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Microsoft releases new Windows 10 preview with a Notification Center

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Nearly 7,000 changes since the last preview

Microsoft released its first Windows 10 Technical Preview just three weeks ago and the software maker is now ready to issue a fresh update. If you're already testing Windows 10 then a new preview build (9860) is available from the update and recovery section of PC settings. While the initial release included a new Start Menu, virtual desktops, new snap views, and an overall focus on the desktop, the latest test build refines a few features as Microsoft continues to develop Windows 10. Microsoft says it has made nearly 7,000 changes to this latest Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Nearly 7,000 changes from the last Technical Preview

Action Center (Notification Center) is a new addition in build 9860, available in the system tray. We got an early look at Action Center thanks to a video leak in September, and it looks very similar in today's latest Windows 10 Technical Preview. The Windows 10 Action Center collects toasts and alerts from traditional Windows applications and system notifications, alongside those generated from Windows 8-style apps. Toast and notifications are then grouped in the Action Center by app and time. The Action Center in Windows 10 lacks any actionable notifications right now, meaning you can’t reply to messages within the feature itself. That could change by the time Windows 10 ships next year, especially as Microsoft works to tweak the user interface more and more. "This build is focused ONLY on enabling basic notifications – quick actions and cleaner UI will come later," explains Microsoft’s Gabe Aul.

windows 10 notififcation center

Other changes include support for a keyboard shortcut to easily move apps from one monitor to another. Winkey+shift+ direction arrow will switch the app between monitors, and Microsoft is also adding a new animation when you switch between virtual desktops. "One of the pieces of feedback that you gave us was that it was hard to know when you were switching desktops," says Aul. "We addressed your feedback by adding an animation to make it clear that you are switching."

Some UI changes have 'gone backwards'

While Microsoft is making lots of changes, the software maker notes some UI functionality has "gone backwards" temporarily. "For example in this build we know that it’s harder to join a Wi-Fi network. We’ll make changes to fix that later," explains Aul. Start Menu items may disappear too, and some machines may wake up and not go back to sleep properly. If you’re a fan of Microsoft Solitaire and Mahjong then be warned that the games are broken for some installations.

Microsoft is also adding an option to the Windows 10 Technical Preview to allow users to switch how often they receive new builds. You can now pick between slow and fast settings to get updates quickly with potential bugs, or slowly with a little more stability. The Windows 10 Technical Preview is available now to download today and will be around 2GB in size depending on your system. You can update to the latest build by searching for PC settings and navigating to update and recovery and then preview builds.