Microsoft releases Windows 10 Insider Preview build 20246.1 from the fe_release branch

Microsoft took the day off from releasing a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build on Wednesday, but the time has come. Today, it released build 20246.1 to the Dev channel. This build actually comes from the fe_release branch, which means that we won't see any new features for a little while. In fact, some features were removed, such as the "updated emoji picker, redesigned touch keyboard, voice typing, theme-aware splash screens", and more.

Naturally, this is a direct contradiction to what the Windows Insider team promised to deliver from the Dev channel. The Dev channel is supposed to be in a perpetual state of prerelease builds. Once we're all switched back to the rs_prerelease branch, Insiders will get those features back.

Note that switching to a 'release' branch also doesn't even mean that there's going to be an update released anymore. Microsoft just does this at random to test switching up branches. It did it around the 20H2 timeframe with an mn_release branch, but the real 20H2 was an enablement package.

The blog post does say that this is only about testing switching between branches, so if that's true and as transparent as it should be, then this should be the only week that we get a build from the branch, as it has no other reason to exist.

This build does have some fixes and known issues though. There's one item under 'changes and improvements'.

  • We added automatic Linux distro installation to the wsl.exe --install command! This means that users who wish to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux quickly can just type in `wsl.exe –install` into the command line and then will have a fully set up WSL instance ready to go, including their Linux distro of choice.

Here's the full list of fixes:

  • We fixed an issue that could result in the Pick Time button in the Windows Update dialog not doing anything.
  • We fixed an issue where hovering over a thumbnail in Task View would display an unexpected border around the item.
  • We fixed an issue where chkdsk could appear to be stuck at 100% due to not printing the message saying it was done.
  • We fixed an issue that could result in a crash when disconnecting certain audio devices while playing audio in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue where the Windows Update page in Settings could fail to load if connected to a Wi-Fi network with no internet connection.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing sometimes when clicking the Update and Security category.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Storage Settings unexpectedly showing incorrect category sizes (a higher number than what was visible in File Explorer).
  • We fixed an issue that could lead to a crash when managing partition size in Storage Settings.
  • We fixed an issue that stopped GPU compute scenarios such as CUDA and DirectML not working for some users inside of the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

Finally, these are the known issues:

  • We’re investigating reports of installing games from the Store to a secondary non-OS drive will result in the secondary drive becoming inaccessible. To prevent this from occurring you must change the default storage for new content to the secondary drive PRIOR to installing the game. This can be done in Settings > Storage > Change where new content is saved.
  • We’re looking into reports of the update process hanging for extended periods of time when attempting to install a new build.
  • Live previews for pinned sites aren’t enabled for all Insiders yet, so you may see a grey window when hovering over the thumbnail in the taskbar. We’re continuing to work on polishing this experience.
  • We’re working on enabling the new taskbar experience for existing pinned sites. In the meantime, you can unpin the site from the taskbar, remove it from the edge://apps page, and then re-pin the site.
  • We’re working on a fix for an issue causing some devices to experience a DPC_WATCHDOG_VIOLATION bugcheck.
  • We’re investigating an issue reported by some Insiders wherein the taskbar is obscuring the Power button in the Start menu. If this is happening on your PC, you may need to use the Windows key plus X menu to shutdown for the time being.
  • Windows Insiders on ARM PCs such as the Surface Pro X will notice that Windows PowerShell will fail to launch on this build. As a workaround, please use “Windows PowerShell (x86)” or “Windows PowerShell ISE (x86)” from the Start menu if you need to use PowerShell. Or download the new and modern PowerShell 7 which takes advantage of ARM by running natively. Plus the icon is prettier.

As always, you can grab the build through Windows Update. If you're not on the Dev channel, you can enroll through the Windows Insider tab in Settings.

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