Microsoft Adds More Fluent Design in Windows 10’s Latest Build (Change-log)

New week, new Windows 10 build. On 27th September, the Redmond giant released build 17004 of Windows 10 to the Windows Insiders who have opted to skip ahead. The new build. Rather than adding any new major feature to the build like the Creators update did, the new build is focused on some extensions to fluent design and improvements in Microsoft Edge and other parts of Windows 10.

Following is a detailed Changelog from Microsoft’s official blog post.

What’s new in Build 17004

Fluent Design: As we progress into the next feature update, you’ll begin to see more and more elements of Fluent Design light up. We love the enthusiasm we’ve seen for Fluent Design, and with today’s build you’ll notice that Reveal is now visible on Start in All apps.

More Fluent Design!

Microsoft Edge Improvements:

  • We fixed an issue where typing a web address into the address bar from the New Tab and Start Page and would sometimes clear the text and not result in any page navigation
  • We fixed an issue resulting in keyboard layout changes potentially not being applied when using Microsoft Edge after setting focus to the address bar.
  • We fixed an issue where the tab previews for PDFs were black with a white bar on each side.
  • We fixed an issue where the first time you pressed Ctrl + F to open Search, the search box doesn’t get focus. We also fixed an issue where you might be unable to type in the address bar after clicking on CTRL+F text field.
  • We fixed an issue where “Open with previous pages” wouldn’t recover tabs after dragging a tab between two Microsoft Edge windows.
  • We fixed an issue resulting copy/paste and the print dialog not working for those using the updated Youtube.com website design.
  • We fixed an issue where Ctrl + Click on a link in a PDF wouldn’t open the link in a new tab.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in PDFs potentially rendering blank after panning down a few pages and back up.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights where Alt + D wouldn’t bring input focus to the address bar when certain keyboards were active.

Input Improvements:

  • We fixed an issue resulting in the enter key not working properly in Facebook Messenger.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Delete key on the full touch keyboard layout unexpectedly inserting a period in UWP apps.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in a stutter when selecting long strings in certain single line editable text boxes (for example when naming favorites in Microsoft Edge).

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • RS4 builds include many of the same fixes included in the latest RS3 builds.
  • We are introducing a new color wheel to Color & High Contrast Settings to help you get a feel for the effect of each of the different available color filters.
  • You may see a Microsoft Edge shortcut on your desktop after upgrading to this build. You can delete the shortcut, upgrade from this build and it will not return.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Mod Organizer no longer load mods into Skyrim in recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the last flighted build sometimes green screening with a SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION in win32kfull.sys.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the WIN+X menu sometimes unexpectedly missing the accelerator key underline hints.

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Here is Everything New in Windows 10 Build 16362

New week, new Windows built. The Redmond Giant rolled out Windows 10 build 16362 on 13th September. The new build is only available for users who have opted for “Skip Ahead” option in their Windows Insider accounts and it focuses on improved booting experience and Narrator experiences mainly. Apart from that the new build also adds improvements to Window shell and Microsoft Edge web browser.

Here is the complete changelog from Microsoft’s Blog:

What’s new in Build 16362

Improved Boot Experience

Use sign-in info to apply settings after a restart or update: Building on our work seen in Build 16251, if you stay on the lock screen for a few seconds before signing in, you will now see your lock screen personalization (such as Windows Spotlight, and/or status information from Cortana, Calendar, Mail, and more). As always, you can customize your lock screen experience using the settings listed under Settings > Personalization > Lock screen.

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:

Under the Privacy section of the Sign-in options page of your Settings, you can disable and re-enable using this option.

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.

Narrator Improvements:

You can now select the desired audio channel for Narrator speech output! Simply go to Settings > Ease of Access > Narrator and you’ll find a new option to do this at the top of the “Sounds you hear” section

You can now select the desired audio channel for Narrator speech output!

Windows Shell Improvements

  • We fixed an issue where minimized app windows on mixed-DPI monitor setups might end up drawing offscreen after your PC resumed from sleep.
  • We fixed an issue where if you changed your display language preference to something other than the machine’s default then any app which did not take an update while also getting the updated language resource package from the Store would end up continuing to display its tile in Start in that default language rather than the new language displayed within the app and other system UI.
  • We’ve updated the Action Center to now use “AM” / “PM” when indicating timestamp with the 12hr clock format, rather than “a” / “p”.
  • We fixed an issue where using the letters in Start to jump to different locations in the alphabet wasn’t consistently working in the last few flights.
  • We fixed an issue where when the People button was present in taskbar, and toast-only banners (for example from Outlook 2016) were sent, the Action Center badge counter would become inaccurate.

