Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update was rolled out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, code-named Redstone 4. As it did with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has been releasing a series of public preview builds to members of Microsoft's Insider Program.
What follows is a list of every preview build of Redstone 4, starting with the most recent. For each build, we've included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft's announcement about it. We've also kept the list of all the preview builds that led up to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (Redstone 3) and the Windows 10 Creators Update (Redstone 2), which are below the builds of Redstone 4.
Note: If you're looking for information about updates being rolled out to all Windows 10 users, not previews for Microsoft Insiders, see "Windows 10: A guide to the updates."
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17101
Release date: February 14, 2018
The big news with this build is that it marks that the next upgrade to Windows 10 is likely now largely feature-complete. As Microsoft explains in its announcement about the build: “Right now our focus is on stabilization ... we intend to release new RS4 builds [previews of the next upgrade to Windows, code-named Redstone 4] to Insiders more quickly to both the Fast and Slow rings as these builds include mostly bug fixes.”
Microsoft is also “forking” its Windows Insider builds with this release — one fork is the one for the next upgrade to Windows 10, due to be released this spring, and the other fork is for what Microsoft calls “Skip Ahead” builds, previews of the Windows upgrade that will be released approximately six months after that, codenamed Redstone 5. This 17101 build serves double duty — it’s both for previews of Redstone 4 and the first Skip Ahead build for Redstone 5. However, the Skip Ahead build gets the build number 17604 instead of 17101.
Note that the Skip Ahead queue for accepting users is closed. People who signed up for the Skip Ahead RS4 builds starting in July 2017 and have remained in the Skip Ahead ring will get the Skip Ahead builds. But no new signups will get them at this point.
As for what’s in the build, it’s a relatively minor one. Some emojis have been updated and some Windows apps are being given broad file access permissions, although you’ll be able to turn that off if you want. In addition, the new edition of Windows called Windows 10 Pro for Workstations that in Microsoft’s words is “designed for demanding mission-critical scenarios targeting advanced users,” gets a few new features. The most important is a new power scheme called Ultimate Performance that gives as much power to PCs as possible but uses more power than other power schemes. Because of that, it’s not yet available on battery-powered PCs.
There’s also the usual assortment of tweaks, improvements and bug fixes, including an issue in which three- and four-finger touchpad gestures were unresponsive, and another in which Start didn’t work for Insiders who had added HomeGroup as a folder to appear on Start.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17101.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17093
Release date: February 7, 2018
This build offers a wide variety of relatively minor new features. If you have a multi-GPU PC, you’ll be able to fine-tune how the GPUs are used, for example, to assign “power saving” GPUs to simple tasks like running your browser and using high-performance processing to run games. To do it, go to Settings > System > Display and scroll down to the “Advanced graphics settings” link. The build also lets more PCs play HDR video.
The build also tweaks the Diagnostic Data Viewer released in the previous build — Microsoft says it will now allow you to delete all the diagnostic data associated with a device. However, if you read closely enough, you’ll find that’s not the case. You’ll be able to navigate to a Delete button, but Microsoft notes that, “The backend cloud system is currently under development and will be available to complete the Delete requests prior to public release of RS4.” In other words, click all you want, but for now, the data won’t actually be deleted.
The “eye control” feature released in the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update gets some tweaks, so you’ll be able to use it more easily to scroll through content, navigate more quickly, pause and so on. Also improved is Windows 10’s Bluetooth capabilities, so you can pair with Bluetooth devices in a single click.
The build also tweaks the Edge browser a bit, so that in full-screen mode you can use the address bar, navigate to other sites, add favorites and more. New security features have been added to Windows, including account protection when signing into Windows. And the Game Bar has been given a makeover to make it easier to access all of its features, including new icons for muting a microphone, toggling recording and more.
In addition, users of Windows S, the stripped-down version of Windows designed for schools but available for everyone, will be able to log into the operating system without using passwords.
Aside from that are the usual assortment of tweaks, improvements and bug fixes, including updating the Windows Subsystem for Linux, redoing the Privacy Settings page and fixing an issue in which the Advanced display settings link was missing from Display Settings.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17093.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17083
Release date: January 24, 2018
The big news in this release is a new set of privacy tools that let people see all the diagnostic data their devices send to Microsoft. The new Diagnostic Data Viewer lists all of the diagnostic information gathered, including Windows version, the ID of the device, connectivity information, performance and reliability data, app usage, installed software and more. You can scroll through each “diagnostic” event, as Microsoft calls them, or else search through them and filter them. You’ll also be able to fine-tune the level of data that Microsoft gathers.
