Windows 10 Technical Preview – Build 10041

After 54 days, Microsoft has released a new build of the technical preview. While many have been clamoring for Microsoft to release a build sooner, monthly or even weekly, I’d much rather they take their time and release builds that are more stable than those created in the past. Unfortunately, even after almost two months, this is the buggiest build yet, and I’m starting to wonder about the stability of the final product, considering Terry Myerson recently announced that Windows 10 would be shipping “this summer.” Considering “this summer” means anytime from June to September (June 21st to September 23rd if you want to follow the solstice and equinox), there is still a lot of time to fix things up, but I’ll be curious to see how future builds perform.

The other slightly disappointing thing about this build is that there aren’t a lot of new features to talk about. This build seems to have been all about changing up the UI, and I wonder if there’s been some back and forth debating about the UI within Microsoft’s OS teams. Despite my belief of the contrary, we did actually get a fourth icon set this time, and a third multi-tasking UI. That said, I like the changes. Let’s dive in after the break.

Video Walkthrough

As usual, I’ve included a video walkthrough of the build and some of the changes, if you hate reading my long winded dribble, you can hear my long winded dribble instead.

Known Issues

This build has the distinct honor of having the longest known issues post of the preview program. As usual, I earnestly urge you not to put this build on a production machine. If your life or livelihood or memories depend on the computer you’re using, don’t put this build on it. Seriously, I’m running this on a secondary hard drive that I could give a rat’s patootey about. Let me try this stuff out for you, and I’ll let you know if these builds become more stable. Now, if you’re going to install this on a secondary machine or you’re just going to ignore me, fine, but here are the issues you’ll have in store, straight from Microsoft.

  • In this build, the Mail, Calendar, and People apps will be initially broken due to a licensing issue with the Store (Beta). To get these apps working again, you need to follow these steps:
    • Open Windows Powershell as an Administrator (Right-click, click run as Administrator)

    • Type the following in the window that opens up:

Get-appxprovisionedpackage –online | where-object {$_.packagename –like “*windowscommunicationsapps*”} | remove-appxprovisionedpackage –online

  • Open the green Store app (classic) and then find and re-install Mail, People and Calendar apps.
  • Some people might hit an issue where the username and password boxes do not appear or don’t accept input when logging in, which will prevent them from logging in. Possible workarounds include clicking the “Switch User” button, using Ctrl+Alt+Del, or pressing the power button on your PC to sleep/resume and try again.
  • It is possible to manually lock your PC during the initial out-of-box experience. If you do this, you will have to hard reboot your PC and restart the OOBE experience. (So don’t lock your PC during OOBE)
  • Accessibility is borked in this build, meaning narrator and other 3rd party screen readers won’t work at all. Don’t use this if you or a user of this build is sight impaired. Also, don’t use magnifier. If you use a Lens after enabling the Magnifier, the screen will be unusable.
  • There are a lot of licensing issues with the Store (Beta) app currently, as they figure out the transition between the two stores. As a result, any apps previously installed with Store (Beta) will not work due to permissions issues. Also, apps may fail to install from the Store (Beta) app.
  • Due to the new transparency effects, it may be difficult to view text on the Start Screen, Task View, Snap Assist, and when re-arranging windows in Tablet Mode be overlayed on top of existing windows and may be hard to read. In the future, only the wallpaper will be visible behind these surfaces
  • Creating virtual desktops may result in missing or black thumbnails in Task View.
  • There is a random chess piece on the lock screen at the moment. The only reason for this existing is to track if someone is using the new lock screen or the old one.