Microsoft Edge Improvements

  • We fixed an issue resulting in multiple apps crashing in the previous flight if you tried to log into the app using Facebook.
  • We fixed an issue where pasting an image to Imgur.com from your clipboard wouldn’t work.
  • We fixed an issue which could result in uploads failing on some sites, such as Behance.net.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in drag and drop onto websites intermittently not working.
  • We fixed an issue where Microsoft Edge would crash after choosing to pin certain websites to Start.
  • We fixed an issue where a tab could get in a state where it displayed a tab preview thumbnail even though your mouse wasn’t hovering over the tab.
  • We fixed an issue where website tooltips could end up displaying behind the Microsoft Edge window after opening a link in new tab in the background.
  • We fixed an issue for certain websites where after watching an embedded video full screen then using Esc to return to the page would result in the video controller no longer being visible.
  • We’ve updated editable fields in PDFs to now have a subtle color to help indicate that they’re editable.

Gaming Improvements

  • We fixed an issue resulting in Ghost Recon: Wildlands not starting in recent flights since the Easy anti-cheat component wouldn’t load.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Train Simulator 2017 failing to launch on recent flights.

Input Improvements

  • We fixed an issue where the Pinyin IME’s emoji picker wouldn’t load in recent flights.
  • We fixed an issue where the Emoji Panel’s tooltips could become mixed up.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights resulting in precision touchpads potentially dropping gestures after coming out of sleep.
  • We’ve made some adjustments to address an issue resulting in sudden and brief CPU spikes where you couldn’t move your mouse. If you’ve encountered this, please try it in this new build and let us know if your experience has improved.
  • We fixed an issue where when using the Chinese (Simplified) handwriting panel InputPersonalization.exe could get into a state where it would unexpectedly have a continually high CPU usage.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

  • We’ve updated the Run dialog so when hold Ctrl + Shift then click OK or press enter, it will run that task or program elevated, just like how it works in Cortana.
  • We fixed an issue where the Windows Defender Security Center app icon was missing in taskbar when the app was open, as well in Start’s all apps list. You will also notice that the icon is now un-plated in the taskbar.
  • We fixed the issue where USBhub.sys was causing spontaneous reboots due to bugchecks (GSOD).
  • We fixed an issue where the battery flyout might incorrectly show “PC not charging” while the device was changing in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue where fonts using shortcuts would become unusable and disappear from the Fonts folder.
  • We fixed an issue where upgrading to recent flights would fail if you had a speech for a secondary language installed.
  • We fixed an issue from recent flights resulting in some Insiders experiencing an issue where Store apps would begin to fail to activate after being launched a few times.
  • We fixed an issue where your PC might not go to sleep automatically after remoting into it and signing out of the remote session.

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The Latest Windows 10 Preview Adds Phone Linking, Better Cortana and Performance Improvements

While the last Windows Insider build did not add any new notable feature, it looks like the Redmond Giant was preparing to add changes in a bulk, on 26th July, the company rolled out Windows 10’s insider build 16251 for PC and a built numbered 15235 for Windows Mobiles. The Windows update contains some improvements to Cortana which can now show results without opening Microsoft Edge web browser, another important addition is that now Windows 10 will play better with Android and iOS phones as it will have some linking features built into the OS. For other changes, here is the changelog:


What’s New in Build 16251 For PC

Windows lets you link your phone and PC

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.

New Phones settings page

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!

Sharing to PC Step 1. Sharing to PC Step 2. Sharing to PC Step 3.

Get web search results in Cortana without opening your browser

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.

Get web search results in Cortana without opening your browser.

 

Use Cortana voice commands to lock, sign-out, shutdown, or turn off your PC

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.

Improved Boot Up Experience

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 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.

Command-line options:

  • 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.

PC Gaming Improvements

  • Some users may see Game Mode enabled in the Game Bar by default for some of their games.