To use the viewer, go to Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & feedback. Turn on the Diagnostic Data Viewer toggle and click the button below it to launch the app. One warning about the viewer: The information it shows is extremely difficult to decipher and will be difficult for anyone other than programmers to understand. So the tool sounds more impressive than it really is. For a full description, check out the blog post “Microsoft introduces new privacy tools ahead of Data Privacy Day” from Marisa Rogers, the Windows Device Group’s Privacy Officer.
There's a variety of other improvements as well, including a new Fonts page in Settings that makes it easier to choose and use fonts. You’ll be able to see previews of each font, get more details about each font, fine-tune and uninstall them. Web developers and typographers get a variety of tools for tweaking fonts. In addition, in this build, you’ll be able to get new fonts from the Microsoft Store.
The Timeline feature has been changed as well. In this build, you can more easily delete activities from your Timeline. And Windows 10’s ease of access features get a variety of changes, including the ability to automatically turn on or turn off scrollbars.
Beyond that is an assortment of tweaks, improvements and bug fixes, including fixing an issue that could cause Windows to get stuck on the rebooting screen for a long time, and another in which Settings would crash if you tried to change the state of the microphone or camera permissions in Privacy Settings.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17803.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17074
Release date: January 11, 2018
This build offers a variety of new features. Most of them focus on Microsoft Edge. Edge’s ebook reader gets a number of improvements, including a new look and feel based on Microsoft’s Fluent Design guidelines. The reader now provides a consistent interface whether you’re reading a PDF, EPUB book, or web content in Reading View. There’s also a new full-screen view. New grammar tools can highlight different parts of speech as well as break words down into individual syllables. And if you’re reading books purchased from the Microsoft Store, your reading progress, notes, bookmarks and annotations will more quickly sync across the devices on which you read them. If you’re having Edge read a book to you, it highlights words as they’re read.
Edge now stores credit card information and can autofill information on payment forms on the web. It also now supports CSS extensions for OpenType Font Variations, among other new features.
Windows 10’s Quiet Hours feature has been slightly tweaked. In the current version of Windows 10, Quiet Hours lets you turn off notifications between the hours of 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. In this build, you can customize the hours it works. Quiet Hours will also automatically turn on when you play games.
The Windows Settings app has been updated. In an attempt to consolidate settings of different kinds, the Disk Cleanup feature now can be found in Storage Settings, and the Sound Settings page has gotten a variety of minor tweaks.
Microsoft continues to work on better integrating pen input into Windows 10. In this update, you can tap a pen on any text field, and you’ll be able to input text using the pen. What you write is converted to text via handwriting recognition.
Beyond that are the usual assortment of tweaks, improvements and bug fixes, including fixing an issue where Settings sometimes crashed if the window was too small, and one in which Microsoft Edge sometimes crashed when deleting favorites.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17074.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17063
Release date: December 19, 2017
This is a major build with significant new features. The main one is Timeline, which was supposed to be part of the Fall Creators Update but which Microsoft delayed because it couldn’t get it working properly in time. Timeline is a kind of time machine that lets you see what apps and work you’ve been doing in the past, then jump back to them at the point you left off. It will work across devices, so that if you start work on a desktop PC, when you move to your laptop, you’ll be able resume work without missing a beat. Eventually it will work with iOS and Android devices as well, according to Microsoft.
Timeline works as an extension of Task View, with past tasks shown onscreen in addition to your current ones. You’ll be able to switch among them by clicking on the appropriate thumbnails. You can look at past tasks from the current day or previous days, and move through them all with a scrollbar on the right side of the screen. You can also search for a particular activity. To control how Timeline works, go to the new activity history page in the Settings app. Cortana also works hand in glove with Timeline, recommending activities you can resume using the feature.