  • Font sizes on the Lock screen on devices with high DPI can be really large.
  • Tablet mode is currently turned off by default for debugging purposes. However, the Tablet Mode notifications can be turned back on via the settings pages
  • The touch keyboard doesn’t show up on login screen which prevents you from unlocking your PC when Narrator is on.
  • Some people might see frequent prompts to restart to install updates, even though no updates need a restart. This prompt can be ignored safely.
  • Cortana may not function initially for the new language (Chinese, UK, German, French, Italian, Spanish) even if the user has switched their language settings. This is because there is currently no way to fully switch an install of Windows 10 Technical Preview from one language to the other. This issue is likely a result of installing the wrong regional language (like an English (US) version for an English (UK) region). To resolve this issue, you’ll have to reinstall the developer preview, but you’ll also need to follow these steps:
    • Go to Settings > Time & Language > Region & Language
      • Check the Country or region setting
      • Check the Windows display language (set as default) setting
    • Go to Settings > System > Speech
      • Check the Spoken Language setting
    • Go to the Windows 10 Tech Preview ISO page and then download and install your localized build of Windows 10 build 9926.
    • From there, switch your update settings to the Fast Ring and re-update to Build 10041.

What’s New

Microsoft didn’t just add a bunch of bugs and call it a build, there are some new things to check out.

Icons Rejiggering

The icons have been changed once again. For the most part, they’re slight changes. The recycling bin got the biggest change of all, as Build 9926 was still sporting the old Recycling Bin design. However, most of the UI now sports the flat yet colorfully vibrant design of the new Windows 10 icons. Since I predicted that build 9926 would be the last time we see icon changes, and was woefully wrong, I won’t predict it again. However, we are definitely seeing a consistent icon style with these changes.

Internet reaction to these icons varies from mild acceptance to outright rage, as will be prompted by any change to an existant UI. I personally think the icons look fine. They’re functional, which is all I care about with an icon. I don’t define my computing experience on the design of an icon. So those of you who are crazy raged about these icons, learn to deal with it. Or hey. If you really don’t like the icons, make your own and change them yourself.


Start Menu Changes


As you can sorta see above, Microsoft added transparency to the Start Menu. There’s also a slightly changed icon (it’s a bit smaller), and they’ve supposedly improved the All Apps view to make it work better with touch. I’m not using this on a touch machine, so I can’t tell for sure if that’s true, but it doesn’t look much different, so I’m assuming they’ve just honed the touch targets.

Finally, you can now drag and drop apps from the All Apps view or your Most Used apps list to that right side of the Start Menu to pin them.

Virtual Desktop Improvements


Virtual desktops have been improved, thankfully. When in the Start + Tab multi-tasking view you can now drag a window to a “+ New Desktop” icon to create a new virtual desktop with that window in it. Once dragged, you will be able to see visuals of both desktops on the Start + Tab view and drag stuff from one desktop to the other.


In addition, when a window is in a different desktop you’re currently not sitting in, you’ll no longer see it pop up in the taskbar or in Windows Flip (Alt + Tab). While it was nice to be able to flip between desktops using the app icons on the taskbar, it did make the idea of virtual desktops a bit convoluted. The purpose of virtual desktops is to separate workflows so that your concentration is not separated between multiple different projects. By fully separating the apps that are located in different desktops, virtual desktops become a lot less confusing for me and for other users.

Cortana Becomes International

Cortana was initially only available for English (U.S) builds. However, Microsoft has now expanded availability to China, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain with localized builds.

However, note the problems with this above. Since many Developer Preview users within these regions downloaded the English (U.S.) version of build 9926 to try out Cortana, they will now have to re-install build 9926 with their localized iso in order to access Cortana. There is currently no way to fully switch over a language in Windows 10 yet.

Finally, They Updated the Network Flyout

I’ve been harping on them for this with every build so far. But finally, they’ve fixed Network flyout (that window that pops up when you hit your networking icon on the bottom right of the screen). It started out as an awful Metro styled 1/3 screen flyout. Then with build 9926, hitting the button just opened up a new window within the settings page. But now, we actually have a dedicated flyout for networking. Huzzah!

