Microsoft releases Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10061 -- get it now

yaywin

While Windows 8 was a very polarizing operating system, Windows 10 is much less so. In fact, many users testing the operating system under the Technical Preview program find it to be wonderful. Quite frankly, I think when the dust settles, it will be the best version of Windows ever.

Today, Microsoft releases yet another Windows 10 build under the preview program -- 10061. While the foundation and style is very much the same, there are some new features and apps to be found. Unfortunately, this release also has some significant bugs. Still, if you are committed to the preview program, you should not hesitate to jump head-first into 10061.

"This build introduces the new black system theme across the Start menu, Taskbar, and Action Center. The Start menu and Taskbar now have transparency and you can also resize the Start menu. We’ve also enabled support for AutoColor which pulls the primary color from your desktop background. In the Settings app under Personalization, you can adjust the color of Start, Taskbar, and Action Center as well as transparency. Check these settings out and let us know what you think. And based on your feedback, we have moved the power button to the bottom left from the top right of the Start menu to make it more accessible", says Gabe Aul, General Manager OSG Data and Fundamentals team, Microsoft.

Aul gives details about the tablet experience by saying, "the Taskbar is now more optimized for tablets. Entering Tablet Mode causes the Start button, Cortana, and the Task View buttons to all grow in size and space out to be more touchable. Items in the Notification area also widen to improve touchability. Also, pinned and running apps are removed by default to reduce clutter and simplify the experience. Start and Task View remain available for launching and switching. If you still prefer to see apps on your taskbar, there is an option under Tablet Mode in Settings to turn them back on. We also now offer a setting to boot directly into Tablet Mode. For tablets under 10 inches, this is the default behavior".

For many owners of small-screen devices -- including myself -- it has felt like Microsoft has been neglecting the tablet experience. To be honest, previous builds have been a disaster on my 8 inch Dell. Thankfully these tablet-focused enhancements should make things much better. Booting directly into tablet mode should have been a no-brainer. It is strange that it is only being implemented now, but I'll gladly take it.

If you are a fan of the native Mail and Calendar apps (I am), you are in for a treat. Both are getting significant updates with new features. Experienced email users will appreciate the three-pane interface, bringing the app more in line with a professional-grade client. Mail even learns some new swipe gestures, making organizing and sorting more intuitive. Unfortunately, Mail and Calendar also contain some nasty bugs, but more on that later.

One of the biggest additions to Windows 10 is virtual desktops, something you may also know as work spaces. Linux users have been enjoying this functionality for a long time, but Microsoft is better late than never, I suppose. This build removes the limitations on the number of virtual desktops a user can run at once. Yes, it is now unlimited; go nuts, y'all!

Microsoft has squashed some bugs too. The company shares the following fixes.

  • We have fixed have fixed the issue where Indexing of new email in Outlook was not working.
  • We have fixed the issue with Hyper-V preventing you from enabling it.
  • Visual Studio will no longer crash when creating a new Universal app project.
  • We fixed a few issues in Project Spartan. You can now double-click on the titlebar to maximize. We have also made some tweaks to the alignment of the Favorites Bar so that the text and icons no longer appear partially below the bottom of the Favorites Bar.

Unfortunately, the known issues outnumber the fixes -- d'oh!

  • We know this one will be a bit painful but there is a bug with this build in which Win32 (desktop) apps won't launch from the Start menu. The workaround is to use search to find and launch these apps and pin them to your taskbar for quick access.
  • The Windows Store Beta (grey tile) and Project Spartan get unpinned after upgrading. You can re-pin them to your Taskbar from All apps on your Start menu.
  • The version of the Mail and Calendar apps included in this build (17.4008.42281.0) have a known issue that causes every typed letter to appear twice. Which might be funny if it weren't so irritating. We have fixed this issue with updated versions of the apps (17.4016.42291.0) available in the Windows Store Beta (grey tile). If you don’t open the Mail and Calendar apps within the first 15 minutes after logging in to your device for the first time after upgrading and your device is connected to the Internet, the apps should update automatically. You can also go into the Store Beta and check for updates manually at any time.
  • Cortana will highlight things it will be able to help users with, but some of these features are not yet implemented and we are working to deliver them soon.
  • There is a known issue where you might see a black screen with only your mouse cursor during login/logout. We have a fix for this coming via WU.
  • Downloading music in the Xbox Music and Music Preview apps is currently broken. We also have a fix for this coming via WU.
  • When you minimize an app playing audio, it may stop playing once its minimized.
  • In Project Spartan, no selection highlight appears when selecting text in the address box. You can right click in the address box to cut/copy/paste and it will work as expected. We also have a fix for this coming via WU.
  • Magnifier does not work when you put it into docked mode. We will also have a fix for this coming via WU.

Goodness gracious, Microsoft -- these are some very significant issues! Every letter typed in Mail will show twice in emails? That doesn't sound ready for release, even in a preview program. While the Win32 app issue is annoying, the workaround is reasonable. Gee whiz...

To upgrade to Build 10061, all you must do is be on the Fast Ring and check for updates. With that said, I can understand your hesitation in doing so with the above issues. Still, the point of the preview program is to both test the OS and find bugs. If you are scared of issues, you shouldn't be in the Technical Preview program -- true story.

Tell me how you like the new build in the comments.

Photo Credit: Matt Antonino/Shutterstock

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