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Microsoft Updates Windows 10 Technical Preview

The first new public build of the Windows 10 technical preview is now available.

Released on Tuesday, Build 9860 of Microsoft's next-generation PC operating system can be downloaded through Windows 10's PC Settings menu, or as an automatic Windows Update for testers who are part of the Windows Insider Program.

The download will range between 2GB and 2.74GB. Users will experience a long reboot followed by a period in which applications get reprovisioned. It will take a couple of hours for OneDrive to sync and for the search engine to rebuild, according to Microsoft's announcement.

For those downloading build 9860, Microsoft has added a new option that controls how they will receive future preview builds. The default option is "slow" for users who don't want to encounter early problems with build releases. However, for testers wanting to get their hands on the first public releases quickly, there's also a "fast" option. Selecting the fast option will deliver builds "from Windows Update on the day it comes out," according to Microsoft's explanation.

The new features in build 9860 include a new Action Center, the addition of animations to indicate a desktop switch (a top request) and a new keyboard shortcut to more easily swap apps from one screen to another when using multiple monitors. The new Action Center is a place where users can get notifications from their applications. It's a feature like the Notification Center in Windows Phone, so isn't the same thing as the "Action Center" in Windows 7. Presently, the Action Center just supports "basic notifications" and has a somewhat rough user interface, according to Microsoft.

The new Action Center in Windows 10 tech preview build 9860. Source: Microsoft Windows blog.

The whole build is the kind of thing that Microsoft previously didn't surface to the public. It's arriving with known bugs, but Microsoft intentionally is trying to share more, with more frequent updates, in its Windows test releases. It's not clear how frequently Microsoft plans to release its test builds, though.

Microsoft already knows about some problems in this build 9860 release. For instance, it will be "harder to join a Wi-Fi network." The sleep and wake responses of some PCs might not work right. Using DisplayLink technology with two external monitors might result in a blue screen after undocking a PC. The Start Menu might have menu items that will disappear or show up "garbled."

Microsoft has made almost 7,000 improvements since the last release of the Windows 10 technical preview (build 9841) on Oct. 1. So far, Microsoft's engineering teams have had to plow through more than 250,000 comments sent back from testers. It can take time for Microsoft to deliver back changes from the feedback.

Microsoft described its build process in the announcement. This new build reflects early work that was done by Microsoft's so-called "Canary" team about one-and-a-half weeks ago. The Canary team is the first group to approve builds, which then get passed up to Microsoft's Operating Systems Group. Next, the build will get validated by testers at Microsoft numbering in the tens of thousands. After that process takes place, the build will get surfaced publicly to testers.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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