On the cold dark night of the Christmas Eve (or Christmas, depending on where you live), a leaked Windows build surfaced.
The Insider Program at Microsoft doesn’t shy away from warning its users that their builds might be full of bugs and problems; it is, still, a sanitized program. Insider builds come from the “rs_prerelease” branch of Windows, where incomplete or broken features are disabled and removed. The leaked Build 14997, however, originates from the “rs_onecore_base” branch, where the magic happens.
Magic, of course, is the stuff of pure imagination; but it’s also full of surprises, just like this build. A reminder: the Insider Program is on a hiatus until 2017; we might have features show up from this build in the next official Insider build.
Since this is a leaked build; there are no official release notes or change log. It is then, left to the community, to find the changes this build presents. Of course, finding under-the-hood improvements is much harder; the changes listed below are quite shallow, hence.
This is anything that appears to be changed, rather than everything that is.
Blue Light – The aliens aren’t trying to blow up New York, no. Blue Light has been discussed for quite a few months now; the feature is meant to replicate what the f.lux app does – change the color temperature of your display depending on the time of day.
Most desktop and laptop screens emit “blue light” that makes the human brain think it is night; this isn’t something consciously noticeable, but one of the things that the brain does by itself – like breathing, for example.
The feature is present in this build but doesn’t appear to be working proper just yet. The settings include the ability to schedule the time for when the color temperature changes, as well as a slider to adjust its overall effect.
Cortana is the guide – Last week, in a different leak, Cortana appeared to be assisting users during setup.
Cortana – with this build – takes over the Windows 10 setup process, and guides users through the twists and turns with its soothing voice.
Big Themes – The Personalization options in the Settings app have received a revamp, none of which is usable because the Windows version isn’t activated. There’s no way to get around this of course, as this is an unsupported build.
The feature, though, is in the preparation of Themes hitting the Windows Store – we wrote about this last week as well.
The Edge is new – The version is still 39, but the features are not; Edge hasn’t seen a lot of change in the Insider builds for one reason or another. This leaked build, however, shows us some of the things that the Edge team has been cooking in their labs.
Some of these features are unique to Edge. For example, there’s a new feature that lets you set aside a few tabs within a menu; letting you put your current session in a “suspended” area of sorts, and allowing you to work on something else.
All it takes is one click to restore the tabs back from this menu, as well
Additionally, Edge in this build has support for WebVR and Content Security Policy 2 – not hidden behind a flag, but enabled by default.
There are, however, new flags to be tinkered with.
There’s now a flag allowing Edge to put “background tabs” in a low-power state.
Also, a flag to enable a new “books library” in the Edge Hub; this is interesting because Edge now packs a feature-rich EPUB reader.
A web browser that’s also an eBook reader, complete with a library, is not something we see every day.
Defender does more – The Fast Ring Insider Build 14986 brought along a brand new revamped Defender; unlike the current Defender app, the new one is built using UWP.
The leaked build today adds a new page to the app, that highlights the device’s performance and health; this feature isn’t quite ready yet, and appears to be broken.
The other stuff – Besides the changes mentioned above, there are a bunch of other minor changes here and there.
- The Share UI demoed during Microsoft’s October Surface Event is in this build, and works as intended. Interestingly, you can share files to the new Defender app – perhaps for scanning. The feature is also present for Insiders, provided they are willing to go through the registry.
- The Start Screen now has Folder Tiles; giving users the ability to put apps inside folders that animate like a tile would. This feature is borrowed from Windows 10 Mobile, of course.
- Windows Update lets users pause updates for up to 35 days.
- The Blue Screen of Death is now a Green Screen of Death.
- There’s a new icon for the Get Help app.
- There’s a coffee mug icon on the top right of Start Screen; no idea what it does, as clicking it has no response.
- Hiding within Cortana settings is a new option; pressing WinKey+C will trigger Cortana, the same way saying “Hey Cortana” does.
The tiny leak
Microsoft gives you a fair amount of warnings when you join the Insider program – especially for the Fast Ring; these builds are not meant to be used as your daily driver. The reliability is bad; the support is worse.
This build does not belong to the Insider Program – it’s one tier below it. It is, therefore, worse than installing a Fast Ring Insider build, in terms of stability, at least.
Most of these features – if not all – will end up in the upcoming Insider builds starting next year. The wait is only for a few weeks.
We can’t help but advise against installing this update, even for the curious mind.
Image Credit: ChangeWindows, MSPowerUser