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What's broken in this week's Windows 10 build? Try the Start Menu, for one

At least Visual Studio doesn't crash anymore

Microsoft has released a new build of Windows 10 for PCs to the Windows Insider program, but the software giant is only recommending it for particularly eager testers for now.

Redmond never promoted the last Technical Preview release, Build 10049, to the Slow release ring of its testing program, owing to a bug that caused the OS's disk footprint to balloon in size.

Similarly, Build 10061 is only being pushed out to the Fast release ring for now, until Microsoft reckons it's stable enough for a broader range of testers.

This latest release does fix a few problems found in earlier builds. Indexing email in Outlook works again, as does enabling Hyper-V. Some UI issues have been fixed in the Project Spartan browser. And Visual Studio won't crash anymore when creating new Universal app projects – which, as much good news as it is for developers, is even better news for Microsoft, which desperately needs people to start building these things if the idea is going to take off.

For most testers, however, the updates and fixes in this build might not be worth it when compared to the new headaches that come along. As Microsoft's Gabe Aul explained in a blog post, heavy users of traditional desktop Windows software might particularly want to skip this release.

"We know this one will be a bit painful but there is a bug with this build in which Win32 (desktop) apps won't launch from the Start menu," Aul wrote. "The workaround is to use search to find and launch these apps and pin them to your taskbar for quick access."

And while Build 10061 includes updated versions of the Mail and Calendar apps with an improved UI, testers shouldn't expect to get much use out of them.

"The version of the Mail and Calendar apps included in this build ... have a known issue that causes every typed letter to appear twice," Aul admitted. "Which might be funny if it weren't so irritating."

There are other bugs in the release, as well. For example, Cortana will highlight all sorts of things that it can help you with, but some of those features aren't implemented yet. You can't download music in the Xbox Music and Music Preview apps. Logging in and out might result in a black screen. And so on.

Still, onward and upward, eh? There are a number of new UI tweaks on display in Build 10061, including a new, black system theme for the Start menu, Taskbar, and Action Center. Microsoft has introduced some new UI optimizations for tablets, too, and you can now create as many virtual desktops as you want.

Just be aware of what you'll be getting yourself into.

A new build for phones, too

This latest desktop Windows 10 release comes less than 24 hours after Microsoft rolled out a new Technical Preview of Windows 10 for phones, dubbed Build 10051.

No doubt Redmond saw a lot of testers trying to roll their devices back to Windows Phone 8.1 once they found out all the stuff they couldn't do with the last Windows 10 build for phones – occasionally with disastrous results.

Build 10052 fixes a number of deficiencies with the previous release, Build 10051. With it, you can enable Flight mode again (that's airplane mode to most of us), you can disable your data connection, and you can download keyboards for additional languages. Installing it doesn't erase your MMS settings like the previous build did, and Microsoft has fixed a glitch with the camera viewfinder on some Lumia models.

Significantly, this build also signals the return of downloads for Lumia 520 devices, which were put on hold after some users experienced a problem with the Windows Phone Reset Tool that rendered their handsets inoperable.

"There are no new features in this build, but it should be much more usable day to day with these improvements," Aul said. ®

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