Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview for PCs in the Fast ring, build 16241, two weeks ago. That build introduced a wide range of new features and improvements, including enhancements to the new Fluent Design System, changes to the Task Manager, delivery optimization changes, and plenty more.
The company is now in the final stages of development for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (FCU), and its engineering teams are already working on the first Redstone 4 builds for the next major OS update after that one, which will arrive in the first half of next year.
Today, Microsoft rolled out its latest FCU preview from the Redstone 3 branch, build 16251 for PCs in the Fast ring. Build 16251 is also rolling out to those in the Fast ring who opted to 'Skip Ahead' and test Redstone 4 builds, following its announcement yesterday.
Build 16251 includes a range of new features, including the ability to link your phone to your PC, as Microsoft explained:
You may remember at Build we talked about PCs and phones working better together. With Build 16251, we are introducing the first set of features that enable “linking” your phone to your PC. This build’s scenario is focused on cross-device web-browsing. Today, we’re asking for you Windows Insiders to help us test this experience out using your Android phones. Support for iPhone is coming very soon, stay tuned.
To get started, after installing today’s new build on your PC, go to Settings > Phone and link your phone. Having you link your phone ensures that your sessions from your phone are continued only on to the PC that you’ve chosen. After adding your phone to be linked, you will receive an SMS from us directing you to install a test application called “Microsoft Apps” for Android that completes the link between your phone and PC and enables one of our first cross device browsing scenarios.
After you’ve linked your phone, just go to your phone and start browsing the web. When you are at a website you want to view on your PC, simply invoke the native share experience on your phone and share the website to the “Continue on PC” option. You might need to click the “…” or more to add this test app to your share menu. Once invoked, it will first ask you to sign in with your Microsoft Account. It is important you use the same account you are using on your PC. Next it will ask you if you want to “Continue now” or “Continue later”. If you choose “Continue now”, the website will magically open on the linked PC. If you choose to “Continue later”, the website will show up under Action Center for you to get to later when you’re ready. Try it out and let us to know of any issues you run into!
In recent weeks, Microsoft has been testing improvements to Cortana, adding web search results to the assistant's UI without needing to open your browser, which Fast ring users can now experience:
Now you can view the results that Cortana has for you without launching the web browser. For some questions, the Cortana pane will expand automatically, quickly showing you exactly what you need to know. It works with movies, celebrities, stock prices, weather, flight status – you name it! If Cortana doesn’t have a quick answer for your query, the pane won’t automatically expand. No worries! Just click the arrow next to the relevant web suggestion (or press the right arrow key) to see what the web has for you. We look forward to hearing your feedback, which you can file using the in-Cortana feedback button.
Microsoft also added support for new voice commands to Cortana, enabling users to lock, sign-out, shut down or turn off their PCs using the assistant:
We have now enabled the ability for you to use Cortana to turn off, restart, lock, or sign-out of Windows. While previously announced, we haven’t fully enabled it via the cloud until now. So, in case your hands are busy at the moment, you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to turn off or lock your PC. Instead, you can say “Hey Cortana, turn off my PC” and Cortana will take care of it. In a similar fashion, you can use Cortana to restart your computer, sign-out, or lock your PC. Just use your voice and try out the following commands:
- “Hey Cortana, restart PC.”
- “Hey Cortana, turn off PC.”
- “Hey Cortana, sign out.”
- “Hey Cortana, lock PC.”
For some of these voice commands, such as the one for turning off your PC, Cortana may ask you for a verbal confirmation. You’ll have to respond to Cortana with a “Yes” for Cortana to complete the voice command.
In addition, you can also ask Cortana to execute the commands above on the Lock screen, but first you should enable Cortana on the Lock screen if you have not done so already.
You can enable Cortana on your Lock screen by opening Cortana’s settings and turning on this option:
If you have any feedback, be sure to send it our way via Feedback Hub!
NOTE: This is available only in English* (EN-US, EN-AU, EN-CA, EN-GB and EN-IN) markets.
