Awesome Friday its is going to be, for all those Windows Insiders developer folks out there ! Microsoft has just rolled out a fresh-out-of-the-steam Windows 10 Preview build, and has finally brought in the much talked about Windows Ink to both desktop and mobile OS, along with major improvements to Cortana.
The build continues to depict Microsoft’s ambitious, faster toll-out plans for both — Windows 10 as well as Windows 10 Mobile. We just saw a Windows 10 Mobile preview build come out a few days ago with notable improvements and we are getting another one right here, in this combined release. You can have a look at the detailed post on the same, right here.
Lets get to this latest build.
Windows Ink And The Awesome Windows Ink Workspace
Microsoft announced Windows Ink — its all new platform to let you draw on your screens using digital pens, similar to how you do it on paper — in build this year. Well, we are finally seeing that becoming reality with this new build.
Starting this build, if you have a device with an active pen like the Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book – Windows Ink Workspace is enabled by default and accessible via the pen button in the notification area of your taskbar. You won’t see this button if your device does not have an active pen paired with it. However, for those of you who don’t have a device with an active pen but want to try out Windows Ink Workspace, you can right-click on the taskbar and choose “Show Windows Ink Workspace button”.
Windows Ink Workspace brings together all the ink-powered features and apps on your PC in one curated and easy-to-access UX canvas. It’s simple to launch – just press the Windows Ink Workspace button in the system tray or click the back of your pen on a new PC and all your pen-enabled experiences will be right there. Built-in experiences like sketchpad, screen sketch and Sticky Notes as well as your favorite pen apps are all available right at your pen tip, always accessible in one place whenever you need them.
You can know more about the experiences you can have, right here on a different Microsoft blog post.
Cortana Gets Better
For those of you who have been following Microsoft’s build release so far, you’d know for a fact, that Cortana and Search are two areas which the company continues to improve with every build. This build is no exception, and we are seeing some major improvements to both Cortana and the overall Search experience.
Cortana is now getting on your lock screen. You can ask her questions like “Remind me to take out the trash when I get home” or “When is the next Mariners game?” and get an immersive Cortana experience without having to unlock your device. For sensitive tasks or those that launch applications, Cortana will prompt you to unlock your device. You can also start using cortana right away, without having to sign up or log in.
To enable Cortana on your Lock screen – go to Cortana’s settings and under “Lock screen options” turn on “Let me use Cortana even when my device is locked” and also make sure you have “Hey Cortana” enabled as well.
Along with this, Microsoft is also rolling out newer ways to let Cortana remind you of major tasks. You can now create a Photo Reminder by taking a picture of something you want to be reminded about. You can also now set reminders on content from UWP apps that utilize the share contract in Windows, like Microsoft Edge and the News app. You can also share an article from the News app to Cortana and have her remind you to read it at a later time.
Another important update to Cortana is the enablinf og cross-device sync. If you’d remember, Microsoft introduced new cross-device features for Cortana with the last PC build, but these features were not working correctly with Build 14295 on Mobile. With today’s new Mobile build, these features should now be working correctly. Cortana will now inform you of low battery power on your mobile devices such as your Windows phone. Additionally, you can ask Cortana to find and ring your phone, and you will be able to share maps across all your devices.
A Better Start Menu
Microsoft has merged the most used apps list and the All apps list into a single view and elevated it to the top level of the UI to reduce clicking and scrolling. You can now access all your apps with one click on the Start menu. Microsoft has also moved important functionality such as Power, Settings, and File Explorer so that they are always visible in the left rail in the Start menu, and updated the Recently added section so that it will now show 3 entries instead of just 1, and can be expanded to see the entire list of new apps.
Finally, with this new design, any additional folders you have chosen to appear on Start (via Settings > Personalization > Start such as Documents or Pictures) will now be immediately available on Start and you will no longer need to open the hamburger button to access them.
Tablet mode improvements
Microsoft has brought back the full-screen All Apps list to Tablets. Microsoft says, that it “specifically looked at striking a balance between density and “scan-ability” (how easy it is to scan the list to find the app you want)”. The company has also made it easier to toggle between your pinned tiles and All Apps list on the Start screen by providing these options in the left rail which is consistent with the UI used throughout Windows.
You can now also choose to only auto-hide the taskbar in tablet mode. The setting can be found in Settings, under System > Tablet Mode. When the taskbar is hidden, swiping up from the bottom edge of the screen will make it appear. Doing so again will make it disappear.
Deeper file search, including OneDrive results
You can now quickly search your files whether they are on your PC or your personal OneDrive in the cloud. You can search for documents, photos, music as well as videos stored on OneDrive. Just search for something you need to find and click one of the search filters (e.g. documents, photos, music, or videos) and it will show you content from your OneDrive.
Other Changes :
This build also brings in a lot of visual changes as well. Most of them revolve around the action center an the way notifications are received — like the introduction of Cortana notifications to the Action Center, or added, relocated or changed icons and menu items. A few actions have been updated, too – like the Wi-Fi Quick Action no longer turns off Wi-Fi, but takes you to view the available networks instead. You can have a full look at the list of improvements right here.