At the October event last month, Microsoft revealed the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10. The update – as the name suggests – focuses on adding new features for creators, such as the new Paint 3D app. It also tries to make Windows 10 more accessible, with improved accessibility features across the board.
It is, however, also an opportunity to fix some of the issues with Windows 10 – particularly, the inconsistent interface design across Windows. The recent leak about Microsoft’s new design language is, of course, the larger effort, but some smaller things can be fixed in the meantime.
If you haven’t used a UWP app – you might ask, what’s the ‘Share UI’; well, it is a menu that pops up when you click on the Share button in UWP apps – the feature emulates the sharing feature present in all modern mobile operating systems.
The feature was added to simplify the sharing experience on Windows 10 – all you need to do is click the share button, and pick the app you want to share the content with.
It might be surprising to know then; the Share experience on Windows 10 is not, in fact, from Windows 10, but from Windows 8 – it wasn’t revamped, overhauled, or touched at all.
It is a representative of the inconsistencies we see in Windows 10 – the File Explorer uses Ribbon UI, while the Control Panel is the same one present in Windows 7, meanwhile, the Start is now ‘Modern’ – but random parts of the UI such as the ‘Share UI’ are still following the older Windows 8 guidelines. The Windows 10 UI is truly a mess, and Microsoft wants to fix that with Redstone 3 – but that’s far away.
Thankfully, the Share experience doesn’t have to wait for Redstone 3 – it is being revamped in the Creators Update itself.
The Insiders, of course, are getting a glimpse at the update before everyone – Peter Skillman, General Manager of Core UX in Windows mentioned that the Share UI would be getting improvements in upcoming Windows Insider Preview builds, in a recent tweet.
— peter skillman (@peterskillman) November 25, 2016
Insiders, however, do not have to wait for the next build – with a simple registry tweak, they can enable an unfinished version of the UI.
If you are on Windows 10 Insider Build 14971 or up, simply follow these steps to enable the new Share UI:
- On your keyboard, press WinKey + R to open the Run command prompt.
- In the Run command prompt, type ‘regedit’ and press Enter, or click OK.
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\SharePlatform – you might need to create the SharePlatform key if it doesn’t exist.
- Inside the SharePlatform key, right-click and create a new DWORD 32-bit value – name it “EnableNewShareFlow.”
- Set the value to 1, and save it, then reboot your PC.
The next time you share something via the share button in any UWP app, you will get the new Share UI, albeit in a somewhat broken state.
As Skillman said, the Insiders will get to see the new UI properly at some point – when, that would be the case, remains unclear. Though, if the UI is present in current Insider builds – it shouldn’t take long for it to show up as the default UI.
Microsoft is finally admitting the inconsistencies in the Windows 10 UI and fixing them – nothing could be more delightful than a unified interface across the board, as it used to be up until Windows 8.