What’s New in Build 15235 for Mobile

Switch to portrait mode orientation in Continuum

Are you an Windows Insider who is loving the convenience of Continuum by carrying your PC in your pocket? We have heard your VERY PASSIONATE feedback and just made it better. We’re excited to introduce portrait mode support for Continuum starting with this build of Windows 10 Mobile.

Without portrait mode support, the landscape rendering of Continuum from your phone on a portrait oriented monitor would look like this:

Continuum used to look like this.

Now, it will look like this:

Now Continuum looks like this.

To enable this,  go to Settings > System > Display on your device and change the display orientation to “Portrait” and press apply.

To enable this,  go to Settings > System > Display on your device and change the display orientation to “Portrait” and press apply.

If your phone is connected to a monitor via cable, your phone will ask you to disconnect and reconnect the cable to the external display and press ok to change the orientation to portrait. If your phone is connected to a monitor via Wi-Fi, your phone will ask you to disconnect and reconnect to your wireless display. Once this is done, your phone will remember the orientation and you will not have to repeat the setup process when connecting again to the same monitor.


For more details, you can see Microsoft’s announcement post.

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5KPlayer Review: A Worthy Alternative to Movies & TV app

5KPlayer prides itself by saying it is more than a media player, to its credit, the app has built in support for downloading online videos, AirPlay support and it also supports playing Online radio. Let’s take a look and find if it’s worth your time or not.

Every operating system should cover some basic requirements: it should be easy to use, it should be secure and it should have great apps for general work. While the first is true and second is debatable for Windows 10, I don’t think the default Movies & TV app for Windows 10 is worth using. File format support is not strong, UI is not great and it is not customizable at all. We have talked about some alternatives that you can use in past, today, let’s take a look at 5KPlayer, a Windows and Mac supported media player that I have been using since last few days.

Made by a firm named DearMob, 5KPlayer prides itself by saying it is more than a media player, to its credit, the app has built in support for downloading online videos, AirPlay and it also supports playing Online radio. Let’s take a look and find if it’s worth your time or not in our 5KPlayer review.

Installation and configuration

Installation was pretty straightforward, you need to go to the 5KPlayer’s website and pick what OS do you use, after that, download around 40-megabyte offline installer and you are good to go. Unlike many apps for Windows, 5KPlayer did not try to sneak-in any adware or bloatware which is great too.

5kplayer review
Installation screen

The startup times are quick too and I found 5KPlayer to be responsive on both my computers, one running Skylake quad core i7 and the other one on a fifth generation dual core i3 processor.

Right after the first launch, the app asked me if I wanted to register, if you want AirPlay support you can register, I skipped and 5K Player did not ask about that anytime later.

UI and Navigation

5KPlayer Review: Library UI

Once you open it, you will find that app is divided into 2 tabs, first one is labeled 5KPlayer, which works just like a Now-Playing screen and the second one called the library. The first one is simple and works just like it should and the second one is where most organization and playlist management can be done.

The library is divided into many sections each for categorizing Music, Videos, YouTube downloads, and Playlists. There is a straight forward search bar at the top right corner and a button to toggle list and grid view. The UI is easy enough to navigate around without any trouble, and I liked how you can mark a media file “Favorite” just by one click.  This marked music and video files can then be quickly accessed from the Favorites section from the navigation pane. I would like to have an option to change the skin to light colors though, maybe it will come in future with an update.

Features of the app

The player window is fairly simple and straightforward to understand, if you are playing some videos and also working on some other window, 5KPlayer hides the title and menu bar unless you move your mouse over to it again, which makes it a lot like the Picture-in-picture mode in iOS 11. The player has YouTube downloading support too, to download a video, you will have to paste the video URL on the library’s YouTube section, after pasting the URL, you can pick what resolution you want and whether you just want audio or you want the complete video. While YouTube download component is not as full featured as paid tools such as KeepVid Pro or YouTube By Click, it should be enough to serve casual users very well.

Selecting any file in library brings some details about file and a handy conversion option, which works just as it should. For audio files, 5KPlayer converting to MP3 and ACC and in the case of video, I found H.264 MP4 conversion present.

The Player also supports AirPlay. Because I have an HTPC connected to my TV, I did not test the feature but a quick search on Google revealed that the function works just as advertised. 5KPlayer has online radio as well, where you can either enter the URL of stream yourself or you can pick from a handful of already added shortcuts. Once you have entered correct URL, Radio kicks in and if you need, it supports pausing the stream too.

