Microsoft Releases Biggest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build Yet

Posted on January 9, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 61 Comments

Microsoft Releases Biggest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build Yet

Today, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 build 15002 was available for Insiders on the Fast ring. One thing is already clear: This is the biggest Creators Update build so far.

Let me rattle through the many changes while I download and install this build.

Microsoft Edge improvements

Tab preview bar. Today, Edge provides a tab preview in a pop-up window when you mouse over each tab. But in this build, Microsoft has added a new tab preview bar that is accessible via a caret next to the new tab button: When selected, a new tab preview bar appears so you can scan visually through the list of open web sites.

Set these tabs aside. Edge now provides a new UI for setting aside tabs—cleaning up the user interface so you can work without the distractions—and then get them back when you’re ready to access the “tabs you’ve set aside.” Eh. This seems kind of superfluous to me: If you need a fresh browser window, just open a new one.

Jump list. Edge now supports a jump list, a feature Microsoft first added to Windows in Windows 7. Nice to see the modern web browser jumping on this modern Windows feature. Cough. 🙂

Flash Click-to-Run. Edge finally blocks untrusted Flash content by default, though you can enable it on the fly with a new toolbar button, and choose between “Allow once” and “Always allow.”

Web payments. Edge now supports the Payment Request API, meaning you can now use payment methods configured in Microsoft Wallet to pay for things on compatible web sites.

Performance and reliability improvements. Thanks to a new “UWP architecture for its multi-process model,” Edge should be more stable, responsive, and resilient, Microsoft says.

Start improvements

Tile folders. Windows 10 now supports tile folders in Start, or what’s called Live Folders in Windows phone, because why be consistent. “Tile folders are a way for you to organize and personal your tiles in Start, and we’re happy to now bring this to Windows 10 PCs,” Microsoft’s Dona Sarkar explains. “To get started, drag and drop a tile on top of another tile in Start to create a folder.” Yes, just as with Windows Phone.

Shell improvements

New Share experience. As expected, Microsoft has begun rolling out the new Share experience it previewed at the Creators Update event in October 2016. Now, Share appears as a flyout instead of a Windows 8-style pane. And the old Windows 8-style WIN + H keyboard shortcut has been removed.

Capture a screen region. Because OneNote Mobile is included with Windows 10, it is a part of Windows 10, and thus a new OneNote Mobile feature is now a new Windows 10 feature? Got it? Good, because now you can capture part of the screen and then copy it to the clipboard by typing WIN + SHIFT + S. If you’re using Outlook 2016, this will replace the similar functionality in that app.

Improved high DPI support for desktop apps. Given my contention that Microsoft may never be able to fix high DPI in Windows, this one is very interesting: This build update individual in-box apps to be more scalable in high DPI, including Performance Monitor (Perfmon), and it allows the user to enable this on (some) individual apps (!). To do so, right-click on the application’s .exe file, select Properties, navigate to the Compatibility tab, and then turn on System (Enhanced) DPI scaling. Then click OK. “This setting overrides the way that applications handle DPI scaling (which sometimes uses bitmap stretching and can result in applications rendering blurry) and forces them to be scaled by Windows,” Ms. Sarkar explains. “The setting that was previously labeled Disable display scaling on high DPI settings is now referred to as Application scaling.” Note that this works only for apps that use GDI. So you’ll need to test this on an app-by-app basis.

Smoother window resizing. Thanks to complaints about bad window resize animations, Microsoft has fixed this issue and made this resizing effect smoother.

Desktop icon placement and scaling improvements. This was another big complaint, especially from those who dock and undock their PC. Now, Windows will handle these types of changes better, Microsoft says. But what about when you switch between portrait and landscape, one wonders? That screws everything up.

Simpler, faster VPN. The Network taskbar flyout now features a Connect link for those who have a VPN configured. So you no longer need to visit VPN Settings to connect to your VPN.

Lunar calendar support. The Calendar taskbar flyout now supports Simplified and Traditional Chinese lunar calendars, which you can view alongside the current Gregorian date.

Improved notifications. Developers can now create custom subgroups for their app notifications in Action Center. You can learn more here.

Windows Ink improvements

UX improvements. The Windows Ink pen, pencil and highlighter controls have been updated so that they display the currently-selected color.

