We recently reported about Microsoft’s new online privacy tool and the baked-in privacy tweaks planned to be included in Windows 10’s next big update, the Creators Update, due early this year.
While we patiently wait for the big changes this next massive update will bring, early adopters can tide it over with the Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. The last preview Build 15002 just recently officially hit the Fast ring and it’s packed with new features and improvements that only Windows Insider members can enjoy…for now.
In Build 15002, Microsoft’s Edge browser now shows tab preview- thumbnail images of each open tab on the upper bar, and the ability to “set tabs aside” for later viewing. You can also easily launch separate regular or private browsing windows via a taskbar icon.
Edge will now also support Microsoft’s Payment Request API so you can use your payment preferences and shipping address stored in Microsoft Wallet while browsing.
But perhaps the most significant change is the blocking of Flash by default. In Build 15002, Flash on Edge is click-to-run, meaning you’ll have to allow it each time you want Flash content to run.
Cortana can now display a list of app-specific commands, auto-suggesting commands based on what you’re typing and recurring reminders can now be scheduled on a monthly basis.
The Cortana shortcut has also been simplified to the Win+C keys.
Stylus fans now have access to new Windows Ink features that include the new pen, pencil and highlighter that show what color is selected and the point erase feature that lets you erase portions of an ink stroke.
Start Menu and Graphical Improvements
Build 15002 also brings improvements to Windows 10’s Start menu. You can now group tiles into a custom folder similar to how Windows Phones or iOS gadgets group app icons.
A new screenshot shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+S) is now available, which lets you capture an area of your desktop and paste it to any application while the new redesigned Share UI is now available by default.
Other UI improvements include smoother window resizing and scaling for applications and high-resolution support for desktop apps.
New Settings Tweaks
Notable changes were also made to the Settings app. First is the inclusion of a Blue Light Management feature that can automatically lower the amount of blue light your screen emits at set schedules.
There’s also the new Display Settings page that puts the screen resolution settings back to its own section. There are also added settings pages for the Surface Dial, Windows theme integration and a cross-device page.
Narrator and Accessibility Improvements
The Narrator (voice-over) shortcut has been moved to Ctrl+Win+Enter to prevent accidental activations and Build 15002 will also mark the debut of Braille support in Windows 10.
Windows 10’s built-in security software can now run quick, advanced or full scans and if your computer gets really messed up, there’s a Refresh Windows option accessible from Windows Defender itself.
For Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education versions, there’s now an option to pause updates for up to 35 days. For users who are wary of bugs that may break their components and peripherals, there’s also an option to not include driver updates.
Green Screen of Death
Anyone well-acquainted with the classic BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) of Windows should start using a new acronym soon. Build 15002 also introduces the Green Screen of Death (GSOD?) replacing the infamous BSOD we all know and love.
How to Join the Windows Insider Program
As you can see, Build 15002 introduces numerous enhancements and improvements way before the Windows 10 Creators Update is officially dropped to the general public.
If you want to take advantage of these early sneak peeks of upcoming Windows 10 builds, you can sign up for Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program.
Important: Be forewarned that Insider builds are beta versions of Windows 10 and can be unstable. We don’t recommend installing them on your main computer. Also, make sure you have a complete backup of your machine before installing any Insider build.
To join the Windows Insider Program, make sure you already have a Microsoft Account then sign up for the program here.