Using 5KPlayer

5KPlayer has responsive launch times and I liked how despite being free, it did not show any obtrusive ad to me. If you are adding a ton of videos to the library, it may take some time to process files for the first time, but once it’s done once, the library navigation is quick and easy.  I threw some ripped MKVs and downloaded 4K mp4 videos to the app and the performance was smooth on my laptop that ran on i7 6700HQ and Geforce 960M graphics card.

It supports almost all common media formats including mp3, mp4, mkv, wmv, wma and flv. I tried playing some DVDs and ISO files which also worked very well.  When playing a 1080p video, 5KPlayer takes around 140 MB footprint on RAM which is definitely impressive compared to other heavyweight media players.

5KPlayer Reivew: Playing music on 5KPlayer
Playing music on 5KPlayer

Conclusion

5KPlayer is a good alternative if you are still using default Movies and TV app. The UI leaves some room for improvements, but using the app is simple and straightforward. The app is free and it has some interesting and unique features that VLC and others don’t have. If you are looking for a lightweight media player that should also come with Radio support and AirPlay support, 5KPlayer is worth a look.

Recommended: 6 Best Music Players for Windows 10

Windows 10’s Latest Build is All About Security And Windows Defender

After some terrifying ransomware attacks, the Redmond Giant is trying its best to make Windows as secure as possible. In its attempts, the company released another Windows built on Wednesday. The latest Windows build includes many new and added features around security, most notably an added Exploit Protection and some improvements in Windows Defender Application Guard. The build is numbered 16232 and at the time of writing, it is only available for Windows Insiders in the fast ring.

If you are interested, following are some important changes:


What’s New in Build 16232 For PC

Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) Improvements:

Giving you access to all the rich features in Microsoft Edge while using Application Guard: Building on our work in Build 16188, we have added support for Microsoft Edge data persistence while using Application Guard. Once enabled, data such as your favorites, cookies, and saved passwords will be persisted across Application Guard sessions. The persisted data will be not be shared or surfaced on the host, but it will be available for future Microsoft Edge in Application Guard sessions.

How to take advantage of Data Persistence when using Microsoft Edge with Application Guard: You enable Data Persistence for Microsoft Edge in Application Guard using Group Policy. Note that Data Persistence for Application Guard with Microsoft Edge sessions is not enabled by default. To enable data persistence, close all Microsoft Edge windows and update the Windows Components > Windows Defender Application Guard policy to turn on data persistence:

To enable data persistence, close all Microsoft Edge windows and update the Windows Components > Windows Defender Application Guard policy to turn on data persistence.

After the Group Policy settings are set, next launch New Application Guard Window from the Microsoft Edge menu:

Launching a New Application Guard Window from the Microsoft Edge menu.

New Application Guard window.

Then browse to your favorite web site and add it to Favorites in Microsoft Edge as shown here:

Browse to your favorite web site and add it to Favorites in Microsoft Edge.

How to find your Favorites after you close Edge with Application Guard: Since you have enabled Data Persistence using Group Policy for Application Guard, the site you saved to your Favorites will be available for later use, with Microsoft Edge in Application Guard, even after reboots as well as build to build upgrades of Windows.

The site you saved to your Favorites will be available for later use, with Microsoft Edge in Application Guard, even after reboots as well as build to build upgrades of Windows.

Exploit Protection:

We’re excited to announce that starting with this build you can now audit, configure, and manage Windows system and application exploit mitigation settings right from the Windows Defender Security Center! You don’t need to be using Windows Defender Antivirus to take advantage of these settings.

After upgrading to this build, you can find these settings by opening the Windows Defender Security Center and going to the App & browser control page:

  • Either right-click the icon in the notification area on the taskbar and click Open, or search via the Start menu for Windows Defender Security Center
  • From Windows Defender Security Center, click on App & browser control and then scroll to the bottom of the resulting screen to find Exploit Protection

Introducing Exploit Protection.

Introducing Controlled folder access in Windows Defender Antivirus:

In this build, we’re making it easier for you to protect valuable data from malicious apps and threats, such as ransomware. To enable the feature, search for and open the Windows Defender Security Center from Start, go to the Virus & threat protection settings section, and set the switch to On:

Enable Controlled folder access.