Point erase. A new point erase tool has been added to the Sketchpad and Screen Sketch apps.”This means that now you have the option of deleting your whole ink stroke or erasing only pieces of it,” Ms. Sarkar writes. “You can select your desired option by tapping the eraser icon, where you’ll find new options to switch between eraser types.”

Taskbar improvements. If you are using a multi-monitor system, the Windows Ink Workspace button will appear on the taskbar on every display.

Cortana improvements

App-specific commmand suggestions. Now, as you start typing commands into the Cortana search box, Cortana will suggest app-specific commands. If you’re not sure which apps support this functionality, check out this neat Better with Cortana apps collection in the Windows Store.

Reminders improvements. Now, you have more reminders occurrences from which to choose, including “every month” and “every year.”

Keyboard shortcut changes. The WINKEY + C keyboard shortcut was removed in the Anniversary Update but it’s making a comeback: Now it’s there, but off by default. You can re-enable it in Settings. Or, you can use the new WINKEY + SHIFT + C shortcut to invoke the App Charms menu, which is seen in the title bar of Windows 8 apps.

Accessibility improvements

Build 15002 introduces a ton of accessibility improvements, including Cortana support during Setup, Narrator support for WinPE (Windows Preinstallation Environment) and WinRE (Windows Recovery Environment), Braille support, various Narrator improvements, and improved legibility in high contrast modes.

Windows Defender improvements

Windows Defender gets a lot of improvements, such as new options to run quick, advanced, or full scans; device performance and health scans with PC health reports; visual improvements to Family options; Settings improvements; and various bug fixes and improvements.

Settings improvements

The Settings app gets a ton of improvements. I’m only listing the highlights:

Improved layout and design. Settings has been overhauled so that you can find what you need, and get more information, more easily.

Bluetooth & Other Devices settings. Microsoft has finally combined Connected Devices and Bluetooth settings into a single Bluetooth & Other Devices settings. I never understood why these were separate.

Display settings improvements. Likewise, Microsoft has finally put the most frequently-needed Display settings in, get this, Display settings. Previously, you needed to visit a Control Panel UI to access such “advanced” settings as the screen resolution, which was always silly.

Lower blue light. Yep, f.lux is finally superfluous.

Blue Screen of Death

The Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) has become the Green Screen of Death (GSOD) on Windows Insider builds only so that Microsoft can “more easily distinguish Windows Insider reports vs the reports of those on production builds.”

There is SO much more. But check out the Microsoft blog post for the full list. This build is nuts.


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Comments (63)

63 responses to “Microsoft Releases Biggest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build Yet”

  1. 8834

    Paul didn't mention this in his post, but they've also updated Windows Update to allow people to turn off receiving driver updates.  I suspect that will make a lot of people happy.

  2. 5767

    Yet they still can't fix Edge's disastrous favorites management.

  3. 214

    "Set these Tabs Aside" sounds very useful to me... I often have separate projects going that include lots of research and references. Being able to save and recall those tabs easily would be useful. Indeed - and I kid you not - I've got 21 tabs open right now...

    I would add: I hope they've allowed grouping of tabs as well. That would be outstanding.

    Actually, done well, this might replace favorites for me. And obviate the need for shortcuts on the desktop - of which I have many.

    So, it all depends on your use case.


  4. 214

    Because accurate is more important than consistent: The folders are full of tiles, not lives.

    And according to that Thurrott guy, Windows phone was a write-off anyway, so it's not like a huge user base will experience mass confusion. :-)

    • 2525

      In reply to chrisrut:

      Yeah I was thinking they avoided the name because they're not "live" once put into folders in Windows 10.  I don't have my old 920 available at the moment (kids have it with them and they're away for a few days) but I think the "foldered" tiles still updated.

  5. 5530

    "Scaling perfomend by"

    lol. But it's nice that they give us the option to override the application's scaling now. I still continue to be surprised at the number of Win32 apps that use their own UI frameworks that ignores display scaling completely.

    Edge's toolbar is getting cluttered, I hope they give us the option of customizing it. Google's approach with Chrome was for the browser to have as little "click points" as possible. I think that is the way to go.