Tips and tricks on the Lock Screen

Microsoft is apparently experimenting with adding some tips and tricks to the lock screen, similar to the flyout “did you know” notifications that users would receive in Windows 8.1. I only know this because Microsoft said so. I’ve yet to see any of these notifications on my lock screen as of yet. This is available through a special lockscreen type called “Windows Spotlight” which also seems to show the Bing Image of the Day. This option can be found within Settings > Personalization.

I’m curious what kind of content they would actually include on this lock screen. Those few of you that use Bing will know that the Bing homepage normally includes the Bing Image of the Day along with four or five transparent boxes that you can click on to learn more about the image. So far, they’re mostly talking implying that Windows tips and tricks will go up on there, but I’d be curious to know if they end up integrating some of that informative content on the lock screen in the future.

Dedicated Handwriting Panel

As a part of their continued dedication to pen input through the Surface Pro line, they’ve added a new style for their handwriting input panel that’s optimized for short text. For instance, here’s the massive old panel that takes up the lower 1/3 of your screen. And this is the condensed version.

The new version is a bit slimmer and more portable around your desktop, but it’s noticeably less functional. However, it’s nice to be able to stick a handwriting panel at the edge of your screen and still be able to see most of your desktop.

Also note that you can switch between the old and new version within the preview Also also note that if you hit the keyboard icon between the movement icon and the close icon, you can opt for a handwriting panel that sticks on the bottom of your screen, obscuring the taskbar and spanning the width of the screen.

Photos App Improvements

A few minor changes here, still no Albums functionality. The live tile now shows OneDrive photos as well as local photos. There is also now support for RAW image files and some minor performance and reliability improvements.

Xbox App Improvements

Technically, these changes happened a few days before the build released, but I’ve lumped the new Xbox app stuff here anyway. Unfortunately, no GameDVR functionality or Game Streaming still. However, they did add a bunch of good stuff.

You can now view and download your Xbox One game clips on your PC. The Community tab is also now functional, and will show you popular game clips from other Xbox Live users.

You can now like and delete activity feed posts.

The Friend Search will now search based on real name as well as gamertag.

You can now connect to your Xbox One via the app and use your Windows 10 PC as a remote controller for the console. You can also access your OneGuide, change channels, manage volume, or access the DVR all from your PC. You’ll still have to use whatever’s directly plugged into the Xbox to see the content, though.

Maps

The maps app has also seen some small improvements. First of all, it’s now hosted on the Store (Beta) as Windows Maps, although it shows up in the program listing as Maps. Second of all, the Explore in 3D function now works pretty well and demonstrates some truly Google Earth-style functionality.

Microsoft seems to have taken satellite imagery and run it through a 3D renderer, allowing you to give yourself a slightly realistic tour through some major cities of the world. Obviously, the entire world has not been given this treatment yet, but it’s notable how quick it all is. Google Earth takes an eternity to render imagery on this same computer, but the Maps app is super quick. You can see how fluid it is in the video I’ve posted above. Here’s another shot.

That said, I will say that the program is a bit on the buggy side at the moment. When I sat down to create the video, the app’s “explore in 3D” function was greyed out. I reinstalled it several times, to no avail. When I finally got the function to work, none of the buttons on the sidebar were working. When I restarted, the app was functioning again. It’s early software, so what do you expect.

Not Much, but a Start

I was kind of hoping we’d see a few more landmark features in this build, like their new Spartan web browser or the Xbox game streaming or even the PC game DVR feature, but alas, we were mainly provided with some UI changes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a GUI as much as any geek, and I absolutely love the changes that we’re seeing here. However, I understand if some users are a bit disappointed to get a massively buggy build with no new features.

However, keep this in mind, an OS takes a loooong time to build. There are a lot of weird intermediary steps you much overtake before you can get to the juicy stuff. Think of this as that intermediary step. What we have is a refining of the base UI. We should now be seeing what the general UI is going to look like with Windows 10. With the next builds, I was expect to start seeing the landmark features a bit at a time. And then we’ll be seeing the real meat and potatoes that will get people interested in the OS.