This afternoon, Microsoft release a new build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which is build number 10041. Just a few days ago, they promised to ramp up the builds, which have been stagnant since the January release. I have been running that build on my main computer since it was released, and several bugs have lingered which I kept hoping would be sorted out with a new build. Unfortunately it took almost two months to get a new build, and it is too early to see if some of the bugs have been sorted out.

For those in the Insider Program, if your computer is in the “Fast” ring for Technical Preview updates, you can get this update through Windows Update. Microsoft will not be providing ISO files for fast ring builds, but will continue to provide ISO files for slow ring builds. There is no update yet on when the next slow ring build will be though.

Fast ring updates should be coming out much quicker now, so for those that want a more stable machine, the slow ring may be the safer bet. Microsoft is hoping to have at least one or two new builds per month. Due to the frequency increase, we may not give a full breakdown on changes unless a new feature emerges which needs some discussion.

The one big feature that was supposed to be in the “next” build was the new Spartan web browser, however some technical hurdles with the code have prevented this for build 10041, although we are promised it for the next round. For those that have missed it, Spartan is a new branch of Internet Explorer, which keeps some of the components but ejects a lot of the legacy code in an attempt to have a leaner, faster browser. Early results from the new ECMAScript engine were promising, with results that are comparable to Chrome. It will be the default browser in Windows 10, with Internet Explorer being moved to the background for enterprises which rely on its features only. As with previous builds, some of the new Spartan capabilities can be tested from within Internet Explorer too.

For build 10041 though, there are a few changes. The Start Menu has been tweaked, and now has a transparency effect. The login is now a new look and feel, which is actually quite nice. Virtual Desktops have gotten a big update. One of the things that I did not like about Virtual Desktops was that any apps open on a virtual desktop would be on the taskbar, which clutters the taskbar on the desktop you are on. You can now filter the taskbar so that a taskbar will only show the apps running on that desktop. Because this is just a filter, those that prefer it the old way will be able to keep it as status quo.

The much touted Cortana personal assistant is now available in many more markets. Microsoft has China, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain listed as new markets for Cortana, but I can confirm from my chair in Canada that Cortana is now in Canada as well.

One of the things that people have lamented from the days of Windows 8.1 was the ability to choose networks. The Charms settings for Wireless was very easy to use, and quite effective. Windows 10 now has a “Windows 10 style” flyout window, which is similar to the Action Center notification window in look and feel. The UX of both are still works in progress, but the initial functionality is there.

One of the more interesting additions, which is very much welcome in my household, is a big change to how Windows Update can get updates. Windows Update will now be able to pull the update files from sources other than Microsoft, including devices on your local area network. Apps will also be available, so when you have a multi-PC household, as long as one of the devices has already downloaded an app or update, your computer will no longer need to traverse the internet and be limited by your ISP or more importantly the possibility of limited data usage on mobile networks. With some apps being in the multi-gigabyte range, this is a huge change and very welcome.

The new build is still not finished code, so be aware that there are quite a list of known issues. For the complete list, or if you run into any issues with the new build, be sure to check out the source link.

Source: Windows Blog

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  • Makaveli - Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - link

    I just update to this build now in my VM and the speed is nice of this build. I'm wondering about the summer launch myself.
  • Leonick - Thursday, March 19, 2015 - link

    Well, why not? What mostly needs to be done is some tweaking of the Start Menu, some bug fixing and move over all the stuff from the control panel to the new settings app. That's really what's needed. Especially if they're smart and drop their stupid tradition of only doing feature additions or changes in major version every year, but they seem to be changing the way they do updates to something closer to the OS X \ iOS \ Android, more flexible.
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - link

    "...those that prefer it the old way will be able to keep it as status quo."

    "...from the days of Windows 8.1..."

    Wow, really? This isn't even out yet. The preview has only been for several months, even.

    They should make sure the separate virtual desktop taskbars are the default, so this kind of thing doesn't bother everyone for years to come.

    I'd like them to put that panel back in that lets you edit your wi-fi configurations, too.
  • mercutio - Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - link

    argh this build broke my network (always says cable unplugged, and it seemingly tries to update the network driver when i downgrade it), and synergy seems to have stopped working with mouse on other computer (but works with keyboard), and it seems to darken the screen and not reboot.

    it seems slightly quicker though.
  • lilmoe - Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - link

    Definitely faster and more fluid than previous builds (testing it on a Core 2 Duo).
    This build broke my Realtek High Dfinition sound drivers though, trying to fix stuff. Any similar encounters?
  • Brett Howse - Thursday, March 19, 2015 - link

    Yes my VIA HD Audio on my motherboard also is having issues. I had to change the audio from 2 channel to quadraphonic in order to restore sound. On the last build, I had to set it to 5.1 audio, so there's some known issues here. Give that a try.
  • lilmoe - Thursday, March 19, 2015 - link

    Actually, mine doesn't want to load the driver at all. It says that the sound driver cannot be installed (using windows update). I'm trying older drivers atm.
  • lilmoe - Thursday, March 19, 2015 - link

    Solved. There seems to be some changes in the audio driver stack in the latest build (actually starting from build 9926, the problem starts after Windows Update installs new Realtek drivers). A previous (known) bug in the Realtek driver resurfaces with the latest changes in Microsoft's code. Installing a driver directly (whether via Windows Update or from the OEM wont work and will cause a error.

    For those having the same issue (which seems quite a few do), and if you have a red "x" mark on the audio icon in the task bar and/or your driver cannot install successfully, try the following:

    - Device Manager -> High Definition Audio (right click) -> Update Driver Software
    - Select "Browse my computer for driver software"
    - Select "Let me pick from list of device drivers on my computer"
    - Select first option (or: High definition audio), and not any other from Realtek or Microsoft.
    - If it doesn't work, try others in the list.

    This reverts the driver back to default Microsoft driver (pre-update), but you'll probably lose some advanced features provided by the chip (like surround and sub-woofer). It's a temporary work-around until Microsoft resolves the driver issue with Realtek/Intel.
  • lilmoe - Thursday, March 19, 2015 - link

    Thought I'd post the same solution in MSDN, but it seems it's already been discussed. Here's a link to show the same exact steps as the above.

    temp solution:

    original thread:
  • HollyDOL - Saturday, March 21, 2015 - link

    I see there is new driver for Realtek High Definition Audio (released March, 20). Any luck with that one?

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