Microsoft releases Windows 10 build 18917 to the Fast ring with WSL 2

Today is Wednesday, which means it's time for a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build. It's a bit later on in the day than usual, but build 18917 is here.

As usual, the build is from the 20H1 development branch, meaning that it's a preview for the feature update that's slated to arrive next spring. There will be a feature update between now and then, called 19H2, which isn't in testing yet. We're expecting 19H2 builds soon though, but not this week.

There are a few new features in the build, including Windows Subsystem for Linux 2, which was announced at Build. Here's the full changelog:

New download throttling options for Delivery Optimization

We’ve heard from our users with very low connection speeds that setting download throttling as a percentage of available bandwidth isn’t providing enough relief in reducing the impact on their network. That’s why we’ve added a new option to throttle the bandwidth used by Delivery Optimization as an absolute value. You can set this separately for Foreground downloads (downloads that you initiate from Windows Store for example) or background downloads. This option already exists for IT Pros who use Group Policies or MDM policies to configure Delivery Optimization. In this build, we’ve made it easier to set via the settings page.

You can access this option via Settings > Update & Security > Delivery Optimization > Advanced Options

Narrator improvements

Data Table Reading Improvements: We’ve optimized the information you hear with Narrator when navigating a table using table navigation commands. Narrator now reads the header data first, followed by the cell data, followed by the row/column position for that cell. Additionally, Narrator only reads the headers when the headers have changed, so you can focus on the content of the cell.

Windows Subsystem for Linux 2

WSL 2 is a new version of the architecture that powers the Windows Subsystem for Linux to run ELF64 Linux binaries on Windows. This new architecture, which uses a real Linux kernel, changes how these Linux binaries interact with Windows and your computer’s hardware, but still provides the same user experience as in WSL 1 (the current widely available version). WSL 2 delivers a much faster file system performance and full system call compatibility, which lets you run more applications like Docker!

Read more about the release of WSL 2.

Windows Ink Workspace Updates

As we mentioned last week, you may notice that Windows Ink Workspace has changed on your PC. That’s because we’re updating the Windows Ink Workspace experience and starting to roll it out to some Insiders.

As part of this, Windows Ink Workspace now takes up less screen real estate, and we’re converging our whiteboarding experiences with a new direct link to our Microsoft Whiteboard app. Microsoft Whiteboard is a freeform digital canvas where ideas, content, and people can come together. It includes an infinite canvas, optional backgrounds (including graph paper and solid dark grey) to choose from, rainbow ink support, multiple pages, and generally addresses much of the feedback you shared with us about Sketchpad. If you used Sketchpad, don’t worry – we saved the sketch you were working on in your Pictures folder.

We heard your feedback, and we’ve streamlined the Windows Ink Workspace for you. Stay tuned as we continue to evolve! Once the new experience arrives on your PC, please take a moment to try it out and share feedback via Feedback Hub under Desktop Environment > Windows Ink Workspace. If the Windows Ink Workspace icon isn’t visible in your taskbar, you can show it by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting “Show Windows Workspace Icon.”

This is actually one of the more significant builds that we've seen in the 20H1 development cycle, as most of the builds we've seen so far have been pretty minor. Obviously, there are many more features to come over the next nine months or so.

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