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SURPRISE! Microsoft pops open Windows 10 Preview build early

No need to wait until next week, after all

Microsoft has released the next preview build of Windows 10 to members of its Windows Insider program, slightly ahead of schedule.

At the big promo event in Redmond on Wednesday, Microsoft said the new build would be available "in the next two weeks," but it seems the software giant has decided its code is ready for prime time earlier than expected.

The latest release is marked Build 9926 – up from the previous Build 9879 – although some brave souls have reportedly been using leaked releases as high as Build 9901. (If you're one of them, you may need to install Build 9926 by hand, as there's a Windows Update bug in Build 9901.)

The build is being pushed out to the Fast and Slow release rings simultaneously, Microsoft's Gabe Aul explained in a blog post on Friday, as a concession to the fact that this has been the longest wait between Windows 10 Preview builds so far.

It's a full, in-place upgrade of the previous version of the system, which means your Microsoft account will need to be re-provisioned following the procedure and you'll need to go through all of the "installing your apps" screens again.

Once you boot the new build, however, you won't necessarily be greeted with everything that Redmond operating systems veep Joe Belfiore demoed on Wednesday.

Youtube Video

Windows VP Joe Belfiore walks us through new features in Windows 10

"Much is still in-progress and we’re getting it out to you as fast as we can – so you can try it out and give us feedback," Aul said. "Over the course of the next few builds, you will see us refine Windows 10 and continue to improve the experiences as well as quality and stability."

The software giant had earlier promised that the January build – or, perhaps, builds – of Windows 10 would be "awesome," even going so far as to use that exact word as the name of the current internal development source code branch.

A few of the awesome-ish features that are present in Build 9926 include:

  • New changes to the long-awaited Start menu, including the ability to expand from a menu to a full-screen experience
  • A reorganized, icon-based Settings app that feels more like the old Control Panel
  • Easier connections to wireless audio and video devices via Bluetooth and Miracast
  • The new Photos and Maps apps that Belfiore demoed on Wednesday
  • A first look at the revamped Windows Store, with the icon now grey instead of green
  • The first draft of the new Xbox gaming app
  • Support for lots of new languages, including Arabic, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, French (Canada), German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Spanish (Latin America), Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish – plus Catalan, Hindi, and Vietnamese as optional Language Interface Packs.

As is usual for early release previews, however, there are also a number of bugs in the new build, mostly to do with user interface glitches. The most annoying one, most likely, will be the tendency for some PCs to display a boot selection menu each time they start up. Also, devices with Microsoft's new Connected Standby technology – such as the Surface Pro 3 – may see faster-than-usual battery drain. Them's the breaks.

To get Build 9926 for your current Windows 10, either do nothing and wait for it to arrive via Windows Update. Or, you can navigate to Windows Settings, Update and Recovery, Preview Builds and click the Check Now button to force an upgrade. (Incidentally, beginning with Build 9926 that will no longer be necessary; the button to check for Windows Update patches will also check for Windows 10 preview builds.)

And if you don't like the Windows Update method at all or you'd prefer to archive the preview build installation media, Microsoft has already made ISOs available of Build 9926, which you can download here. ®


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