Microsoft shares twin previews of Windows 10 with Insiders: Toys for some, coal for others

You say mode, they say policy, S call the whole thing off

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Windows Insiders were seeing double last night as Microsoft once again pushed out not one but two builds of October's Windows 10.

The 19H2 builds were again targeting the Slow Ring and continued the company's determination to confuse the heck out of its loyal army of unpaid testers with one that contains new toys and one that does not.

The dual test builds are aimed at trialling the strategy of shipping an update with features turned off then gradually turning them on via "controlled feature roll-outs".

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The result is that if you were on build 18362.10012, you'll get 18362.10014 with the new toys turned off by default, while 18362.10013 users get 18362.10015 with stuff turned on.

And if you've just joined the Insider programme from the May 2019 Update to check out how things work ahead of time because that was the point of the programme in the first place, well, a virtual Dona Sarkar and Brandon LeBlanc will play rock/paper/scissors within your PC to decide if you're on the naughty or nice list.

Which is a shame because this release contains some new features that enterprises would be keen to check out ahead of time.

The first appears to be a further step back from Windows 10 S, launched by former Windows boss Terry Myerson. Originally an operating system in its own right to take on ChromeOS then demoted to a mere "mode" of Windows 10 last year, around the time Myerson departed Microsoft, Windows 10 S only permitted Store apps to run.

While there were workarounds for the limitations, such as Citrix's Receiver app, it's safe to say that Windows 10 S has not been the roaring success some at Redmond had hoped for.

With 19H2, things have got just a tiny bit more blurred as "traditional Win32 desktop apps" will be installable by enterprises via Intune. Oh, and Windows 10 S Mode was also referred to as a "policy".

We can almost hear the axe being sharpened.

ARM64 users in the enterprise will also be delighted to learn that Windows Defender Credential Guard is present for their devices – handy, what with Microsoft's new chum Samsung about to roll out the Snapdragon-powered Galaxy Book S next month.

Assuming, of course, those enterprise users are actually permitted to test any of this stuff.

Rounding out the tweaks this time is the arrival of Windows Search in File Explorer, which has been lurking in the Fast Ring for a while and is aimed at better integrating content from OneDrive, and the ability of Narrator to be aware of the state of the FN key (and lock) so beloved of laptops. ®


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