Microsoft’s Gabe Aul has announced this morning that they have just released the latest build of Windows 10 to Insiders on the fast ring, and this build brings some key components that were first demonstrated quite a while ago, but have finally made their way to people outside of Microsoft.

The first big change is that the integrated Skype messaging, calling, and video experiences are now available. These universal apps will be an optional replacement of the Skype client, which will remain for people who want one app that does it all. The new apps have already been made available as a Beta on Windows 10 Mobile, and just the other day Skype got integrated into the default messaging client on Mobile. This makes for a much more integrated experience on the platform similar to Google Hangouts and iMessage. For those wondering why Microsoft would be breaking the Skype client into pieces, it is to make it easier for people to use the part that they want to rather than having to fire up a big client that does everything. It will also feature quick replies in the Action Center which should really be nice since you won’t even have to leave your current app to reply. I found the Mobile version to be pretty buggy so hopefully the desktop version is more stable.

Edge is gaining the ability to preview tabs by hovering over them. It’s a small change but this should help a lot when you have a lot of tabs open and want to find the correct one. Edge has certainly been a work in progress, and in this build it is finally getting the ability to sync favorites and the reading list, which should make it a much better experience especially when moving from phone to PC to tablet.

Windows 10’s inking abilities are pretty amazing. I brought this up in the review, but the pen can now be used to input text on practically any text input field. The recognition has been fantastic because it almost never makes a mistake on words that I write despite my handwriting being terrible. Cortana has been improved in this build to be able to understand hand written notes right in the Cortana field. Unfortunately, there are no new locations where Cortana is enabled yet, so Canadians like myself will still have to wait to get support with the PC set up as a local one (you can always set your region to the USA to enable Cortana).

Cortana will also now do reminders for leisure activities such as movies and events. Two hours before an event it will notify you of the event and how to get there, as well as offering to book an Uber ride from within Cortana.

On a personalization note, new colors are available for the title bars which can be adjusted to make a more vibrant experience if you prefer that. The context menus have also been tweaked since Windows 10 was launched to give a more consistent feel, and once again this build tweaks the ones you see on the Start Menu. Regedit has finally gotten a new icon, along with things like Device Manager. These are subtle changes but those icons have been around since forever so it’s great to see them get updated.

One of the biggest changes to this build is on activation. Activation in Windows 10 has been almost a black art, with some people having issues getting an activated copy of Windows 10 after upgrading from a previous build. Since you don’t get a license key anymore, on subsequent re-installs it can be dicey as well. To that end, Microsoft has finally added the ability to use existing Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 product keys during the install of Windows 10, assuming they are valid for the free upgrade offer – which practically all are with the exception of Enterprise versions. This will work during setup or after in order to activate. This is a big change and is most welcome. It’s surprising it took this long, since this exact issue was also a problem with the free Windows 8.1 upgrade.

As always, there is some other errata and bugs in this build. Two bugs that may be an issue is that the Search Box will not work if you are not in a Cortana region in this build, and the Xbox App will take up Gigabytes of memory when it is in use and Win32 games have been detected. WebM and VP9 have been temporarily removed as well as they continue to improve their support. Small form factor tablets that boot with rotation or virtual mode screen size set larger than the physical screen size will blue screen during the install so please don’t try and run this fast ring version on a small tablet like the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

Update: To fix the search box issue, you can install any Language Pack

Source: Windows Blog

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  • Arnulf - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I tried it. It wouldn't even install on Athlon X2 6000+ machine (BSODs). It installed in VirtualBox and actually made it to desktop where things like screen resolution applet refused to run (crashed saying there is no application associated with it).

    W10 needs more work before it actually makes it out of beta. With 110 million beta testers running it Microsoft should be able to release functional build in a year or two.
    Reply
  • close - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I run it on hardware from 2008 and it runs great. Also in VM. But of course, if *you* are getting a BSOD and it fails to run in your virtual environment (which should be basically identical to everyone else's) it must be the Windows...

    You most likely downloaded an ISO from torrents or you did a really crappy job installing it. But it's typical, every time someone encounters serious errors it's someone else's fault even if everyone else gets it running in identical conditions.
    Reply
  • overzealot - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Try googling "radeon windows 10 black screen".
    There's still a number of issues for certain hardware configurations. I don't have the black screen issue, but I had several new and wonderful BSODs until I upgraded all my drivers.
    This sort of issue with old drivers triggering new bugs has happened with every major Windows release, and I don't think that's likely to change any time soon.
    Reply
  • egmccann - Thursday, October 15, 2015 - link

    So, wait, because drivers (third party) are interfering with Windows, it's the fault of Windows? That's like blaming your car manufacturer for road construction. Reply
  • Arnulf - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I downloaded ISOs from Microsoft's website (Insider program). They stopped publishing ISOs there so I have no idea whether more recent versions fixed the issues and have no way of trying (short of downloading ISOs off some dodgy torrent site ...).

    My hardware is Asus M2N-E SLI, AM2 Athlon X2 6000+, 2 GB of RAM, PATA HDD and Radeon PCI-E HD5550 graphics. My VirtualBox VM had hardware virtualization stuff enabled and I was trying out the 32 (x86) version of W10.

    Windows 7 runs without problems on this same computer so I am quite certain I'm not dealing with hardware issue.

    Besides I'm hardly the only one experiencing these issues if Google's results (I was looking for some kind of solution for the particular BSOD error code I was encountering) are anything to go by.
    Reply
  • Omoronovo - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    Were you able to get any Windows 10 build installed and running? Or are you only having issues with this insider preview build, indicating it was downloaded from third party sources?

    Windows 10 builds after 10056 need NX/XD bit enabled in your bios or it will not install properly. Have you checked that?
    Reply
  • NXTwoThou - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    The installer won't even work. I've got a two year old dell OptiPlex 3020 with a core i3 4145 in it that has XD turned on in bios where the windows 10 upgrade is giving a big fat error after 20 minutes of downloading files and preparing to install telling me that the processor doesn't support NX(according to my setting in bios and coreinfo, it does). From a few searches, the same issue happened with Windows 8. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    > Athlon X2 6000+ machine (BSODs)

    Support for those CPUs has been dropped in Win 8.1 already, since they don't support some security related instruction in hardware (up to Win 8.0 a software work-around was used).
    Reply
  • JeffFlanagan - Tuesday, October 13, 2015 - link

    I think Microsoft knows that 10 is beta software. They still haven't offered it to me on any of the machines I have it "reserved" for. The only time it was offered to me was on a clean install of Win 8, which failed to upgrade to 10. It did cleanly roll back to Win 8, after wasting a bunch of time trying to upgrade, so it wasn't as bad a fail as it could have been. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, October 12, 2015 - link

    ?

    You can easily turn them off or set the source of articles you see.
    Reply

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