Windows 10 Insiders Fast Ring build 14942 adds a lot of new features

Microsoft has finally released the kragle; the new Insiders Fast Ring Build 14942 comes with an updated Photos app, increased active hours, the option to hide start menu apps list, and so much more.

Windows 10 Insiders

While the changes in this update are a long while away from arriving on the stable consumer Windows 10 build – we do get a glimpse of what’s coming. Perhaps we might even get a launch date for the Redstone 2 update at the upcoming October event.

This is going to be a long list of refinements and updates – so bear with us as we go through everything that Microsoft has blessed us with, and stuff.

Start with refinements

Starting with the Start – the Start menu is getting an option to hide the app list. The app list, while useful, can become very cluttered if you install a lot of programs.

For a lot of people, it was turning into an eyesore; an option to disable it is appreciated. The option can be found under Settings > Personalization > Start.

Touchpad refinements – The Windows team has made a few adjustments to the gesture and click detection algorithms on precision touchpads. The new improvements should provide a better experience in almost everything you do with the touchpad.

This includes better pinch-to-zoom detection, better two-finger tap detection, better disambiguation of left and right clicks, and an effort to reduce inadvertent zooming when panning.

Windows Update gets a new icon – There is a new Windows Update icon in the town, and it is here to fit in with the rest of Windows 10 iconography. Alright, that was pretty bad – the point is, there’s a new icon.

Windows Update Icon

The icon is also quite literally the same one as from the Windows 10 Mobile leak yesterday – so we know for sure that the icon is real.

Stay more active – No this isn’t a Microsoft Health plug. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update introduced a new feature called ‘Active Hours.’

The feature is supposed to prevent your computer from restarting for updates during your ‘Active Hours’. The issue was the time – you could only have 12 hours of ‘Active Hours.’ This has now been increased to 18 hours for Windows Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions.

Narrator can navigate – New improvements to Narrator now allows you to jump between form fields in Scan Mode. Here are the shortcuts:

  • F and Shift + F: Jump to next/previous form field
  • C and Shift + C: Jump to next/previous combo box
  • E and Shift + E: Jump to next/previous edit box
  • X and Shift + X: Jump to next/previous checkbox
  • R and Shift + R: Jump to next/previous radio button
  • B and Shift + B: Jump to next/previous button

In short, pressing a single letter will move forward, and pressing the Shift + Letter combo would move backwards.

In addition to that, the reading order for Windows 10 apps have been improved as well – the contents of an app will be read before the contents of an app bar, for example.

You can read more about this in Microsoft’s blog post for more details.

Windows Registry Address Bar

Registry knows where you are – The registry – oddly enough – have gotten a tiny update. The good old regedit now has an address bar that tells you exactly where you are in the Registry tree. You can use Alt + D to set focus on the new Address Bar.

More FPS – The Xbox integration in Windows 10 introduced a lot of features – one of them being the Game Bar. Game Bar helps you record your gameplay, so you can share your epic 360 no scope (or whatever, show off) with your friends.

Further improvements to the system, will now result in higher frames per second while playing full-screen games and using Game Bar to record your gameplay.

This changes everything (or not)

Photos app is on the Xbox – Wait what? Yeah. Microsoft is bringing the Photos app to Xbox One, so you can chill out in your living room with a slideshow of all of your photos from OneDrive.

The Photos app on the PC has been updated as well. The new interface now features a horizontal navigation bar with your Albums and Folders.

Photos App Insiders Build 14942

The app also has a new light viewing mode for your pictures, but you can switch back to the dark one in settings at any time.

Besides these, the app can now go fullscreen and have a few minor improvements with animations – smoother, sleeker, all that fluff.

By the way – someone at Microsoft is trying to give us hints. The Surface Hub Team group photos are clearly telling us what to expect at the October event!

Upgrade minus annoyance – Since Build 14926, Windows 10 update process stopped re-installing the pre-installed apps you had previously uninstalled – a definite step in the right direction. With today’s build, if an IT professional has de-provisioned an app from your particular OS image, and you have not reinstalled it – Windows 10 won’t install it.

This change is an obvious one, unlike the next one. Printers are the bane of every IT professional’s existence – they are annoying, unpredictable, unreliable, and generally possessed by the devil.

With this build, if you name a printer with a custom name – that name will be preserved across upgrades. Same goes for printer queue names. While this won’t make printers any less worse, it helps you remember how evil they are.

Services are split – This is the big one. Once upon a time, Microsoft had to build an OS restrained by the hardware limit of 256 MB RAM – Windows 2000. This limitation caused Microsoft to pull some compromises, which are no longer needed.

Starting with this build, if you have more than 3.5 GB of RAM; Services will now be split among an increased number of processes. You will notice this change in the Task Manager, where you will see a drastically increased number of svchost.exe processes.

Sevices Build 14942

You can read more about what pros and cons this change offers to Windows – hint: improved stability, reliability, transparency, security and more. Details are at Microsoft’s blog post here.

The Others

The update also includes several other minor fixes & improvements. Here’s a list:

  • The sfc /scannow being stuck at 20% issue introduced in build 14936 have finally been fixed.
  • Sometimes Windows 10 Action Centre notifications would show up – and you could click them, but they wouldn’t do anything. This has been fixed.
  • Personalization > Background Settings page was causing the Settings app to crash under certain conditions. This has been fixed.
  • Windows Defender’s Anti-Malware Service was sometimes using an incredibly high amount of CPU. Issue found and eliminated.
  • Certain users under certain conditions had their NTFS partitions show up in RAW format for their external hard disks. This issue has been fixed.

Known Issues

As always – it is an insider build and therefore has its own set of issues that Microsoft simply could not be bothered to fix. Here’s that list:

  • The Xbox service might fail to sign-in. To fix this, Microsoft tells us to simply follow these steps:
    • Open an elevated command prompt (Launch command prompt as an admin).
    • Paste this in: REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\XblAuthManager /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    • Hit enter, close command prompt and restart your PC.

    This will add the ‘XblAuthManager’ service in the same process as Windows Update and Background Intelligent Transfer Services.

  • Web developers might find their local intranet unavailable, once again this is due to the new Services change. Microsoft gives us these steps to fix this issue:
    • Open an elevated command prompt (Launch command prompt as an admin).
    • Paste these two commands in:
      • REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\W3SVC /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
      • REG ADD HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\WAS /v SvcHostSplitDisable /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f
    • Once done, close command prompt and restart your PC.

    This will put the IIS World Wide Web Publishing Service in the same process as WAS, eliminating the issue.

That is it

These Insider updates are finally gaining some great features after weeks of smaller bug fixing updates. Hopefully, this trend will continue.

You could read the full Microsoft blog post if this post didn’t give you enough information or left you with any doubts. Just click over here.

Also, remember – as an Insider, you are obliged to submit feedback so the next Insider build could become even better.

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