Tonight, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14986 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. This new build features the longest list of new features we’ve seen in a Redstone 2-era release yet.
“Today we are excited to be releasing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14986 for PC to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar writes in a new post to the Windows Experience blog, noting that this build features “a big ole pile o’ features.”
That, as it turns out, is an understatement. So let’s dive right in. Here’s what’s new.
New Cortana functionality. Build 14986 features a long list of Cortana improvements, including the new voice commands for turning off your PC and changing the volume, support for new music apps (iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio) with a new “What’s playing?” voice query, music recognition support for China, full-screen support when your PC is unlocked and idle, and Azure Active Directory (AAD) sign-in support. Whew.
Enterprise cloud printing. A new Enterprise Cloud Printers discovery UI found in Settings, Devices, Printers & Scanners will help corporate users find company printers when signed into AAD. But because the back-end services aren’t yet available, this feature won’t show up yet.
Windows Game Bar improvements. The Windows Game Bar (WINKEY + G) has been updated to support 19 additional games in full-screen mode, including ARMA 3, Battlefield 1, Civilization V, Dark Souls III, Fallout 4, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Mad Max, Mafia 2, NBA 2K16, Overwatch, Star Wars: The Old Republic, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, The Binding of Isaac, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Terraria, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Total War: WARHAMMER, Warframe, and World of Tanks. (This is in addition to the first ten games that were supported with the Anniversary Update.)
Windows Ink improvements. The Screen Sketch app now supports the ability to resume previous sketches so you don’t lose any work, new previews for the pen, pencil and highlighter flyouts in all Windows Ink apps, and finer ruler controls. And now the mouse cursor will disappear when you’re inking for a more realistic feel.
UWP app rendering changes. The rendering engine used by most Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps has been changed, so it’s possible you’ll see occasional visual glitches.
Narrator improvements. This build includes a number of improvements to Narrator, including keyboard shortcuts to hear additional information about fonts, colors, line spacing, margins and more; Context Awareness changes; a new keyboard shortcut for getting advanced information about the selected item (CAPS LOCK + 0, used to be CAPS LOCK + FN), and various fixes.
Windows Defender Dashboard. A new Windows Defender Dashboard debuts in this build, providing a friendlier front-end to Windows 10’s security and health features. Dona warns that the Dashboard is “a work-in-progress and not fully functional just yet.”
Registry Editor improvements. Microsoft has added standard File Explorer keyboard shortcuts to the Registry Editor so it’s easier to navigate with the keyboard. You can use ALT + UP ARROW to go up, ALT + LEFT ARROW to go back, and ALT + RIGHT ARROW to go forwards. You can also customize the font used by the Registry Editor now.
A temporary change to the USB Audio 2 Class Driver. Microsoft introduced the new USB Audio 2 Class Driver in a previous build, but Windows 10 would use a third-party driver instead if one was available. For testing purposes, the built-in USB Audio 2 Class Driver will now be used regardless, but this will change over time to the normal behavior.
Improved update experience. This is unrelated to the UUP “pause” last week, but this build does include two improvements to updating. First, if Windows Update is unable to find a good time to restart your machine to apply the latest updates, you will now get be prompted to “Restart now”, “Schedule” a time that works for you, or simply “Remind me later” which will not apply the update but offer you these options again, Dona says. Second, there’s now a simplified process for freeing up disk space if needed for upgrading.
Improvements for Asia. Perhaps inspired by this week’s WinHEC show in China, this build also includes several updates tied to Asia and Asian languages.
There are many other smaller fixes, and some known issues too, of course. Be sure to check out the original Microsoft blog post for a complete rundown of each.