Windows 10 build 18970 now available in the Fast ring with an improved tablet mode

It's time for this week's Windows 10 Insider Preview in the Fast ring. Today's build is number 18970, and like all current builds in the Fast ring, it's from the 20H1 development branch. That means that it's a preview of the feature update that will arrive next spring, rather than the 19H2 update that will be out in the fall; that's being tested in the Slow and Release Preview rings.

Build 18970 only contains a couple of new features, but they're important ones. For one thing, Microsoft is finally promising a better tablet mode, something you'd be interested in if you're using a tablet or convertible PC. It promises better spacing between icons on the taskbar, the searchbox will be collapsed into an icon, File Explorer will have a touch-optimized layout, and the onscreen keyboard will (finally) launch automatically when you tap a text field.

The other key new feature is a new Cloud Download option when you reset your PC, something that was initially leaked for build 18950 but hasn't been activated until now. It will install the same version of Windows 10 that's installed on your device.

Here's the full changelog:

Introducing a new tablet experience for 2-in-1 convertible PCs!

We are beginning to roll out a new tablet experience for 2-in-1 convertible PCs as a Beta to Windows Insiders. This new experience allows users entering tablet posture to stay in the familiar desktop experience without interruption, plus a few key touch improvements:

  • Increased spacing between Taskbar icons.
  • Search box on taskbar collapsed into an icon.
  • File Explorer switches to touch optimized layout
  • Touch keyboard auto invokes when you tap text fields.

As part of this, we’ve also made a few small changes to the tablet section in Settings.

This experience is currently available for a portion of Insiders as we evaluate the quality. Here are the steps once it becomes available on your PC:

  1. Use your convertible PC as a laptop as you normally would–opening apps and interacting with them.
  2. When you’re ready to pick it up and go or simply lean back on the couch, you can fold back the keyboard or remove it altogether, and it should switch to this new mode shown above.
  3. Now use your device as a tablet with touch.

We’d love to hear your feedback about the new experience–share your thoughts here.

Recovery Improvements

Introducing a new Reset this PC option–Cloud Download

Reset this PC now provides users a new choice to download Windows or use local reinstall. Previously, Reset this PC was only able to do a local reinstall and would build a new Windows installation from existing Windows files. When this feature was introduced in Windows 10 version 1507, it provided the advantage of enabling Windows to be recoverable without requiring extra disk space to store a compressed, backup copy of Windows in a hidden partition. We’ve heard feedback that some of you would prefer to use your high-speed internet connection to speed up this process by just downloading Windows.

Important note: This is a recovery operation and will remove apps you have installed. Additionally, if the “Remove everything” option is selected, user data will also be deleted. For more information on Reset this PC and other recovery options visit aka.ms/win10recoveryoptions.

The cloud download option will reinstall the same build, version, and edition, that is currently installed on your device. This new cloud download option is available to all Windows 10 devices and is different from the “Recover from the cloud” feature available on some earlier Windows 10 devices.

Known issues

  • The cloud download option is not currently working when specific optional features are installed. The process will begin, but an error will occur and roll back the changes. To work around this issue, remove the optional features before trying the cloud download option. We’ll let you know once this issue has been resolved. The optional features are: EMS and SAC Toolset for Windows 10, IrDA infrared, Print Management Console, RAS Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK), RIP Listener, all RSAT tools, Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Windows Fax and Scan, Windows Storage Management, Wireless Display, WMI SNMP Provider.

Other updates for Insiders

Continuing the Cortana rollout

The new Cortana experience is now available to all Insiders in the Fast ring in the United States. If it’s available on your device and you haven’t tried it out already, we’d love to hear your feedback! We’ve posted a Quest in the Feedback Hub to help you get started.

While this update does contain some cool new features, keep in mind that if you switch to the Fast ring now, you'll be testing previews until next spring. This is a longer cycle than it usually is, when we test new versions every six months.

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