All of Timeline’s features aren’t yet enabled. For now, it works with activities done in Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, and updated versions of Maps, News, Money, Sports and Weather. It likely works with other apps as well, although not necessarily all of them, and Microsoft hasn’t provided a list of which work with Timeline and which don’t. To use Timeline, click a new Task View icon on the task bar, or else press the Windows logo key + Tab, which is how your normally run Task View.
Developers can customize how their apps work with Timeline, including how the thumbnails work. (For details, see this blog post from Microsoft.)
Microsoft has been busy in this build; there’s more than just Timeline on tap. Also new is Sets, which add tabs to applications as a way for you to have various pieces of information in one place directly in the application itself. For example, if you’re in Excel, you could have a tab for your worksheet, another for a web page that has data you want to copy into the spreadsheet, and so on. Microsoft’s Dona Sakar describes it this way: “The concept behind Sets is to make sure that everything related to your task: relevant webpages, research documents, necessary files and applications, is connected and available to you in one click.”
Sets isn’t being delivered to all Insiders who get this update. Microsoft says it’s being released as a “controlled study,” but doesn’t provide details about how many people will receive it. Also, the name of the feature may change, and the way it works may change as well.
Microsoft Edge also gets improvements. Using Microsoft’s Fluent Design guidelines, it now supports a dark theme and has a variety of other minor user interface changes. Edge also supports the new Service Workers and the Push and Cache APIs Web standards, which let web pages send push notifications to the Action Center and refresh data in the background, even when Edge is closed.
Cortana, meanwhile, has gotten a few changes. The Notebook gets a new look, including a feature called Organizer that easily find your lists and reminders. Cortana now also lets you control Spotify using “natural language” to do things such as playing your weekly Spotify playlist, play specific tracks and more.
Fluent Design is being incorporated into more places throughout the Windows Shell, by applying its acrylic feature to the taskbar, Share UI, Clock & Calendar flyout, Network flyout, Volume flyout, and Input flyout. Acrylic lets developers add physical texture and depth to apps. Fluent Design also has been used to tweak the Settings app.
My People gets a variety of new features, including the ability to drag and drop contacts and rearrange them on the taskbar. You can also now decide how many contacts you want displayed on the taskbar — any number between one and ten. In the Fall Creators Update, you were limited to three.
There have also been a number of other minor changes throughout Windows, including the ability to use Paint 3D on screens you capture with the Snipping Tool. Emoji lovers will be pleased to know they can use the Emoji Panel in more languages. There are new privacy settings as well, notably one that lets you set global options for every privacy-related setting for microphone, camera and location access. That will let you disable apps and Windows from accessing these features on a device.
What IT needs to know: The build also has additions aimed at enterprises. The Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG) will be included in Windows 10 Professional when the next version of Redstone ships. Currently, it’s available only in the Windows 10 Enterprise version.
IT will get some new features for optimizing the delivery of Windows 10, including new policies for Group Policy and MDM to let system administrators throttle bandwidth at specific times of the day, as well as being able to “restrict peer selection to the same subnet, automatically join devices into peer groups by using a DHCP server’s User option or the connection’s DNS suffix as well as the ability to increase the usage of peers by delaying the use of the HTTP source,” in Microsoft’s words.
The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) gets a number of updates, including the ability to run background tasks and run when connected via OpenSSH, VPN, Enter-PSSession and/or other similar Windows remote tools.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17063.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17046
Release date: November 22, 2017
This build includes minor feature changes, primarily improvements to the Windows Shell, including a simpler way to get to advanced options in Settings and an update to the way emojis are handled so that more of them appear when you type words related to them on the touch keyboard. In addition, Microsoft Edge can now save and automatically fill in preferred information in addresses and related forms. There are also many bug fixes, including restoring the Properties dialog for This PC in File Explorer to functionality.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17046.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17040
Release date: November 16, 2017
This minor build includes only a few new features. Additions to Settings include one that lets you adjust the brightness of SDR content on an HDR display. Also new is the ability to use shape-writing input on the wide virtual keyboard. (Shape-writing for the one-handed keyboard was introduced in the Fall Creators Update.) The handwriting panel has also been improved, with a change to the insertion gesture and a new commit gesture. There’s also a long list of bug fixes, including an issue where network profiles had changed from Private to Public after upgrading to the previous build.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17040.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17035
Release date: November 8, 2017
This build is the first in Redstone 4 to introduce a variety of new features. There’s a new sharing feature called Near Share, which lets you share URLs and files with nearby PCs via Bluetooth. Both PCs need to have Build 17035 or above, and both the Near Share setting and Bluetooth need to be turned on in both PCs. Microsoft Edge also gets several new features, including the ability to mute tabs playing audio, and new context-menus options for EPUB books. The touch keyboard now uses Microsoft’s Acrylic design standards, and there are also more than 190 new kinds of keyboards, including more languages and keyboard layouts. The handwriting panel can now better recognize words.
