Microsoft releases the first RS5 Preview, build 17604, and 17101 for the Fast ring

It's a new week, which means that it's time for a new Windows 10 for PCs Insider Preview build. There's a twist this time though, as Microsoft actually released two builds: 17101 for the Fast ring, and 17604 for those that chose the Skip Ahead option when it was available.

Build 17604 is the first one to come from the Redstone 5 development branch. That's great news, but the bad news is that Microsoft isn't reopening the Skip Ahead ring, meaning that you need to have opted in back in July. There's limited space, and that space has been met.

Both builds have the same list of new features for the time being. Here's what's new:

Input Improvements

Emoji design updates: Based on your feedback and to improve consistency, we’ve made adjustments to the design of some of our emoji. Examples of updated emoji include:

After:

Emoji search comes to more languages: Earlier in RS4, we updated the Emoji Panel to support browsing and picking emoji in many new locales. With today’s build, we’re bringing search support to more locales too! Now you can find an emoji by keyword in over 150 locales, including English (Great Britain), French (France), German (Germany), Spanish (Spain), and more. This will help you get the emoji you want easily and quickly. As a reminder, to bring up the Emoji Panel set focus to a text field and press WIN + (period) or WIN + (semicolon).

Windows App Permissions

UWP File System Access: With this build we’re giving you more control so you can now decide which UWP apps can access your full file system. Particular UWP apps will be granted permission to have broad file system access. This capability will be granted on a per app basis by Microsoft. If a UWP app has the broad file system access restricted capability, you will receive a consent dialog prompting you to accept or deny the request. If at any time you change your mind about the decision, you can go to Settings > Privacy where you’ll find a new Settings page for File System Access. On this page, you can turn access on or off globally, and if it’s on you can also turn it on or off for each app that has requested the capability. UWPs with broad file system access will not appear in the Photos, Videos, or Documents privacy settings pages. If you grant broad file system access, this includes Photos, Videos and Documents.

New features for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

Last year, as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s update, we announced a new edition of Windows designed for demanding mission critical scenarios targeting advanced users. As part of RS4, we are adding two more features for our most advanced users running these mission critical scenarios:

A new power scheme – Ultimate Performance: Demanding workloads on workstations always desire more performance. As part of our effort to provide the absolute maximum performance we’re introducing a new power policy called Ultimate Performance. Windows has developed key areas where performance and efficiency tradeoffs are made in the OS. Over time, we’ve amassed a collection of settings which allow the OS to quickly tune the behavior based on user preference, policy, underlying hardware or workload.

This new policy builds on the current High-Performance policy, and it goes a step further to eliminate micro-latencies associated with fine grained power management techniques. The Ultimate Performance Power plan is selectable either by an OEM on new systems or selectable by a user. To do so, you can go to Control Panel and navigate to Power Options under Hardware and Sound (you can also “run” Powercfg.cpl). Just like other power policies in Windows, the contents of the Ultimate Performance policy can be customized.

As the power scheme is geared towards reducing micro-latencies it may directly impact hardware; and consume more power than the default balanced plan. The Ultimate Performance power policy is currently not available on battery powered systems.

We’ll continue to tune and evaluate the power plan settings. To submit feedback please use the Feedback Hub and file your feedback under Power & Battery > Setting category.

Productivity focused out of box applications: In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the out of box experience for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations draws from the Pro edition of Windows 10. One area where this is noticeable is the suite of applications installed out of the box visible as tiles in the start menu. In the next release for Windows, you will see for Windows 10 Pro for Workstations productivity and enterprise focused applications in place of consumer applications and games. This was one of the top feedback shared with us by our partners and users and we’re delivering this in our next update.

If you’re a Windows Insider running the Workstation or Enterprise edition, you can see these features in Builds 17079 or greater.

Obviously, there's plenty to go through on these two builds, and the changelogs for RS4 and RS5 won't be the same for too long. We can only hope that Microsoft will expand the availability to Skip Ahead as we move forward. After all, many users had to factor reset in the past six months, losing their Skip Ahead status.

If you can't get on the ring, don't worry. Once the Redstone 4 update finally hits, you'll start seeing Redstone 5 in the standard Fast ring.

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