  6. 9932

    In reply to glenn8878:

    How are they too late?  Surely you'd rather have them now than not ever.  Besides, holding up iOS as any kind of standard for a launcher is almost comical.  Nearly 10 years and you still can't put an app in the bottom right of a page without filling up the entire page with apps first.  An interface with just unread counts on apps and no ability to resize them or show any kind of content.  There's a lot to like about iPhones/iPads, but I don't count a launcher virtually untouched in 10 years as one of them.

  7. 241

    I am waiting for the day when we can customize the color of the SODs. I have always wanted a rainbow screen of death (RwSOD).

  8. 722

    Is there an option to repeat reminders every weekday? 

  9. 514

    This is certainly a gangbusters release for me.  First, the update appears faster -- on my Insider Surface Pro 1 box, the update completed before I had finished reading Dona Sarkar's blog describing the changes (:grin). (I run Windows 10 Pro on all my machines).

    On my Windows 10 machines I have decided only to use MS Edge.  My work style is to have lots of tabs open at one time (I often have in excess of 80 tabs open at once -- tabs are essentially my todo list).  The changes to tab handling may make my work style better -- we'll see.  I have been asking for tab handling improvements in Edge since day 1 -- fingers crossed. If putting tabs aside reduces their resource requirements, then this change will be huge!

    Tile folders are something I've been asking for since the Insiders program began -- it's about time -- hopefully it'll be a little easier to use than the similar feature on W10M.

    The settings & defender improvements look very good.

    The Creators update is beginning to look like a very very desirable update :-)

  10. 8691

    Windows hello stopped working as you get an error that the camera couldn't start at login.  don't know if there is a work around to fix that


  11. 1088

    I want live tiles on my desktop...

  12. 3901

    The application throttling sounds interesting. This sounds similar to what Apple does on IOS which dictates what memory apps can use. I wonder if Windows is going down the same direction.

  13. 180

    I'll be really interested in how the High DPI support is different. I have a High DPI screen precisely because I like things to be sharp and clear, and having to choose between fuzzy or tiny, as I do right now for some apps, is not a great place to be in.

  14. 473

    I decided to go back to the insider Fast Ring again and get this and boy that was a mistake. Constantly Green Screening with some kind of driver fault in "sbapifs.sys" whatever driver that is!?

    Needless to say after the 4th random GSOD I reverted back, it's clearly way too unstable yet!

  15. 2620

    Set these tabs aside...  Eh. This seems kind of superfluous to me: If you need a fresh browser window, just open a new one.

    Here's the thing, have you ever opened a tab in a new browser window and forgot you did it? And then later when you think you're closing the browser you realize (usually after a restart or shutdown) you closed the window with 19 tabs open and NOT the windows with the 1 tab open? Well, if you have, it's a pain. The next time you open the browser all the other 19 tabs are gone because you closed the wrong window first. It means a visit to history, and that doesn't always make it easy to get back to the 19 tabs you closed. I hates it when that happens!

  16. 1087

    Anyone else having issues with Edge not working at all?  Since last update 14962? I open Edge and it will not respond to any bookmarks or manually entering in URLs.  It just sits clocking....nothing.  It is like a dead app.

  17. 5534

    Was reading about this article about the new release on my cell phone so went to my desktop to install it, and it was already installed. While I'm sure all the conspiracy theorists out there wouldn't like that, I actually did. It installed at about 1:00 last night, and I didn't have to mess with it.

  18. 5534

    I just discovered something with the tabs in Internet Explorer with this new build. There's a new tab next to the "New Tab" tab, called Open Microsoft Edge. Clicking it opens Edge to a Google performance benchmark chart that shows how much faster Edge is than Chrome or Firefox.

    Also, Internet Explorer has become incredibly slow, taking about 20 to 30 seconds to open each new web page. Well, except for that Open Microsoft Edge tab, which opens pretty fast.

  19. 10662

    Yes, Microsoft announced an important update of windows 10, it seems to be the biggest updated ever, almost they have worked on every feature including the latest 'Windows taskbar flyout' feature now has a front “connect button” to use VPN for security directly without going to VPN settings every time.

  20. 6358

    All these so-called improvements to the start menu and Microsoft still fails to understand that we want to pin items to the START MENU, not as bloody over-sized static live tiles!

  21. 473

    Have they put "refresh" on the right-click menu when you right click the background of a web page that is THE most annoying thing about Edge for me I do it every time and then have to hunt up to the refresh button on the toolbar at the top.