Included are also many bug fixes and minor additions, including updating Cortana collections to support light themes, and fixing an issue in which Store download errors were displaying on the Windows Update history page.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17035.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17025
Release date: October 25, 2017
This minor build, an early one in the Redstone 4 release cycle, includes very few new features and changes. Ease of Access settings, such as for the Narrator, which reads onscreen text, have been regrouped and made simpler. Microsoft has also made changes to the Microsoft Yahei font used to display Windows user interface text in the Chinese (Simplified) Language so that it’s easier to read. Beyond that are the usual wide-ranging fixes, including one for not being able to scroll to the very bottom of the Start menu using touch when you are in tablet mode on small devices.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17025.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17017
Release date: October 13, 2017
Because this is an early build in the Redstone 4 release cycle, there aren’t many new features or changes. Cortana gets a few new tricks, including what Microsoft calls Cortana Collections, which are things you’ve already expressed interest in, including restaurants, recipes, things you shop for, movies, TV shows and more. Cortana puts them into organized lists so you can choose any of them easily. The build also simplifies actions taken between Cortana and Action Center. There is also a wide variety of fixes, including an issue where changing time zones made the lock screen clock incorrect until logging out and back in.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17017.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17004
Release date: September 27, 2017
This build is the first one to feature the 17xxx numbering system. Microsoft notes that the jump forward “is what we do normally at the beginning of development of a new feature update for Windows 10.” The build was done while Microsoft was getting the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ready, so there are very few changes or new features. It shows off some of Microsoft’s Fluent Design look-and-feel, including Reveal, a lighting effect which is supposed to “bring depth and focus” to interactive elements. You’ll see it on the Start Menu.
Beyond that, there are a variety of minor improvements and bug fixes, including for one in Microsoft Edge where the tab previews for PDFs were black with a white bar on each side.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17004.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16362
Release date: September 13, 2017
This build, as with the previous one, was created while Microsoft was getting the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ready, so there are very few changes or new features. Bootup has been changed slightly, so you can see lock-screen customizations, such as whether you get status information from Cortana, before you log in. There have also been the usual miscellaneous bug fixes and minor improvements.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 17362.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16353
Release date: August 31, 2017
This build, the first en route to the Redstone 4 version of Windows 10, is an exceedingly minor one, with no new features. It fixes a very small number of minor bugs, including one in which the taskbar is unexpectedly thick if you booted up the PC while plugged in to an external monitor with a different DPI.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16353.)
Preview builds for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16299
Release date: September 26, 2017; updated October 2, 2017
Note: On October 2, Microsoft released an update to 16299, called Insider Preview Build 16299.15, that appears to be the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. From this point on, updates will be made via Cumulative Updates with Windows Update, rather than through the Windows Insider program.
As with all the builds over the last several weeks, 16299 focuses on bug fixes. In this case they’re all minor. They include one in which Microsoft Edge might crash when scrolling embedded PDFs, and another in which some Insiders’ optical drive wouldn’t be listed under This PC after upgrading to a recent build.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16299.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16296
Release date: September 22, 2017
The bug-fix builds are coming fast and furious before the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. As with all the builds over the last several weeks, and all Redstone updates until the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released, this build focuses on bug fixes. This one is the smallest yet: It has only three very minor fixes.
