Surprise! Microsoft today pushed a bunch of features from the Windows 10 Insider Preview’s Dev channel over to Beta (20H2). That means that they’re going to arrive in a shipping version of Windows 10 much more quickly than many previously expected.
As you probably know, the Windows 10 Insider Preview Dev channel (previously called the Fast ring) is not tied to a particular Windows 10 version. And the thinking thus far has been that any features tested there would ship in the version of Windows 10 after the next version, meaning 21H1 right now, at the earliest.
But when Microsoft started testing what it calls “theme-aware tiles” in the Start menu in the Dev channel, I described this change as beyond subtle. In fact, it was so minor that I later speculated that this feature could easily ship earlier, in Windows 10 version 20H2. Even though it being in the Dev channel suggested that it couldn’t appear until 21H1 or later.
Well, that’s happening: Theme-aware tiles are among the Windows 10 features that were previously only in the Dev channel that Microsoft just added to the Beta channel (20H2). Others include ALT + TAB support for Microsoft Edge tabs, improved taskbar pins for Microsoft Edge, and the so-called programmable taskbar.
But wait, there’s more: Microsoft is also improving the Windows 10 notification experience, making minor adjustments to Settings, improving the new tablet experience that debuted in Windows 10 version 2004 in subtle ways, and adding a new Local Users and Groups modern device management (MDM) policy for system administrators.
Given the timing—as noted last week, Windows 10 version 20H2 is careening towards its final release—I have to assume that this list of changes constitutes everything new in this coming release.
You know, unless they surprise us next week.