Microsoft updates Windows 10 in record time

Just 7 days after previous refresh, build 10074 reaches testers with fixes and updates, including bits of Aero UI

Start Menu: Windows 10 Build 10074

Start Menu: Windows 10 Build 10074

Microsoft yesterday updated Windows 10 with the third refresh in the last 30 days.

Build 10074 followed quickly on the heels of last week's 10061: The seven-day interval was the shortest so far between updates. Last month, Microsoft vowed to pick up the pace of Windows 10 preview updates, and since then has delivered four, including Wednesday's.

According to Gabriel Aul, the engineering general manager for Microsoft's operating system group, Build 10074 features new Music and Video Review apps; a user interface (UI) refresh of Cortana that streamlines the integration between the assistant, search and the OS; and a half-hearted return of some of Windows 7's "Aero Glass" visual elements.

Aero actually debuted on Windows Vista -- the now-forgotten flop whose user share has shrunk to minuscule levels -- and its most notable trait was transparent UI elements.

"We've also heard loud and clear that many Windows Insiders want to see Aero Glass from Windows 7 make a comeback," Aul wrote. "We've been working out how to satisfy this request, and are trying some things out with this build to see how you like them."

Testers have been pleading with Microsoft to restore Aero in Windows 10, with the request currently in the No. 2 spot on Windows' UserVoice, with nearly 49,000 votes.

Aul said half the users would receive an Aero-like transparency on the Start menu and taskbar, while the other half would see something more opaque.

Microsoft also fixed a bug in last week's build that prevented users from launching traditional Windows applications from the Start menu.

The company released build 10174 to both its "fast" and "slow" test tracks, or as it's dubbed them, "rings." The former is supposed to receive more frequent but less polished updates, while the latter is served more stable updates on a leisurely schedule.

Customers who want to start from scratch and clean-install Windows 10 -- rather than upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, or update an earlier preview -- can download a disk image in .iso file format from Microsoft's website. The English language .iso files weigh in at 2.8GB (32-bit) and 3.8GB (64-bit).

For all its emphasis on a faster pre-release development schedule and its stated plans for quickly adding new features to Windows 10 post-launch, Microsoft has not really changed the timing of OS information disclosures. For example, the company has yet to reveal prices for Windows 10 after a one-year free upgrade program, or full details of how enterprises will be able to slow updates or lock down PCs completely.

Nor has Microsoft used this week's Build developers conference to narrow the launch date of Windows 10 from a previous "this summer" timeline. Two weeks ago the CEO of Advanced Micro Devices let slip that the Redmond, Wash. firm was shooting for late July.

Build 10074 can be downloaded via Windows Update on Windows 10 devices.

Windows 10 build intervals

Windows 10 build 10074 followed its forerunner by just seven days, a record for Microsoft's preview program.

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