Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17704

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17704 (RS5) to Windows Insider in the Fast ring along with Skip Ahead for all those who opted for it.

The company states,

The Bug Bash is on! To the Insiders who have participated so far: Thank You! Our Bug Bash will be running from June 22nd 12am PDT – July 1st 11:59pm PDT. In honor of this we’re doing a special Bug Bash edition webcast on our Mixer channel RIGHT NOW (10am PDT) – come join us while we chat about RS5 and how things are going.”

Microsoft is also running a contest, and you could win a trip to Microsoft’s campus in Redmond. For more details check here.

New Features in Build 17704

Microsoft Edge Improvements

New Microsoft Edge Beta logo: Microsoft has introduced a new Edge “BETA” icon so as to help all its users to visually differentiate between the officially released versions of Microsoft Edge and preview build where Microsoft is currently going to development. This logo is only available on the Insider preview build.

New design improvements: Microsoft continues to evolve how Microsoft Edge leverages the Fluent Design System for a more natural and more usable experience. You might, however, go on to notice some subtle tweaks to the look of the tab bar in Edge. The company has also gone on to add a new depth effect to the tab bar, so as to help emphasize the active tab.

Redesigned “…” menu and Settings: Microsoft has heard the feedback from all of you about the Edge settings being too complex for a single page. Hence, in this release the company has gone on to make it easier to navigate, by commonly-used actions front and center, allowing more customization than before.

Customize toolbar items for Microsoft Edge: When you click “…” in the Microsoft Edge toolbar, you will now find a refined menu that puts common commands like “New tab” and “New window” front and center. The company has also gone on to add the much-requested ability to customize which icons appear in the Microsoft Edge toolbar that you will be able to remove from all tidier look or add as many as you like so as to bring your favourite functionality at your fingertips.

Another feature that you will find in this build is that breaks Settings out into subpages by category, with better-organized options as well as less clutter on each page. This new Settings experience has been designed so as to match the experience in the Microsoft Edge hub, for a quicker and more familiar experience.

Control whether media can play automatically: Yup, this is an actual feature that has been launched with this build. Microsoft has added a new feature setting in Edge that would allow you to control if the sites can autoplay media. You will be able to find this setting under “Advanced Settings” > “Media autoplay,” with options to customize the behaviour according to your preferences according to the official blog:

“Allow” is the default and will continue to play videos when a tab is first viewed in the foreground, at the site’s discretion.

“Limit“ will restrict autoplay to only work when videos are muted, so you‘re never surprised by the sound. Once you click anywhere on the page, autoplay is re-enabled and will continue to be allowed within that domain in that tab.

“Block” will prevent autoplay on all sites until you interact with the media content. Note that this may break some sites due to the strict enforcement – you may need to click multiple times for some video or audio to play correctly. Some sites may not work at all – in those cases, you can enable or block autoplay on a case-by-case base from the website permissions pane (click the icon next to the address in the Address Bar).

Microsoft states,

“If you encounter sites that do not work as expected in the “Limit” or “Block” settings, please file feedback in the Feedback Hub app and let us know which site you were using, so we can work with developers and continue to refine the feature.”

New PDF icon: Windows 10 now has a new icon for PDFs in File Explorer when Microsoft Edge is your default PDF handler.

Skype for Windows 10 gets a big update!

The new Skype for Windows 10 update brings you all the latest and greatest Skype capabilities to Windows 10 users.

The following are the new features as per the official Microsoft blog:

  • Best in class calling experience – Microsoft has added several new calling features to make Skype’s calling experience even better than before.
  • Flexible group call canvas – Customize your group call experience and decide who appears in the main call canvas.  Simply drag and drop people between the call canvas and the overflow ribbon to select who you want to focus on.
  • Take snapshots – Use snapshots to capture images of important moments within a call.  Snapshots make sure you never forget important memories like your grandkid’s funny antics or crucial information like the content that’s been screenshared during a meeting.
  • Easily start screensharing – Microsoft has made sharing your screen during calls even easier.  Look for the ability to share your screen with the top level call controls.
  • New layout – Based on your feedback, the company has made your contacts easier to access and view
  • Customizable themes – Choose a color and theme for your Skype client through your application settings.

