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Microsoft is improving Windows 10's touch mode

Microsoft is improving Windows 10's touch mode

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Microsoft introduced the concept of a touch mode and its Continuum feature for hybrids with Windows 10, but it's fair to say that existing previews have been largely optimized for the mouse and keyboard experience. A newly leaked build (10056) has surfaced on the internet today, and it shows that Microsoft is improving the touch experience in Windows 10. When you enable tablet mode, any apps on the taskbar are removed, and you're thrown into a UI that only has access to the Start Screen, virtual desktops, and the Cortana digital assistant.

It's a lot more similar to how Windows 8.1 does touch, but the Charms bar has still been replaced by the notification center with quick access to settings and notifications. You can swipe in from the left to access recent apps, and the Start Screen has a fullscreen view of Live Tiles and apps. There's also a new animation to bring up the Start Screen, and it simply glides into view over your desktop wallpaper. You can even launch desktop apps and they'll automatically expand fullscreen without cluttering the taskbar. If you switch off tablet mode, it reverts to the traditional desktop view with all your apps open and resized into windows.

I haven't been a fan of how much of the touch experience has been lost in Windows 10, so it's encouraging to see Microsoft bringing back the parts that make sense. It's clearly just an early look at some of the touch tweaks, and Microsoft is also introducing a new black theme throughout this Windows 10 build. The notification center is now black, and most of the UI elements are equally dark. There's even a new recycle bin icon that looks a little better than Microsoft's previous effort.

You can also resize the Start Menu again, and switch transparency on or off. There's even an option to change the color for the UI across Windows 10 to match your background. Little else is changed, though, and it's likely that we'll see this or another similar build available for official testing in the coming weeks. These newly leaked builds include the same universal Mail and Calendar apps that Microsoft has officially started previewing on the phone side today, and other improvements and subtle changes across Windows 10.

Windows 10 touch mode improvements