  22. 442

    Welp, my SP3 didn't like the update.   Stopped at 22% and hung for the past almost 2 hours...   Oh well.

  23. 442

    This update seemed to take a while, so glad to see a lot of work finally making into the releases. 

  24. 6956

    Daniel Rubino on the Windows Central podcast called f.lux "eff dot lux" and "eff lux," which totally reminded me of "P Interest."

  25. 622

    There are some pretty big known issues. So, please read before jumping-in...


    "Cortana’s cross-device scenarios won’t work on this build (including notification mirroring, missed call, share photos, share directions, low battery, and find my phone)."


    "When projecting to a secondary monitor, if you set the connection to “Extended”, Explorer.exe may start crashing in a loop. If this happens, turn off your PC, disconnect the secondary monitor, then restart your PC."


    • 2394

      In reply to VasiS:

      "When projecting to a secondary monitor, if you set the connection to “Extended”, Explorer.exe may start crashing in a loop. If this happens, turn off your PC, disconnect the secondary monitor, then restart your PC."

      This one sucks large for those of us on laptops cabled to second monitors. I mean, disconnect, restart, and then what? Leave it disconnected?

      • 2525

        In reply to John Dunagan:

        I feel a bigger focus on the known issues should have been made in this article.  Reading the MS blog post there are HEAPS of them.  As you said, some are showstoppers for many people.

        I like how they mention new Miracast features but then have a known issue that Miracast won't connect :)

  26. 5664

    Does this include the People Bar and the overhaul to Action Center we saw at Build?

  27. 2371

    In reply to MutualCore:

    Sometimes is seams like they just have one or two developers working on improvements to Edge.  They must have to go through a lot of meetings are approvals just to get a feature developed in Edge.

  28. 10740

    When they removed the VPN connect from the notification tray it was really annoying for me to access VPN settings each time. Now, they have included the VPN encryption button to directly connect to the VPN, which is a comfort I expect.

  29. 5394

    The Start Screen Improvements are too little too late. Tile folders are barely catching up to iOS that had it for years.

    App scaling should be automatic for those Apps that have the feature. Configuring for each app is exhausting.

    • 8834

      In reply to glenn8878:

      People use this term "too late" a lot without really thinking about what they're saying. What are the improvements too late for, eh?  It's a 30 year old operating system, there aren't really any deadlines or "best before" dates.  People using Windows 10 on their desktops and laptops weren't switching to iOS because you couldn't merge multiple icons into a single stack.

  30. 5234

    Apparently Microsoft is including more adware in newer builds by way of "Suggested Apps" via the Share feature.

  31. 9562

    More rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic..  

    Windows software on the desktop has never been in a more sorry state of existence due to trying to crowbar mobile into the mix for devices they can't even sell, and doing little more than annoying desktop users in the process.  Everything continues to get flatter, uglier, more monochromatic and 'dumbed-down', with good programs being slowly destroyed in favor of far weaker mobile/phone oriented 'apps'.  

    • 7300

      In reply to BoItmanLives:

      Yup pretty much, still got all that legacy crap from jamming touch with point and click UI. The thing is, there are no new Win32 killer apps for years now except for gaming and the Windows Store is an unmitigated disaster. Windows is truly the legacy OS. Still enough MS die hards that still pretend it's 1995 start me up days.

      Just the other day, I bought a smartwatch and yup you need either Android or iOS to setup and use, Windows not supported.

      • 1377

        In reply to kirashogun:

        Other than games, have there been any new must-have OS X/macOS programs in the last 5-10 years?

        Maybe software reached steady state (very little new) a year or two before peak PC in 2011. Fewer new PCs purchased because there's squat all software which needs new hardware.

        OTOH, UWP apps are CDs to web apps MP3s and desktop software LPs. Other than StaffPad and other artistic UWP apps, are there any must-have UWP apps with no web app or desktop alternatives?

  32. 5486

    But ultimately, it's still rubbish. It'll soon be so bogged down in so many 'features' that you won't be able to see the wood for the trees. I see you didn't mention the new stealth ads destined for the 'new share experience'. Ads will be playing a *much* bigger part in Windows 10 going forward. Microsoft just want Win10 to be syphon to extract your money straight into the O/S. Remember, the product isn't the O/S, it's the user.

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