Microsoft unveils a lot of big changes for Windows 10

Microsoft is releasing a new test version of Windows 10, build number 16215, today and there are a lot of changes on the way. If you’re a Windows Insider on the Fast Ring then it’s available immediately, for everyone else all of the new features will arrive in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update later this year.

The first big change is a new look for the notification center (Action Center), which has been redesigned with separate sections for apps. It certainly looks a lot better, and groups notifications together in a more coherent way from devices, apps, and elsewhere.

You’ll now be able to pin your favorite websites to the taskbar in this latest Windows 10 update. Of course, once they’re pinned they’ll open in Microsoft’s Edge browser, but the pinned sites feature is returning after feedback from Windows 10 users. Microsoft is also improving the animations for new tabs in Edge, making things a little faster. Cortana will also see some changes, with the ability for the digital assistant to prompt for reminders by scanning images (with your permission) for things like events. If you’ve taken a photo of a poster, Cortana can then create that reminder. Cortana also has a new lasso feature that lets stylus users circle content to create reminders for things like movies.

Perhaps the biggest changes Microsoft is focusing on are with Windows 10 stylus support. The handwriting panel has been overhauled with more gestures, better editing, emoji, and automatic handwriting detection. As you write with a pen words are automatically converted to text, and words will shift along so you can simply keep writing. You can also select text to edit it, and make corrections to converted text using ink gestures. You can strikethrough, scratch, join, or split with the gestures, and the handwriting panel also includes quick access to emoji and symbols. The handwriting panel will float by default now next to where you’re writing, and you can even use the stylus to scroll in apps and websites now. Microsoft has even added a “find my pen” option, that will show where you were with your device when you last used the pen.

Elsewhere, Microsoft is finally making it easy to insert emoji into emails or social media messages. A new winkey + period / semicolon keyboard shortcut will trigger a new emoji panel where you can pick the most appropriate emoji for your messages. Microsoft is also adding a new touch keyboard for Windows 10 desktop and tablet users, with prediction, emoji suggestions, one-handed input, and shape writing with your fingers or a stylus. Dictation has also been added to the keyboard, so you can dictate text or use it for basic editing commands. Dictation has been in Windows for years, but it’s encouraging to see Microsoft move this to an area that makes more sense.

Alongside these bigger changes there are some smaller tweaks to Windows 10 overall. A new copy link feature in the new share page makes it easy to share links, and there’s improved support for HDR monitors and the ability to easily switch between public and private for network connections. There’s a lot of other minor changes and fixes listed in Microsoft's huge blog post, and all will be welcomed by regular Windows 10 users. This is one of the bigger feature additions to Windows 10 preview builds for a few months now as Microsoft heads towards a September release for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Comments

Man, I wish Microsoft would focus on just making Edge a better browser, without trying to ram it down our throats with weird restrictions like this on pinned websites. I would probably use that feature if it didn’t launch Edge.

I use Edge regularly and find it much more lightweight than Chrome and all websites work fine. What issues are you facing?

The Ads man, the ads

Edge has Adblock, Adblock Plus, and uBlock Origin.

why can’t you install adblock?

You can. Go to the Windows Store and search for Edge Extensions and ad block is there. Install and the next time you run Edge it’ll be there. It’s been available for months now and works fine.

I’m pretty sure Licantrop0 knows it’s an option. He was asking Chosen_one1 why he/she doesn’t install it if he/she an issue with ads.

I just add the https://hosts-file.net/ad_servers.txt from here to my hosts file. Same file used by pi hole. No ad blocker needed. The only hassle is the list does get updated so you do have to update your hosts file (C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc) maybe once a month.

I use Firefox, which is fast again after some years of languishing.