New Diagnostic Data Viewer features to improve your Privacy Experience

In order to showcase improvements in the privacy tools made in the next release of Windows, the company has provided with the Windows Insiders early access to new improved features that is soon coming to the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer.

Microsoft in its official blog states,

“At Microsoft, we understand that your data is your data. That’s why we are committed to providing full transparency on what diagnostic data Windows collects, when it is collected, and how you can control what you share. We care about your privacy and helping you build trust and confidence in our products.”

Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer

This year Microsoft has introduced the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer on Data Privacy Day. The Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer helps you to understand exactly what the diagnostic data is received from your Windows device. This is now available to anyone through the Microsoft Store. This tool will provide you with full transparency when it comes to diagnostic data.

Through the viewer, you can see the different categories of diagnostic data which includes the following as per the official blog:

  • Common Data like the OS name, version, device ID, Device Class, and diagnostic level selection
  • Device Connectivity and Configuration such as device properties, preferences, settings, and network information
  • Product and Service Performance such as device health, performance and reliability, and device file queries (this is not meant to capture user patterns or habits)
  • Browsing History such as frequently visited sites
  • Product and Service Usage data like applications and services used
  • Software Setup and Inventory such as installed apps and device update information.

Microsoft states,

“Each of these categories are important so that we can diagnose performance issues and ensure your device is secure. The viewer provides you full insights into exactly what we collect so that you are aware of what’s happening on your device. Through this tool, you can do things like search by keyword, filter data by category, export the data to a separate file, and provide feedback about the tool or a specific data point.”

New to the Diagnostic Data Viewer

The users will now be able to directly view Problem Reports that have or will be sent to Microsoft. Problem Reports would help Microsoft to identify crashes and other disruptions on your device so that they will be able to improve your Windows experience. On the Diagnostic Data Viewer, users can view specific details about each report collected such as when it was sent and what application or component caused the report to be created.

Along with the ability to see Problem Reports, the Diagnostic Data Viewer comes with new changes to the UI as well. For more details check the official Microsoft website.

See Your Videos Better Outside

There’s a new viewing mode for you to try out, which are designed to improve the visibility of your video when you are in a very bright environment. This feature uses the light sensor on your device to detect your ambient light and automatically adjusts your video accordingly. To turn it on, navigate to Settings > Apps > Video playback, and turn on “Adjust video based on lighting”.

Typing Insights

Windows now show you insights about how it’s AI has been helping you type with efficiency. If you use the software keyboard on Windows, then you will find that there are many features built into the typing experience that leverage AI and ML to help you to be more efficient.

Windows now show you stats about each of these features. Go to Settings > Devices > Typing and click on “View typing insights” link to see them.

Font installation for non-admin users

In the Windows 10 1803 feature update,  Microsoft has introduced fonts. In order to enable this capability, the company made few changes deep in Windows so as to allow a font to be installed for a specific user rather than the system-wide. That’s why no admin action is needed when fonts acquired in the Store are installed.

Now they have extended this further to include font files that you can obtain from other sources and would want to install. Now when you right-click on a font file in File Explorer, you will be able to see two options. “Install for all users” provides the past, system-wide install capability and requires an admin. But now there is another option: “Install” which allows any user, including non-admin users, to install a font for their own use.

Often font files come within a compressed folder (that is, a .zip file). The “Install” context-menu option isn’t available in File Explorer when you view the contents of a compressed folder, but you can double-click the font file within the compressed folder to open it in the font previewer, and that provides an “Install” button. In the past, the button in the font previewer had the security badge, and it would do a system-wide install, requiring an admin. Now the security badge is gone, and the “Install” button in the font previewer performs a single-user font install, which can be done by non-admins.