One takes care of a problem in which Hyper-V couldn’t create a VM on third-party network storage. Another fixes an issue in which for the first few minutes after clean installing a non-English build, many inbox app names might unexpectedly appear with English app names. And the third fixed a problem in which gaming apps using WebView with heavy use of HTML canvas might have unexpectedly had very low frame-per-second (FPS) rates.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16296.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16291
Release date: Sept. 19, 2017
Here’s yet another bug-fix build in preparation for the release to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Note that there’s a serious bug with this build and a previous release, Build 16288.1, in which a Surface Pro 3 becomes essentially “bricked” — it gets stuck on a “spinning dots” screen with no apparent way to get out of it. Microsoft has posted a fairly complex workaround, which the company claims will fix the problem. Microsoft also claims, “We will have a permanent fix with no required workaround steps in our next flighted build that is 16294 or greater.”
As with the last several builds over the last few weeks, and all Redstone updates until the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released, this build focuses mainly on minor bug fixes. One small new feature has been added: Cortana users can now resume articles [and] news from their iPhones and Android phones to their PCs from within the Cortana app.
Aside from that, there are very few bug fixes, including one in which Microsoft Edge crashes if you add a Favorite to a Favorites folder and then immediately sort that folder by name.
What IT needs to know: Given the serious issue with this build on Surface Pro 3 devices, you may want to skip installing it and wait for Build 16294 or later.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 162891.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16288
Release date: Sept. 12, 2017
Here’s yet another small, incremental build in preparation for the release to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. As with the last several builds and all Redstone updates until the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released, this build only has minor bug fixes, with no new features introduced. You may notice that the usual watermark in the lower-right-hand corner of the desktop has vanished. That usually indicates a build is a final one. But don’t be fooled: In this case it isn’t.
Microsoft notes: “This is NOT the final build as we’re not done yet. We’re just now beginning the phase of checking in final code to prepare for the final release. So we will have more builds to release to Windows Insiders between now and then. And the desktop watermark may re-appear in these builds.”
The fixes include a variety of improvements to Edge, including an issue where the tab preview for PDFs was just black with two white stripes, and another in which website tooltips could end up displaying behind the Microsoft Edge window after opening a link in new tab in the background. A variety of other minor changes were made to input, the Windows shell, gaming, devices, and a host of other unrelated ones.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16288.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16281
Release date: Sept. 1, 2017
Here’s one more minor build en route to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. As with the last several builds – and all Redstone updates until the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released – this build focuses only on bug fixes, with no new features introduced. Those bug fixes are all minor, including one in which the Train Simulator 2017 game wouldn’t launch and another in which you couldn’t use your mouse because of sudden, brief CPU spikes.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 162781.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16278
Release date: Aug. 29, 2017
Microsoft is accelerating its sprint to release the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update — this newest build is the third in less than a week. As with the previous builds in the last week, and with all Redstone updates until the release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, this build is all about, and only about, bug fixes. The fixes in this build are all relatively minor, such as one in which Microsoft Edge crashed after you pinned certain websites to Start, and another in which the battery flyout sometimes incorrectly displayed “PC not charging” while the device was, in fact, charging.
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16275
Release date: Aug. 25, 2017
The pace of updates is being picked up, with some coming as soon as two days after another. As with all Redstone 3 updates from now until the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is released, this build focuses on bug fixes. No new features are in it.
There are no major fixes, either, only very minor ones, including taking care of an issue that caused minimized per-monitor DPI-aware windows to miss DPI changes and end up with a mix of DPI scaling upon restoring. Also fixed was an issue that caused in the taskbar to be unexpectedly thick if you booted up the PC while plugged in to an external monitor with a different DPI.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16275.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16273
Release date: Aug. 23, 2017
With this build, Microsoft starts to make a sprint toward releasing the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. The builds have been branched into their own “fork,” called RS3_RELEASE — the exact same thing Microsoft did when it began to get close to releasing the Windows 10 Creators Update, when it branched into RS2_RELEASE.
Dona Sarkar, software engineer with Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, explains, “We are now at the point of the development cycle for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update where our focus is now on stabilization for release to the world. This means that we intend to release these builds to Insiders more quickly to both the Fast and Slow rings as these builds [will] include mostly bug fixes.”
So don’t expect many feature changes, and expect those that are released to be minor. This build shows that. It has a new font called Bahnschrift, but apart from that, it’s mainly bug fixes, including one in which the Action Center icon showed it had a number of notifications that weren’t really there. Quite a few bugs were squashed in the Edge browser, including one in which some websites did not render correctly in inPrivate mode.