Build 16251 includes an improved boot up experience too, as Microsoft explained:
Use sign-in info to apply settings after a restart or update: The advanced Windows Update feature to use your sign-in info to automatically finish setting your device after an update has been extended to regular reboots and shutdowns. When you log in and initiate a reboot or a shutdown through power options available on the Start Menu and various other locations, Windows will automatically setup your account after it’s has booted back up.
This will help you sign-in faster and will restore your accessibility applications and any other application that has registered for application restart.
- shutdown /sg
Shutdown the computer. On the next boot, restart any registered applications.
- shutdown /g
Full shutdown and restart the computer. After the system is rebooted, restart any registered applications.
Opt-out: Under the Privacy section of the Sign-in options page of your Settings, you can disable and re-enable using the option show below:
Note: The feature is only available on PCs that are not managed by enterprises. This includes home PCs that are sync’d to enterprise (work, school, etc.) email.
And on top of all that, Microsoft has made further improvements to the input experience, and its Edge browser, along with one small change for PC gamers:
- We’ve adjusted the size of the onehanded touch keyboard to be a little bigger, as well as added a thicker border as padding around it so you’re less likely to accidentally tap outside the keyboard and dismiss it.
- We’ve updated the new XAML touch keyboard to now support a full keyboard layout option for English (United States), English (Australia), French (France), Italian (Italy), German (Germany) and Spanish (Spain) languages. Appreciate everyone who shared feedback on the subject! To access this keyboard layout, tap the button in the top left of the touch keyboard.
- As you launch and dismiss the touch keyboard, you’ll now notice an animation of it sliding in and out.
- We’ve softened the sound of typing on the touch keyboard – thanks for your feedback!
- We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard might get into a state where swiping across it would move the keyboard contents around.
- We’ve updated the Japanese onehanded touch keyboard specific key labels to be written using the Yu-gothic UI font.
- We fixed an issue where the Japanese touch keyboard might sometimes take multiple taps of the delete key to delete a selected character or phrase in certain text fields.
- We fixed an issue where the touch keyboard’s options in Settings to disable suggestions and disable “add a space after I choose a text suggestion” didn’t work.
- We’ve adjusted two-finger precision touchpad scrolling so it should feel a bit smoother now – please try it out in today’s build.
- We fixed an issue where the Microsoft Pinyin IME candidate window wasn’t visible when Microsoft Edge was in full screen mode (F11).
- We fixed an issue where Japanese IME status notification didn’t appear when the IME was turned on with Kana input method.
- In addition to scrolling, pen can now also select and drag objects when barrel button (a button on the side of the pen) is pressed. This functionality was already available in Win32 apps and Microsoft Edge as of 16215, and today we’re expanding it to include all UWP apps as well. Please try it out in your favorite apps and let us know how the experience is working for you.
- We fixed an issue where it wasn’t possible to use the pen to move a Win32 app window up and down by dragging the title bar.
- We fixed an issue where the coordinates were slightly off when using the pen to point erase in the last few flights.
Microsoft Edge Improvements
- Microsoft Edge will no longer re-scale sites when in Tablet Mode with narrow viewport width (such as in a snapped view or portrait orientation). This provides a more natural experience on modern responsive sites in tablet mode.
- We fixed an issue from recent builds where the Copy Link option displayed in Microsoft Edge when you right-click a hyperlink wasn’t working.
- We fixed numerous reliability issues in Microsoft Edge that will improve user experience with crashes and hangs within the app.
- We fixed an issue in Microsoft Edge with PDF failing to open on refresh.
- We fixed an issue in Microsoft Edge with PDF fitting to page for certain books.
- We fixed an issue with Pinned Sites from Microsoft Edge where it wasn’t showing the right favicon on the taskbar.
PC Gaming Improvements
- Some users may see Game Mode enabled in the Game Bar by default for some of their games.
Before you install Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16251, make sure you read through the known issues and fixes that it brings.
Source: Windows Blogs