As posted on Windows 10 is about to get a whole slew of new bells and whistles

Windows 10 is about to get a whole slew of new bells and whistles

Windows 10 is getting some useful new features.Windows 10 is getting some useful new features.

Image: miles goscha/mashable

Microsoft is rolling out a whole bunch of new features for Windows 10 with a new test version of the software — if you’re a Windows Insider on the Fast Ring, that is. 

The update, Preview Build 16215, is now available for members of Microsoft’s early access community. The additions and changes to the OS are largely focused on making the Windows experience more streamlined, fleshing out some of the announcements made on the Build stage last month about the upcoming Fall Creators Update, which is slated for release later this year .  

If you’re not in on the new version of the software, you can still take a look at exactly what the new build will bring thanks to a lengthy blog post. Let’s check out some of the highlights. 

First up is the new build’s embrace of the Fluent Design System, Microsoft’s new design language meant to harmonize the Windows experience across device types that was unveiled at Build. A new UI using the system is integrated directly into the Start and Action Center. The Start menu comes with the new acrylic transparency mode and smoother resizing options, while the Action Center has been redesigned for a more streamlined interface.  

You’ll be able to pin your favorite websites directly to the taskbar, which cuts out the middle step of launching your browser when you’re ready to get online. The pinned sites will launch through Microsoft’s native Edge browser, though, so if you’re a zealous Chrome user, you might be out of luck.  

Microsoft’s focus on AI isn’t lost in the new update, starting with some new Cortona improvements to help manage your busy schedule. The assistant’s vision intelligence capabilities will be used to give it the ability to recognize dates and times on images in your camera roll, so it can actively prompt you to add it to your calendar. You can also use your pen to “Lasso” information in images by circling the text, which Cortana will recognize and, again, add to your calendar. 

The Surface Pen gets some more useful features, too. The handwriting experience will be improved with a brand new panel. You’ll be able to write beyond the panel’s limits with a new overflow feature, edit and correct your work within the box, and even your worst chicken scratching will be likely to be recognized with amped up accuracy.

The pen also gets the ability to scroll directly onscreen and a new “Find My Pen” feature that will show you the last time you used it if (or maybe more likely when) it goes missing. 

Keyboards get a tuneup with the new build, too, and the tweaks look to take the typing experience on your PC closer to the one you have on your phone. Windows finally gets an automatic Emoji Panel on the hardware keyboard, similar to the macOS shortcut: just enter Win + period (.) or Win + semicolon (;) in a text box, seen below on Twitter, and you’ll be able to pick and choose from your favorite emoji.   

The touch keyboard has been totally overhauled to mimic the mobile typing experience, with tweaks to the tool’s text prediction abilities and a one-handed swipe texting option. That’ll probably be more unwieldy on your Surface than your phone — but hey, if the idea is to bring the two experiences together, why not give it a shot. 

The build comes with a ton of more minor features, tweaks, and changes to the OS, which should make it more accessible and less buggy. There’s a lot to sift through, if you’re a real Windows die-hard — but it should help you pass the time until the more finalized version of the Fall Creators Update drops later this year for everyone.