Controlled folder access monitors the changes that apps make to files in certain protected folders. If an app attempts to make a change to these files, and the app is blacklisted by the feature, you’ll get a notification about the attempt. You can complement the protected folders with additional locations, and add the apps that you want to allow access to those folders.

Allowing apps can be useful if you’re finding a particular app that you know and trust is being blocked by the Controlled folder access feature. Click Allow an app through Controlled folder access and locate and add the app you want to allow.

Allowing apps can be useful if you’re finding a particular app that you know and trust is being blocked by the Controlled folder access feature.

You can add additional folders to the list of protected folders, but you cannot alter the default list, which includes folders such as Documents, Pictures, Movies, and Desktop. Adding other folders to Controlled folder access can be handy, for example, if you don’t store files in the default Windows libraries or you’ve changed the location of the libraries away from the defaults.

Click Protected folders in the Controlled folder access area and enter the full path of the folder you want to monitor. You can also enter network shares and mapped drives, but environment variables and wildcards are not supported (for right now).

Click Protected folders in the Controlled folder access area and enter the full path of the folder you want to monitor.

There are some other changes too, you can see the complete changelog here.


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Windows 10’s Insider Build 16215 is Out, Here is Everything You Need To Know

After the last build update a couple weeks ago, Microsoft announced the rollout of a new build of Windows for its insider program. The build number 16215 is currently released to Insiders in the fast ring and older builds, this one is more focused on adding Microsoft’s new Fluent Design and Microsoft Edge improvements.

Aside from that Microsoft has made some improvements to Cortana, PDF reader and Handwriting experience too. The company posted a detailed Changelog on its blog, following are some of the most notable new features:

Start & Action Center bring elements of Fluent Design

This build introduces new UI for Start and Action Center that includes elements of our new Fluent Design System which was announced at Build 2017.

Start improvements include:

  • Acrylic: If you have transparency enabled for Start, you’ll notice it’s now been updated to use the new acrylic design.
  • Vertical resize: No more glitches at the bottom of the frame.
  • Horizontal resize: The frame now starts resizing horizontally immediately (like vertical resize), as opposed to only “snapping” to certain widths.
  • Diagonal resize: The frame can be resized diagonally!
  • Resize grips: It’s now easier to “grip” the edge of the frame to start resizing.
  • Tablet mode transition: Smoother transition into tablet mode.

A new look for Action Center: Action Center has been redesigned based on your feedback to provide much clearer information separation and hierarchy. And the new design for Action Center also includes elements of our Fluent Design System such as acrylic! (and in case you were wondering, we’ve also added acrylic to our notification toasts!). As a reminder, you can customize the visible quick actions by going to Settings > System > Notifications & actions.

Microsoft Edge Improvements

Pin your favorite websites to your taskbar: Pinned sites are back! We heard your feedback, and are in this build you can now pin a website to the taskbar from Microsoft Edge! We’ll use the site’s icon to give you quick access to your favorite sites right from the taskbar. Simply select “Pin this page to the taskbar” from the settings menu in Microsoft Edge.

Pin websites to your taskbar with Microsoft Edge!

Full screen mode (F11) in Microsoft Edge: This build introduces a new Full Screen experience in Microsoft Edge. Simply press F11 or choose the new Full Screen icon in the Settings menu to take your websites full-screen. You can exit Full-Screen view by pressing F11 again, or by clicking the Restore icon in the top-right corner.

Cortana Improvements

Taking Cortana reminders to the next level through vision intelligence: Most of us have experienced taking a picture of upcoming event poster or bookmarking an event site for future reference, only to forget about it later. With this build, we’re rolling out two new features starting with the en-us market to help you never again miss an event you’re interested in!

Cortana camera roll insights: With your permission, Cortana will now prompt you to create a reminder when she notices event posters in your camera roll! To try it out, make sure you’re signed into Cortana with your MSA or work account, and then give Cortana permission to access your camera roll via Settings > Cortana > Permissions & history > “Manage the information Cortana can access from this device”. The next time you take a picture of a flier for an upcoming event, Cortana will reach out asking if you want to create a reminder for that time.