  • Developer tools are still better in Firefox (and Chrome) than Edge. It’s gotten closer, but not good enough.
  • New Tab screen shouldn’t move UI elements like the search bar. Chrome does this as well, which is infuriating.
  • Can’t change to Google for search. I have the option in the menu, but the button to add a provider is greyed out. No idea why, but I’m not investing the time to fix MS’s problem there.
  • Firefox is slightly faster from anecdotal use, and some quick testing with the built-in Network profile tools backs this up.
  • I can tell Firefox not to send personal data to Mozilla. This cannot be done within Edge, and you have to do so through the Windows OS Settings, which is straight up BS.
  • Minor Quibble, but it’s missing some common right-click menu options like Search for selected text. Maybe there’s a plugin for this, but it’s a very simple feature from most other browsers.

Search for selected text is basically "Ask Cortana". Granted, if you don’t wanna use Bing, then oh well. I have no issue changing default search, just did it now. What version of Edge are you using?

Ah, so this must disappear when you disable Cortana? I turned it off at home, and my office has it disabled by group policy.

My Office also has cortana disabled but the option is replaced by "Bing Lookup" in edge. Again granted that its bing, but interesting that your Edge doesn’t have that option at all.

Firefox’s zoom is crappy, especially on touch. It is not smooth like Edge, Chrome (or Safari on an iPad), it literally just makes everything bigger is huge steps.

I used to love Firefox – I used it when it was Phoenix version 0.2… even when I switched to Mac I used it for years, but now it’s a bloated slow power-hungry 32-bit mess.

Double post

No, developer tools are not better in Firefox. They’re still inferior to Chrome by a longshot.

Well, you and I can disagree, and probably both keep our dayjobs.

Your kidding right, there isn’t a single dev tool available for FireFox that isn’t also available for Chrome, not a single one. There is however many, many, more options available for Chrome, have you ever even visited the Chrome Store, there’s so many tools that’s it’s actually a little disorienting.

  • Dev Tools are not better on Firefox.
  • Firefox is not fast. It’s still very slow. They just started making it faster. We’ll see where this leads to.
  • Where does Chrome move the search bar when you open a new tab? (On Edge, I agree)
  • You can change Google for search. Just go to www.google.com and try again (did you even try?)
  • You can tell Edge not to send data and it’s all centralized in the OS. This way you only have to set this up once and not every time you install something new (which would be straight up BS).
  • And if you really want a plugin for a context menu, you really have no savior.

PS: Usually the problem is in front of the keyboard.

  • Huh, I think the development tools are just fine on Firefox. Perhaps not as fully featured as Chrome’s tools, but still better than on Edge. I guess it’s subjective.
  • the 64 bit version feels fast to me, but you should try that to see for yourself if you haven’t already.
  • I think the point was that Chrome doesn’t move (or remove) the omnibar when you create a tab.
  • I think it’s dumb that you have to discover search engines to select them, but at least it’s not impossible.
  • It’s news like this that leads me to believe that Microsoft doesn’t really honour your privacy settings anyway, though this pertains to the OS, and not just Edge.

As I said, it;s opinion based, but I absolutely believe the Firefox dev tools are better.
I did try changing search to google, as I said, I don’t care to invest the effort to fix this problem in Edge as I don’t want to use it.
Remember when I prefaced the context menu as a minor quibble? It’s a minor thing, but popped into my head while trying out Edge.

PS I gave Edge a try, and listed my issues with it. Why are you offended/insulted by this?

In all fairness Firefox did get an adrenaline rush when they finally, properly, implemented multithreading in it.

I actually moved from Firefox to Edge recently and the difference in speed and reliability couldn’t be more stark. I found Firefox increasingly slow and crash prone, but Edge has been a the smoothest and nicest browser I’ve ever used by far. I’ve also tried Chrome but that felt like Firefox to me.

Yeah Firefox’s good but its touchscreen support is non existent, not a big deal for many I know, but it gets more outdated as the time passes.

I use both Firefox and Edge; Edge on my SP3 because it’s faster and lighter and better for touch, but on my "desktop" I use Firefox because of the separate search bar, a few add-ons like snaplinks and I just prefer select-right click search on wiki over ‘Ask Cortana’ which usually doesn’t answer my question as well as just searching Wikipedia.

Sing up as insider and give feedback

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