Windows 10 Insiders get new beta build 14342, Edge gets some love

An unusual late-night release holds additional surprises as Microsoft quickens the pace of beta builds

Windows 10 Insiders get new beta build 14342, Edge gets some love

Somebody at Microsoft was too quick on the draw. Windows wrangler Gabe Aul tweeted last night, "Some #WindowsInsiders have reported getting PC build 14342. We were staging this for tomorrow and looks like it published too far." Oops.

Thus, many of us woke up this morning to new Fast ring Windows Insider beta build 14342.1000.rs1_release.160506-1708. The obligatory Windows Experience blog is up, and it looks like we're ready for takeoff. With a four-day lag between build date (the timestamp says May 6) and release date, Microsoft's not only quickening the pace of beta builds, it's accelerating the approval cycle. One could reasonably infer that the builds are becoming more stable, which is good news for a Win10 Anniversary Update RTM in July -- or earlier.

I discovered a few beta funnies on one of my Fast ring computers. The installer shut down the system and didn't bring it back up. I had to manually restart, then use Settings' Update & security applet to reboot and finish the installation. The update took forever -- par for the course with Win10 beta builds, which seem to wipe out all vestiges of builds that came before.

The big news: Edge can now retrieve extensions from the Windows Store -- you don't have to jump through sideload hoops to get extensions working. Any extensions you had working in the previous build 14332 were zapped by the installer, and you start all over again.

Aul suggests you try the AdBlock or Adblock Plus extensions. I recommend you use one or the other; they don't work well together. In my brief tests, they both looked exactly like their Chrome counterparts.

Meanwhile, the AdBlock vs. Adblock Plus controversy is still in full swing, with each side accusing the other of open source high treason. I've removed myself from the debate and don't use either now that both packages are accepting fees from big companies for whitelisting their ads (see Bill Snyder's report in CIO). I still don't know who owns AdBlock.

Aul also suggests trying Pin It Button, Mouse Gestures, Reddit Enhancement Suite, Microsoft Translator, and OneNote Web Clipper -- all in the Windows Store and all originally announced more than a month ago. To get the extensions, fire up Edge (don't try going to the Windows Store directly), click the ellipses in the upper-right corner, choose Extensions, then wade through the new tab.

I found a new extension that isn't mentioned in the docs: Page Analyzer is a tool to help Web page builders. Running Page Analyzer on Microsoft's own Edge Developer Resources page took more than two hours and still hadn't finished last I checked.

A tunnel in Edge -- the Web Notification API -- allows sites to send you Notifications through the browser (Aul's example is Skype for Web), and Microsoft finally added the ability to swipe in Edge to move back and forth.

The Notification center (aka Action Center) received a facelift, and middle-clicking on a notification will now dismiss it. The UWP/Metro Skype app can support more than one account, and it has a new dark theme. Microsoft is reshuffling the taskbar deck: Store is pinned once again and the new Mail icon now has an unread message count.

Bash has a few small improvements, which you can read about in the MSDN release notes.

Wi-Fi Sense -- the controversial and widely misunderstood Win10 feature that lets you share Wi-Fi login information with your contacts -- got the axe in this build. Per Aul:

We have removed the Wi-Fi Sense feature that allows you to share Wi-Fi networks with your contacts and to be automatically connected to networks shared by your contacts. The cost of updating the code to keep this feature working combined with low usage and low demand made this not worth further investment. Wi-Fi Sense, if enabled, will continue to get you connected to open Wi-Fi hotspots that it knows about through crowdsourcing.

This means Microsoft's (finally) came to the conclusion that you don't want to share your Wi-Fi passwords with all of your contacts on Facebook,, and Skype so that they in turn can share the passwords with all of their contacts and so on. Wi-Fi Sense itself remains, but it'll only automatically connect you to Wi-Fi hotspots where Win10 already knows the password. Some security experts see that as a continuing security headache, others view it as a lesser convenience.

As for this build's stability, it's still too early to tell. If you have a problem, best to use Feedback or drop by the Reddit thread and sound off.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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