What IT should know: If you want to get a peek at what the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will look like, this is a good build to try, although of course it can be buggy. Also see our story “Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: 9 key enterprise features.”
Install Windows S: In other Redstone news, you can now install a preview version of Windows S, Microsoft’s stripped-down version of Windows. To do it, download the setup tool — but you should check out the information at the following links before installing:
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16237
Release date: July 7, 2017
This build makes a variety of miscellaneous changes throughout Windows, including Microsoft Edge, the Windows shell, gaming, the Task Manager, and improvements to input. Microsoft Edge gets a read-aloud feature, which will read the contents of a web page. It can also read PDFs out loud. Edge also gets a variety of bug fixes and very minor interface tweaks.
In the Windows shell, you no longer have to log out and back into Windows to fix the problem of blurry desktop applications after docking, undocking or using remote access. In addition, the Action Center gets a variety of small improvements. Notification buttons now span the entire bottom of the notification, instead of being justified to the right. You can also expand the first notification in each notification group in the Action Center, so you can easily eyeball emails, snooze reminders, and accomplish other tasks without having to individually expand every notification.
As for input improvements, Microsoft continues its devotion to emojis by supporting Emoji 5.0. You can also hover your mouse over any emoji in the Emoji Panel and see its exact Unicode character name. The touch keyboard gets minor fixes, notably several that make it more accurate.
In this build, Microsoft updates the Task Manager yet again, this time with very minor changes to the layout of the new GPU performance tracker introduced in Build 16226. More Task Manager changes are on the way in future builds.
There have also been the usual bug fixes and exceedingly minor changes, including correcting a bug that sometimes caused the Network & Internet Status Settings page to indicate that a network was public even though it had been set to be private in the Control Panel.
What IT needs to know: IT staff who like to participate in the regular Bug Bashes that Microsoft holds will be pleased to know that the next one will start at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Friday, July 14th and end a little over a week later at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Sunday, July 23rd.
This build offers the first hands-on look at some of the new end-to-end security features to be officially released in the Windows 10 Fall Creators update, and so is well worth examining. To get a fuller picture of the security changes in store, go to “Announcing end-to-end security features in Windows 10” on Microsoft’s Windows 10 blog.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16237.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16232
Release date: June 28, 2017
This build is all about security, and includes a host of new features designed to harden Windows against attack. Many of them were previously announced by Microsoft in a blog post outlining the new security features it will build into Windows 10 in the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
Windows Defender Application Guard, which integrates with the Microsoft Edge browser to protect against online malicious attacks and malware, has been updated so that favorites, cookies and saved passwords will be carried across Application Guard sessions.
With this build, you can also audit, configure and manage Windows system and application exploit mitigation settings from inside Windows Defender Security Center. Expect there to be potential issues with this right now; as Microsoft warns, “remember that Exploit Protection is a work-in-progress and might not be fully functional just yet.”
The build also has a new feature called “Controlled folder access” in Windows Defender, which protects data against attacks, including ransomware. This feature monitors changes that applications make to files in protected folders. When an application tries to make a change to the files, and the application has been blacklisted by the feature, you’ll get a notification about the attempt, and the files won’t be allowed to be modified.
In addition to the security changes, there are a variety of bug fixes in this build, including one that caused Word 2016 to crash if you attempted to ink in it, and one where auto-complete in the URL bar of Microsoft Edge failed on some devices.
What IT needs to know: This build offers the first hands-on look at some of the new end-to-end security features to be officially released in the Windows 10 Fall Creators update, and so is well worth examining. To get a fuller picture of more security changes in store, go to “Announcing end-to-end security features in Windows 10” in Microsoft’s Windows blog.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16232.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16226
Release date: June 21, 2017
Emoji fans will be pleased to see that the build support the latest Unicode updates, including new snacks, actions, dinosaurs and fantasy characters like genies, fairies and zombies. All are accessible from the touch keyboard and Emoji Panel.
The touch keyboard now supports “shape writing” for more languages. In shape writing, you can swipe your fingers across letters instead of tapping them, which makes for faster text input. The keyboard also adds text predictions for more languages.
Those who use Task Manager to track the performance of their PC get a new feature to obsess over: It tracks your GPU use. Find it on the Performance tab, where you’ll see GPU utilization information for each GPU component (such as 3D and Video encode/decode) and graphics memory usage statistics. If you head over to the Details tab, you’ll see GPU utilization information for each process. (Note: Microsoft warns that this feature might be buggy, so expect some problems with it.)