Cortana Lasso: Are you a pen user? If so, Cortana can now help keep track of future events on your screen! Use the new lasso tool to circle the relevant information and Cortana will recognize the time, and offer suggested follow-ups through a context menu. Keeping track of upcoming events has never been easier! To try it out, go to Settings > Device > Pen & Windows Ink > Press and hold, and select Cortana Lasso in the dropdown picker. Find a website with upcoming event info, or an event poster someone shared in social media – once you have the event on your screen, just press and hold the pen back button, circle the time information, and watch Cortana do her magic. That easy!

Hardware keyboard Improvements

Entering emoji on your hardware keyboard just got easier: We’ve heard your feedback, and today we’re happy to announce the new Emoji Panel! Press Win + period (.) or Win + semicolon (;) while focus is in a text box and the Emoji Panel will pop up for you to quickly scroll through and pick the emoji you want.

The new Emoji Panel!

In the “People” emoji category, you can change the skin tone of the emoji by clicking the button on the top-right:

In the "People" emoji category, you can change the skin tone of the emoji.

To get the update, you need to opt-in to Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program, because Insider builds (especially the Fast Ring ones) can be buggy, I wouldn’t recommend you to run in on a PC that you use for work.

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Everything You Should Know About Microsoft’s Windows 10 Cloud

Windows 10 Cloud is a new version of the Windows 10 made with the aim of competing with Googles Chromebooks in the field of education. With the Windows 10 Cloud, Microsoft plans of taking the education field by storm. Here we have compiled a list of all that you need to know about Windows 10 Cloud

It is not really a ‘Cloud’ OS

The word cloud in its name confuses many people. It is just like any other OS with no connection with Cloud services. Apart from the usual OneDrive sync support. It is possible that You will be pushed a bit more on Windows 10 Cloud toward the OneDrive, other than that it is totally similar to Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Home.

It looks almost same as  Windows 10

With just one look at it, you will think that Windows 10 Cloud isn’t all that different from all the other versions of Windows 10. It looks like any other version of Windows 10 apart from the fact that the wallpaper on it is a bit different.

This will be a plus point as users will be familiar with the Windows 10 experience so they won’t take much time getting used to it.

It will be locked to the Windows Store

The biggest thing that sets Windows 10 Cloud apart from other versions of Windows 10 is the fact that it is locked to Windows Store for apps and games. This means you can not install programs from the Web. The Windows 10 Cloud will refuse to download any program that isn’t from Windows Store.

There is no way to turn this feature off. All you can do is upgrade to Windows 10 Pro, but then you will no longer be on Windows 10 cloud.

It should be more secure

As you can’t download any apps from the outside it makes the system more secure. It won’t allow any malate from downloading on its own as it won’t run on the Windows 10 Cloud. All the programs are from Windows Store where they are first checked by Microsoft then made available for download.

It is not a Lite version of Windows 10

Many people believe that because it is tied to Windows Store it is a Lite version of Windows 10. But this isn’t true, it has the ability to run full Win32 programs. Any software available on Windows Store will run on Windows 10 cloud.

That means if Google puts Chrome on Windows Store it will run on Windows 10 Cloud.

Microsoft Office will a big part of Windows 10 Cloud

It is very likely that Microsoft will push the full version of Office with its Windows 10 Cloud. Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Excel 2016 and OneNote are pinned to the Start menu by default. This means that they won’t be downloaded on your system, once you click on the pin you will be taken to the store to download it.

It’ll (probably) be free for hardware makers

It is possible that Microsoft will make Windows 10 Cloud available for free for hardware makers to be preloaded on the low-end as well as high-end devices. And if the cost of low-end devices are kept very low it will make it more affordable for the users.

This strategy was used by Microsoft back with Windows 8.1 with a version called Windows 8.1 with Bing. It was similar to Windows 8.1 except for the fact that it was available to hardware makers for free if they kept Bing as the default browser on the device. This strategy could be used with Windows 10 Cloud as well.

Microsoft will likely officially unveil Windows 10 Cloud on May 2, along with new Surface hardware.

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Microsoft Just Released Windows 10 Build 16176 for Insiders

The Redmond giant announced today that it has launched new insider builds for both PCs and Mobile versions of Windows 10. These builds are on the fast rings and will only be made available to Windows Insiders.

