Windows 10 Insider build 14271 makes only modest changes

Redstone beta builds continue to underwhelm, with this latest version mostly tinkering with taskbar settings

Windows 10 Insider beta build 14271 makes only modest changes
Credit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Six days ago, Fast ring inhabitants received Windows 10 Insider build 14267. That version is most notable for its inclusion of Edge features that have been in major browsers for many years, the ability to (oh my!) attach a file to a Skype message -- if you can get Skype to work -- and a nothing-new music-recognition icon in Cortana.

Microsoft is working on the plumbing, as the saying goes, and new features weren't in the cards.

Fast-forward a week, and Microsoft has officially released Build 14271.rs1_release.160218-2310, which is virtually indiscernible from Build 14267. Gabe Aul, in his official announcement, mentioned some bug fixes and known problems, but he didn't spend any time at all talking about new features.

I played with it overnight, and the new features I found weren't exactly earth-shattering.

The main change is in the location of taskbar settings. In Windows 10 build 10240 and version 1511, many taskbar settings are available by right-clicking the taskbar (lock the taskbar, show Cortana icon). To drill down on Win10 1511 taskbar settings, right-click the taskbar and choose Properties. That brings up the old Windows 7-style Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog, which allows you to, for example, autohide the taskbar, move it to the top or edges, or use small taskbar icons.

Build 14271 moves those settings to a new Taskbar item in the System applet of the Settings app (click Start > Settings > System > Taskbar). All of the old Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog options are there, as well as a few settings that duplicate the Notification area settings in the Notifications & Actions item and multiple monitor settings from the Display item.

In other words, this new Taskbar item in the Settings app includes all of the old Control Panel Taskbar and Start Menu Properties settings, as well as some settings borrowed from other parts of the Settings app.

The old Win10 1511 Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog is still available in build 14271. It hasn't been deleted yet.

The site notes a few other changes that range from very minor to imperceptible.

That's the extent of the visible changes. Under the covers, there's plenty happening -- inveterate Windows dissector @h0x0d has a list of changes, including lots of tantalizing possibilities, but nothing accessible as yet.

Microsoft is supposed to have Redstone 1 -- the next version of the last version of Windows -- out in June, according to most accounts. So far, we've seen very little that's compelling although remarkably, notably, the Redstone beta builds have been quite solid.

I would expect the announcement for Edge add-ons will take place at a major venue, perhaps the Build conference late next month, or the Convergence conference in early April.

Other than that, the clock's ticking.

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