Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 18309 to the Fast ring with password improvements

The holiday season is over, and that can only mean one thing: it's time for the Windows Insider team to get back to releasing preview builds. Today, Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 18309 to the Fast ring.

It's once again a preview from the 19H1 development branch, but the list of features isn't nearly as long as it was in the last couple of builds. It would seem that development of new features is finally starting to wind down.

Here's the full changelog:

Streamlined Windows Hello PIN reset experience now available on all Windows editions

We know remembering a PIN can be tricky, so we wanted to provide our Microsoft account users with a revamped Windows Hello PIN reset experience with the same look and feel as signing in on the web. Check it out in today’s build by clicking the ‘I forgot my PIN’ link when signing in to Windows with a PIN.

When originally announced on Build 18305, this experience was only available for Insiders on Home edition. With today’s update, Insiders can try it out on all Windows editions.

Signing in to Windows with password-less Microsoft accounts on all Windows editions

We’re pushing forward on eliminating passwords and keeping your accounts safe with another cool feature. With Build 18305, we announced support for setting up and signing in to Windows with a phone number account, without having to create, or deal with the hassle of a password for Insiders using Home edition. Today, that support is extending to all Windows editions!

If you have a Microsoft account with your phone number, you can use an SMS code to sign in, and set up your account on Windows 10. Once you’ve setup your account, you can use Windows Hello Face, Fingerprint, or a PIN (depending on your device capabilities) to sign in to Windows 10. No password needed anywhere!

Creating a password-less phone number account

If you don’t already have a password-less phone number account, you can create one in a mobile app like Word on your iOS or Android device to try it out. Simply go to Word and sign up with your phone number by entering your phone number under “Sign in or sign up for free”.

Add your password-less phone number account to Windows

Now that you’ve created a password-less phone number account, you can use it to sign in to Windows with the following steps:

  1. Add your account to Windows from Settings > Accounts > Family & other Users > “Add someone else to this PC”.
  2. Lock your device and select your phone number account from the Windows sign-in screen.
  3. Since your account doesn’t have a password, select ‘Sign in options’, click the alternative ‘PIN’ tile, and click ‘Sign in’.
  4. Go through web sign in and Windows Hello set up (this is what you’ll use to sign in to your account on subsequent sign ins)

You can now enjoy the benefits of signing in to Windows with your password-less phone number account.

Narrator Improvements

  • Add more voices: Users can download additional voices in other languages without having to download language packs. To do that, go to Narrator Settings and select the “Add more voices” link.
  • Narrator Home navigation: The main actions on Narrator Home, such as QuickStart and Settings, are now buttons and not Listview items. You are now able to tab between all of them.
  • Read Current character phonetics: Added Narrator + 5 twice Narrator command to render current character phonetics.
  • Other improvements:
    • Improved reading of controls while navigating and editing
    • Improved table reading in PowerPoint
    • Improved reading and navigating experiences with Chrome and Narrator
    • Improved interacting with Chrome menu’s with Narrator

Ease of Access Improvements

Cursor and Pointers: Building on our mouse work announced with 18298, we’ve added 11 additional mouse pointer sizes in the Cursor and Pointers settings. There are now 15 sizes.

As you can see, there's nothing really big and crazy about this build. With an RTM scheduled in March, it seems likely that we'll see the last of the new features this month, with next month focusing on bug fixes and last-minute improvements.

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