are clamoring for a graphing calculator in Windows 10 (or WinX). But it might be a relatively more important feature in selling Win devices in the educational market - but I don't think MS wants to test the graphing feature out first on school children....

  8. Cdorf

    My biggest thing is that why did we shorten the life of our SSD's to pull down a whole new build for a store app that could have been put in any ring at anytime?

  9. Vitor Canova Weingaertner

    They should fix Ctrl+C Ctrl+V first. Many people complain that sometimes you try paste and nothing happen. You can even see the data in transfer area using Windows+V but paste fail. I reported it years ago. No answer.

  10. Intara

    Regarding the "top feature request" graphing mode: M$ did not include the source code of this graphing mode into the github source code repository of "Calc.exe". What is quite strange, because they wanted to promote UWP apps by releasing the Calc.exe source code.


    "To that end, the UI from the official in-box Windows Calculator is currently part of this repository, although the proprietary Microsoft-built graphing engine, which also drives graphing in Microsoft Mathematics and OneNote, is not." (source: Readme.md in github.com/microsoft/calculator)


  11. robert_wood

    Texas Instruments just had a stroke.

  12. Pierre Masse

    Leave Britney... Euh, sorry... Leave Windows Insiders alone!!!!! (Cry)

  13. hoyty76

    Alternate headline suggestion - Paul dislikes WIP communication, oh and new build with calculator. Seems the headline feature was discussed in less than half the article.

  14. thejoefin

    From what I can tell on Windows Calculator repository on GitHub, the graphing feature will eventually be rolling out to all users. Microsoft is using the insider rings to test builds of the Calculator. The new build is not a requirement for this feature, anyone can get the code and build the app on their machine. The program is called the Windows Insider program, and since Calculator is a built in app it makes sense that the Insider team would be the one discussing feedback and announcing releases. A little odd that they include this announcement to a build post instead of just another post.


    As for the naming, I'd guess this is the kind of thing where when you work at Microsoft there are a ton of different products with some form of calculator. Calling it Windows Calculator is instantly understandable. When I read a post about the "Windows Calculator" I don't read it as the entire product name being "Windows Calculator", but instead I see "Windows" as an adjective. Also it is very common to me to hear people use it this way when talking about Windows components: Windows Applications, Windows Taskbar, Windows APIs, Windows Mail app, etc. None of these are the technically precise names, just what people call them to be precise enough to minimize confusion.

  15. branpurn

    Windows Calculator. The calculator that is distributed with Windows. Windows, Calculator. Doesn't bother me that much. ?

  16. vernonlvincent

    I see your point, but in the hierarchy of Microsoft Sins - this doesn't bother me too much. Different teams work on different things, and get finished - or ready to demo - at different times. My guess is that this was ready-enough to slip into whatever build came next, and so they did it.


    I get your point about precision, but - again, for me - the difference between calling something Calculator vs. Windows Calculator is the same as the difference between calling something Word vs. Microsoft Word. It's not like sudden and ineffable confusion is likely to result from the inclusion of an (albeit redundant or unnecessary) word in this instance.


    And taking the feature on its own merits - it's a really nice thing to have that should have been done a lot time ago.

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