Not that there is such a thing as RTM, of course. On Tuesday—yes, conspiracy fans, exactly when I was flying home from France—Microsoft issued Windows 10 build 10525 to Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring, providing much-needed window color options, memory manager improvements, and more.
I had sort of assumed that we wouldn’t see entire builds going forward, but rather that Microsoft would simply update Windows 10 features individually. But the fact that Microsoft is indeed iterating the entire OS suggests that the only thing that’s really changed in this “rapid release” model is indeed the speed at which Windows is updated. That is, Microsoft is still “building” Windows and bumping up the build number as it goes, as it’s always done. It’s just that we’re gaining access to these new builds now, whereas in the past the public build number of Windows wouldn’t typically change until the next major product version.
And that’s just fine with me.
As you might expect of a new Windows 10 build—and the first such build to ship since Windows 10 was released—this build includes some improvements that Microsoft couldn’t fit into the artificially constrained timeline for that initial release. As such, this Insider build is clearly the first peek at what the public will see in October, when Microsoft delivers the so-called TH2 (Threshold 2) update to the wider world. The way Microsoft describes it, this build also includes changes that were driven by Insider feedback, including this first one, which has been a pet peeve of mine:
Updated color options. If you’re familiar with the initial, shipping version of Windows 10, you know that many windows feature an ugly white title bar or top area, detracting from the overall look and feel of the system. In build 10525, we see that Microsoft will be fixing this for TH2. Now, when you choose an accent color in Settings, it will change the window title bar color too. As it should have always done.
Memory manager improvements. If you’re familiar with how memory management in Windows has worked for, well, almost forever, you know that the OS will keep items in memory to improve performance but will cache items as needed to disk when memory runs out. The Windows 10 memory manager includes a new component called the compression store, which is a sort of middle man between these two states: it lets the OS compress items in memory when memory is running out, and before caching them to disk. “This reduces the amount of memory used per process,” Microsoft explains, “allowing Windows 10 to maintain more applications in physical memory at a time.” This isn’t explained explicitly, but I assume what they’re saying is that this compression store was just added in build 10525 and will thus appear publicly in TH2. (Otherwise, I have to assume it was there in the initial shipping version of Windows 10 and is simply getting better in TH2. It’s not clear.)
Windows Feedback app is now part of Windows 10. While this isn’t technically tied to build 10525, Microsoft has decided to make the Windows Feedback app part of the released version of Windows 10, so all users can take advantage of it. That said, Insiders will get additional features, as explained by this helpful chart:
Known issues. As you might expect of a sort-of-bleeding-edge new build of Windows 10, there are some known issues in 10525 too (and these will be familiar to anyone testing Windows 10 Mobile build 10520). The mobile hotspot doesn’t work in this build. Video playback in Movies & TV is broken, but will be fixed in an app update soon. And optional languages packs are not currently available, but will be again soon. So nothing major.
If you’re not on the Windows Insider Fast ring, you should be. Check out my article Windows 10 Tip: Get New Features and Updates Faster to learn how.