Contextual Commanding Improvements to Text Controls

Microsoft informed the world that now the inbox text controls are taking advantage of the new CommandBarFlyout control. This allows a number of exciting improvements including the following as per the official blog:

The ability to quickly cut, copy, and paste in textboxes with touch, as per the official blog:

  • New icons for common actions
  • The ability to bold, italicize, etc. in our rich text surfaces
  • New animations, acrylic treatment, and depth support
  • This change will apply to any XAML based text boxes on this build.
  • Windows Security Improvements

Microsoft states,

“We’ve continued to work on the Current threats area on the Virus & threat protection section, which now displays all threats that need action. You can quickly take action on threats straight from this screen.”

You will now be able to enable a new protection setting, Block suspicious behaviours, which bring the Windows Defender Exploit Guard attack surface reduction technology to all users. To enable this setting, go to the Virus & threat protection section and click Manage settings under the Virus & threat protection settings heading. For more information check the official Microsoft blog.

Task Manager Improvements

Task Manager now includes 2 new columns in the “Processes” tab to show energy impact of the running process on their system. Microsoft states that this should help users to understand which apps/services are using the maximum power vs. the least power-hungry apps. The metric takes CPU, GPU & Disk into evaluation when calculating power usage.

  • Power usage: This column will provide an instantaneous view of apps/services using power.
  • Power usage trend: This column provides a power usage trend over 2 mins for each running apps/services. This column will be blank when you start an app but will populate based on the power usage every 2 mins.

Ease of Access and Narrator improvements

Narrator Quickstart: When Narrator launches, a new Quickstart tutorial experience will be available. The Narrator Quickstart will help you get up and running quickly with Narrator. It teaches the basics of using Narrator, such as learning the keys on your keyboard, navigation, the most used commands etc. At the end of the Quickstart, there is a link to the User Guide where you can continue learning about Narrator.

When the Narrator Quickstart launches, Scan Mode may not reliably be on by default. We recommend going through the Quickstart with Scan Mode on. To verify that Scan Mode is on, press Caps Lock + Space.

Narrator Keyboard improvements: The company have added the scan mode secondary action command and Spell current selection command.

Microsoft has made some tweaks to the Make text bigger section under Settings > Ease of Access > Display Setting to make it a bit clearer.

Microsoft states,

“We’re in the process of consolidating and modernizing our snipping experiences in Windows. When you upgrade to today’s build you’ll see a note about this in the Snipping Tool. Currently, we are not planning to remove the Snipping Tool in the next update to Windows 10 and the consolidation work underway will be a feedback and data-driven decision. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to try out the Screen Sketch app and let us know how it’s working for you. Screen Sketch gives you all of the functionality of the Snipping Tool with additional improvements. You can launch the app directly and start a snip from there, or just press WIN + Shift + S, click the back of your pen, or press the Print Screen key.”

Windows Container Improvements

New Windows Image: Microsoft is currently adding a new base image to the Windows Server container collection. In addition to nanoserver and windowsservercore container images, the new windows image that is now available. This image carries even more components than its nanoserver and servercore siblings, meaning it can support applications that have additional API dependencies.

Group managed service account reliability: The company has improved the scalability and reliability of containers that use group managed service accounts (gMSA) to access network resources. You will be able to see fewer authentication errors when using a single gMSA with multiple container instances. In addition to this, you will no longer require to set the container hostname to be the same as the gMSA. The company has also gone on to fix the bug that have been  preventing you from using gMSAs with Hyper-V isolated containers.

Windows Mixed Reality Improvements

Introducing Quick Actions: While using an Immersive Application, Quick Actions allow users to  Go Home, view the time, or launch Mixed Reality Capture tools (Photo, Video, and more). To launch Immersive Application Quick Actions, simply press the Windows key or use the Bloom gesture.

For more updated information, check the Microsoft blog official.

Maira Ahmed
Maira is an ardent follower of the technological world. She loves reading and writing about tech-related stuff. Her love for technology translates into passionate writing about different topics which elucidate the importance that technology and computers hold in our lives.