Windows 10 Insiders Fast Ring build 14946 stirs things up a little

The Insiders Fast Ring is supposed to receive updates every two weeks – but Microsoft isn’t going to follow the rules. Build 14946 further refines the touchpad experience, brings Windows 10 Mobile and PC just a bit closer and pushes us towards the new UWP framework.

The current stream of rumors suggest a March 2017 release for Redstone 2 – we might get a confirmation about this at the October 26th event. With the release of Redstone 2 being this close, we are finally starting to see some significant changes in the Insider updates that would give us a glimpse of what’s to come with Redstone 2.

This update brings a whole lot of fixes not just for Windows 10 on PC, but also on Mobile. We have separated the changes for both, so you don’t have to.

For the PC

UWP – in some capacity – was introduced in Windows 8; Windows 10 refined upon the ideas and gave us the framework we have today. Microsoft has been pushing for this framework for a while – the new Paint app is built in UWP as well, even Mahjong is made with UWP now.

Microsoft has also been silently migrating the Control Panel to the new Settings app created with UWP – every update to Windows 10 ports a few more settings from the Control Panel to Settings.

WinKey+X combo in Build 14946

WinKey+X Update – If you were to press the WinKey+X combo right now, you would get a menu with a few advanced options – notice the Control Panel option right next to the Task Manager; replacing the Control Panel option, the Settings app has taken its place in Build 14946. It might not look like a big deal, but that menu is specifically for advanced options – which the Settings app do not provide at the moment, so unless that is changing, this can prove to be very annoying.

Touchpad gets better – Last week, Insiders Build 14942 brought a lot of improvements for precision touchpads and gestures. In Build 14946, you will find a new section in the Settings app; browse Devices > Touchpad > Other gestures, and you will find basic customization options for three and four finger gestures. The key word here is ‘basic’ – there aren’t a lot of options here, but you can find more options at the new Advanced gestures configuration page.
To open the Advanced gestures configuration page, just click the link at the bottom of Other gestures section. Here, you get a bit more control over what each gesture can do. Microsoft plans to further flesh-out these customization features in future updates.

Custom keyboard shortcuts – There is a new section in the Settings app for “custom keyboard shortcuts” – but it is disabled for this build. Let your imagination run wild.

WiFi gives you more options – There is an update to the WiFi settings page as well as the WiFi panel in the taskbar. Under Settings > Network & Internet > WiFi, you can now turn off the WIFi and then setup a timer to turn it back on. At the moment there’re only four options: Manually, in one hour, in four hours, or in one day.
This new option is also available via the WiFi panel in the taskbar.

WiFi settings in Build 14946

Uninstall the bloat – This is a big one; Microsoft is now allowing you to uninstall many of the pre-installed Windows 10 apps that some could consider bloatware. Here’s a list of apps that you can now uninstall:

  • Mail and Calendar
  • Calculator
  • Groove Music
  • OneNote
  • Voice Recorder
  • Maps
  • Movies & TV
  • Weather
  • Xbox

You will find the option to do this under Settings > System > Apps & features.

The Minor Fixes & Improvements

This update includes a bunch of fixes for the problems introduced in last few Builds, as well as a few minor feature improvements. Here’s the list:

  • Fixed an issue causing touchpad scrolling to be over-sensitive in Windows 10 UWP apps.
  • You can now select a save location for Offline Maps in Settings > System > Storage, rather than just in the Offline Maps page.
  • An issue preventing you from logging into games that use Xbox Live has been fixed.
  • Fixed an issue that displayed the “red X” network icon in the taskbar, despite having an active internet connection.
  • Optional components such as Bash and Hyper-V should remain installed – if you have already installed them – once you upgrade to this build.
  • Fixed an issue causing Microsoft Edge to crash on launch, or when opening a new tab, or while typing in the address bar.
  • Windows Explorer will no longer freeze while opening large ‘.MOV’ files.
  • Fixed an issue potentially resulting in the ‘Open with…’ dialog displaying with two entries for Calculator after tapping the Calculator key on a keyboard or running the Calculator app.
  • Fixed an issue where if the device’s brightness was automatically adjusted after being woken from sleep, the brightness level shown in the Action Center’s Brightness Quick Action might not reflect the current brightness of the device.
  • The Narrator app will now properly be able to track focus on the Start Menu All Apps list and Tiles.