The Build number for PC is 16176 and for Windows Mobile insiders, the version number of the build is 15204. The phone build is only launched for the following phones:

  • HP Elite x3
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
  • Microsoft Lumia 640/640XL
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
  • Microsoft Lumia 950/950 XL
  • Alcatel IDOL 4S
  • Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL
  • SoftBank 503LV
  • VAIO Phone Biz
  • MouseComputer MADOSMA Q601
  • Trinity NuAns NEO

What’s new for PC?

  • Windows Subsystem for Linux Gains Serial Device Support: Windows COM ports can now be accessed directly from a WSL process!
  • You can now hold down the power button on your device for 7 seconds to trigger a bugcheck. This will only work on newer devices that don’t uses legacy ACPI power buttons.
  • Narrator will work again on this build.
  • We fixed the issue causing some apps and games to crash due to a misconfiguration of advertising ID that happened in a prior build.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Start menu and Action Center having a noticeable framerate drop in their animations on certain devices if transparency was enabled and there were open UWP apps.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous build where the Action Center could get into a state where dismissing one notification unexpectedly dismissed multiple.
  • We fixed an issue where the Clock and Calendar flyout was unexpectedly missing the agenda integration for some Insiders.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous build (Build 16170) resulting in Surface Books unexpectedly doing a disk check after waking from sleep due to it bugchecking during sleep.
  • We fixed an issue from the previous build resulting in Win32 app text sometimes not rendering, for example in File Explorer, until logging out and back in.
  • We fixed an issue where the Extensions Process was suspended inappropriately during Connected Standby, resulting in Microsoft Edge becoming unresponsive on wake if any extensions had been installed.

What’s new for Mobile?

  • We have added a new privacy page to the Windows 10 Mobile OOBE experience that allows you to quickly and effectively make common privacy changes while setting up the device. You can read more about our Windows 10 privacy journey here.
  • We fixed the issue where the keyboard would sometimes not appear when a text input field is selected in Microsoft Edge.

If you are interested, you can read more details here.

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No Wait: You Can Install Windows 10 Creators Update Right Now

As we have already discussed, Microsoft will officially start pushing the Creators update on April 11. The update is focused on creators specifically and it adds many new features much like Microsoft did with Anniversary update for Windows 10. If you don’t want to wait, however, you can install the update now.

Microsoft Said in a blog post that to get Creators update right now, you will have to download and run the Update Assistant from here. Once launched, the small utility will automatically download and install the Windows version 1703 for you. Keep in mind that the update may take a few gigabytes of data and hence the time taken will depend on your internet speed.

In past, Microsoft has been very aggressive on pushing Windows 10 updates and upgrades.  This time, it looks like Microsoft is on a bit of ease. With Creators update, you will have some control about how to install the update. Microsoft said “These include the ability to specify a time that is convenient for you, pause updates for a week, and expand the “active hours” time window during which you don’t want to be disturbed by an update. If you’re running a Windows 10 PC at work, check with your IT administrator for details regarding your organization’s rollout plans,”

Game mode in Windows 10

If you want to learn about what is new in the creator’s update, we have already talked about it in this post. In summary, the update will bring better tab management to Microsoft Edge, it will add an f.lux like blue light filter, a new Game mode, Microsoft VR support and PiP mode to Windows 10.

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Windows 10 Will Soon Let You Try Apps Without Installing Them First

While getting people to install your apps on their devices was easier in the past, since last year, developers started to notice app fatigue: people are not that interested in installing and trying new apps because they are already tired. To get app installs higher, Microsoft announced Playable ads for Windows 10 yesterday.

This new feature will allow you to see how an app works without needing it to be installed from the Windows Store at all.

As per the announcement, the preview launched last week in Windows Dev Center, and once advertisers have started taking advantage of it, you will be able to stream any app or game for three minutes for free.

Playable ads are very similar to Google’s Android Instant Apps project, which enable’s users to stream some apps directly to their phone without requiring any installation from the Google Play Store. However, both are a bit different considering, converting an App into Instant App for Android requires a lot of modifications while Microsoft is sure that developers will not have to make any significant change to the app for it to be ready for Playable ads.

I don’t think Playable ads will be an alternative for Installing Apps locally because they are -after all- called ads and one can only be used for 3 minutes. But these streaming apps will help users deciding if an app is worth their money or not, which is great for users.

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft made no announcements about availability dates and the new feature is in Limited Preview, but you can expect to see more ads for Windows Apps in upcoming months.

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