On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled the upcoming changes to Windows 10. They said that a new build, including many of the announced features (but not everything) would be available within a week. Well, a mere two days later the build is now available for download. In order to gain access to the preview builds, you have to join the Windows Insider program, which has no cost. In the one day after the event, Gabriel Aul tweeted that 173,624 people had joined the program, which had over 1.7 million members just the day before.

For those already on the Technical Preview, both the Windows 10 Fast and Slow rings have access to this new build, numbered 9926. Simply go to Settings, Update and Recovery, and choose the Preview Build tab to force a check. If you have not tried it out, but want to, of course first backup your PC before starting, and then head over to http://insider.windows.com/ to get access to the automated install, or the ISO files. Of note to people upgrading either from Windows 7, 8, or previous builds of 10, this is an in-place upgrade which should keep your software and settings intact, but does require a re-provisioning of your account. As a final warning, this is pre-release software, so if you are unsure whether you should be running it, the easy answer is that you likely should skip it.

Some of the new features coming in this build are fairly significant, with the first obvious one being an updated Start Menu. It can now be expanded to a full screen experience, just like any app. It also has a scrollable list of live tiles, which can be customized as you prefer.

Cortana is coming to the desktop in this build as well, although it is limited to the USA and English at the moment.

Continuum is now available, which is the automated method of switching a device to touch mode and back, and it can be accessed through the updated Action Center as well, which now includes toggles for various modes. The settings app is also new, and blends the Windows 8 style settings with the traditional control panel.

There is now a switch in the action center to make it easier to connect to Bluetooth and Miracast devices, to project audio or video wirelessly.

On the app side, there is a new Windows Store beta, with a much cleaner look and feel, as well as the new Photos map which was demoed on Wednesday. Maps is also updated to the demonstrated build, and the much revamped Xbox app is also available.

There is a lot of other changes as well, such as the ability to choose which folder is the default when opening File Explorer, there have been Snap Assist changes, more languages are supported, and even Windows Updates can be scheduled to install at specific times with a radio button.

If you do upgrade to this build, be sure to check Windows Update as well. There are a couple of patches which fix known issues.

I am installing right now, and we will go over more of the changes in a future post.

Source: Windows Blog

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  • Visual - Monday, January 26, 2015 - link

    If he's found the undocumented COM API's, a powershell command should do. Without looking, I'd not be surprised if even a registry change is enough. Obviously not a one-size-fits-all universal regedit file, but something customized and tailored for the specific device ids on a system.
    But I see no reason why it should be "any easier" for random programs to change my default audio device, as opposed to select a device to use for themselves only.
  • Gigaplex - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    Sounds like I don't need to rush for this update since there's very little that will impact me. Cortana doesn't work outside USA and my conventional laptop has no use for Continuum. I use VHD native boot, which unfortunately is incompatible with the upgrade process, so it's a royal pain in the ass to perform the upgrade.
  • wpcoe - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    "For those already on the Technical Preview, both the Windows 10 Fast and Slow rings have access to this new build, numbered 9926. Simply go to Settings, Update and Recovery, and choose the Preview Build tab to force a check."

    I have Build 9879 installed, but when I go to the Preview Build tab and click on Check Now, it says "No new preview build was found, please try again later"

    Is Build 9926 still available?
  • Brett Howse - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    Make sure you have KB3025380 https://twitter.com/GabeAul/status/558637466404397...

    Also, if that does not work, you can download the ISO files and update that way.
  • wpcoe - Saturday, January 24, 2015 - link

    Thanks, that did the trick. After two rounds of Windows Updates, the new build showed available and it is now installed. Time now to spend some time checking it out.
  • Narg - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    I just installed this version. I don't like the new Start Menu at all. The last version's Start Menu was nice, but still needed work. This one is no good. It's slow, no folders, not resizable, not very editable, and makes older Windows Programs even harder to find and run. I sure hope they do better before release.
  • Narg - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    ..oh and Cortana should be inside the Start Menu, not on the task bar!
  • inighthawki - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    There are folders, they're just well disguised as all the other apps and difficult to notice. They are there though.

    I do agree, though. The new start menu is way worse.

    -It's not resizable
    -I can't choose the things that show up on the system pins (i.e. can't remove them either). Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to force me to always have explorer, settings, and documents on there taking up valuable space in the MFU list?
    -Search being outside of the start menu is dumb. It's still one click+Type to access search in both ways, so why waste space on the taskbar? (Which btw, it doesn't really work well with small taskbar)
    -The icons in the all apps view are way too big. Makes it difficult to find things quickly with the amount of scrolling required.

    It has so much potential, though. With only a handful of minor tweaks they could really make it shine. I guess on the plus side they finally realized how retarded it was to force the 2 tile columns. You can now place the tiles wherever you want. It's too bad the tiles are still too large and ugly to be useful.
  • Murloc - Saturday, January 24, 2015 - link

    well you better complain to microsoft on the proper websites then.
  • inighthawki - Saturday, January 24, 2015 - link

    Oh I already have. I've submitted a lot of feedback to the feedback app, don't worry :)

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