Known Issues

An Insider Build is always going to have issues – that is the point of it. Build 14946 is no different and has a whole bunch of issues, here’s the list:

  • Click and drag might get recognized as right-clicking when using a precision touchpad.
  • 3rd party antivirus programs such as BitDefender, Kaspersky, F-Secure, and Malwarebytes might make the system unstable or unusable – if any of these are installed, your PC might roll-back during the upgrade process. Uninstalling them, and installing them again after upgrading to this build might break things and make your system unstable.
  • PCs that are capable of Connected Standby such as the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 may bugcheck (bluescreen) while in Connected Standby.
  • Large Windows Store games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, etc. might crash on launch.

Misconfiguration issues

Additionally, a select few Windows Insiders are running pre-release Windows builds on their PCs that are not targeted correctly to receive Insider updates. To fix this, Microsoft is making a server-side change and putting these systems on the Insiders Slow Ring update cycle.

  • All systems still running the Development Branch are being moved to the Insiders Slow Ring on the PC.
  • For PCs on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that have previously opted into receiving builds but see a “Fix me” button on the Windows Insider Program settings page because they no longer have a registered Microsoft account attached will be put in the Release Preview ring.

You can suspend Development Branch updates for up to 7 days; this option is under Settings > Update & security > Windows Insider Program.

For Windows 10 Mobile

Windows 10 Mobile is getting its share of features, though some of them are shared with Windows 10 PC as well.

WiFi gives you more options – This is the same feature as present on Windows 10 PC – you can read about it up top. It’s also coming to Windows 10 Mobile.

Segregated Screen timeout for Continuum – Apparently this is one of the top-user-requested features for Windows 10 Mobile using Continuum. You can now turn off the screen you are not using while using Continuum.
If you are working on a bigger screen, your phone’s display will go to sleep, and vice versa. You can change the automatic display off timeout under Settings > Personalization > Lock screen.

Prevent auto correction – If you see an auto-corrected suggestion, and it is not the one you meant to type; the text you originally typed will now appear as the secondary suggestion, which you can tap on. This way, the keyboard will also be able to learn your vocabulary and get smarter.

Remove a word from dictionary – Continuing the “learning your vocabulary” thing; sometimes you might type something wrong, but the phone might learn it and suggest you the word incorrectly in the future.
You can now manually remove words from your dictionary – type the word in any textbox, then tap on it. In the menu that pops up, you will see the word with a ‘- ‘symbol next to it, tap the symbol to remove it.

The frequency of auto backups – The frequency for scheduled auto backups of your phone have been changed to once a week with this Build. You can still make a manual backup via the Settings > Update & security > Backup page.

Text prediction now supports more languages – The keyboard now supports text prediction in a lot more languages, here’s the list:

  • Lithuanian
  • Latvian
  • Estonian
  • Slovene (also called Slovenian)
  • Bulgarian
  • Albanian
  • Macedonian
  • Afrikaans
  • Galician
  • Basque
  • Swahili
  • Bangla in Bangladesh
  • Georgian
  • Azerbaijani (also called Azeri) (in Latin script)
  • Kazakh
  • Armenian
  • Hausa (in Latin script)
  • Uzbek (in Latin script)

The Minor Fixes & Improvements

  • Fixed an issue that caused failure while sending text messages.
  • File Explorer has been optimized, and now loads long lists of files much faster (even when connected to a PC)
  • The narrator update that showed up in Build 14942 for PC is included for Mobile in this Build – it will now read the contents of a page before it reads the content of the app bar in a UWP app.
  • A specific fix for WhatsApp – an issue was causing video thumbnails not to show up in WhatsApp; this have been fixed.
  • Videos recorded with the Camera app had a slight crackle in the audio – this has been fixed in this build.

As for Known Issues – there are none for the Windows 10 Mobile release at the moment.

As always

Insiders are expected to test all of these new additions and provide valuable feedback.

Build 14946 seems to be a substantial update for the Fast Ring, and only a week after the last update as well. Hopefully, this momentum doesn’t slow down.

You can read about this Insider update on Microsoft’s blog if you think this post wasn’t enough.

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