The overall Windows shell gets a few tweaks, including the ability to share a file in File Explorer via the right-click context menu. Beyond that, there are small tweaks in the Calculator, Settings, ease of access and other places. There is also a long list of bug fixes, including for one that prevented PDFs from opening in Microsoft Edge on some devices with enterprise configurations.
What IT needs to know: IT admins can now configure Edge favorites by using group policy and mobile device management, including defining and locking preconfigured favorites in addition to the user’s favorites.
For security reasons, Microsoft is continuing its several-year process of removing the SMB1 networking protocol from Windows by default, in order to reduce the “attack surface” of Windows 10. All Enterprise and Education editions now have SMB1 uninstalled by default. In Home and Professional editions, though, only the SMB1 server component is uninstalled by default, but the SMB1 client remains installed. Note that the removal of SMB1 means the legacy Computer Browser service is being removed as well, because it cannot function without SMB1.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16226.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16215
Release date: June 8, 2017
Addendum: As of June 13, a new feature called OneDrive Files On-Demand is being made available to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring who are on Build 16215. With Files On-Demand, OneDrive users can see and access all of their files in the cloud, even if those files aren’t on their local computers. The online files can be opened in the same way as any local file, by using desktop applications, Windows Store apps or File Explorer.
OneDrive Files On-Demand is being rolled out in waves over several days to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring who are on Build 16215. It can also be downloaded and installed from Microsoft.
June 8 release: This build offers many minor changes throughout Windows. It shows off a new user interface for the Start menu and the Action Center, which use some elements of Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System, a design language which the company announced at its Build 2017 event in May. The Start menu can now be resized diagonally, and it’s easier to resize it because you can more easily “grip” the edge of the frame. The Action Center’s new interface separates information more clearly and better differentiates categories of information.
Microsoft Edge has received minor improvements. Favorite websites can be pinned to the taskbar, e-books can be annotated in Microsoft Edge, and PDFs get more highlight colors. Cortana has received small improvements as well, including the ability to use your computer’s camera to perform actions such as taking a picture of a flier for an upcoming event and creating a reminder based on it.
In addition, improvements to the touchscreen handwriting recognition feature make it easier to write longer pieces of text and correct handwritten mistakes within the handwriting panel. And anyone who has ever misplaced a pen for their touchscreen will welcome the new Find my Pen feature, which shows you where you were the last time you used it on your computer.
It’s also now easier to enter emoji on your keyboard. And a new touch keyboard was introduced on the Desktop, which offers improved text prediction and a new settings menu.
The Windows shell has seen new work as well, including making it easier to share links in the Share user interface. Settings gets several deeper features, notably new video playback settings and a new context menu for Wi-Fi networks.
A host of other overall improvements focus on Narrator, the Gaming bar, ease of access, and fonts. There are also the usual assortment of minor changes, improvements and fixes to bugs, such as Microsoft Edge crashing when enabling or disabling extensions.
What IT needs to know: This build improves the ability of Task Manager to accurately show resource attribution, resource management, and fault tolerance. You can now run Bash on Windows without having to use Developer Mode. And when you’re using Hyper-V, you can now see your machine’s battery status.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16215.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16199
Release date: May 17, 2017
This minor build includes several new features for the My People app. You can pin your favorite contacts to the taskbar and see emoji from your pinned contacts. Pinned contacts also display counters for messages you haven’t yet read from them. And you can now share files with contacts by dragging and dropping files onto pinned contacts, which creates an email message to the contact with the file attached.
The build also includes several minor changes to settings, notably the addition of a health section that pulls information from the Windows Defender Security Center, making it easier to see the overall health of your PC in a quick glance.
Beyond that are the usual assortment of minor changes, improvements and bug fixes, such as Windows Defender Security Center not flagging disabled drivers as issues.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16199.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16193
Release date: May 11, 2017
The big news in this build is the release of Story Remix, a major upgrade for the Windows 10 Photos app. It lets you mix together photos, videos, music, transitions, inking and 3D objects to create “stories” -- essentially, screen shows on steroids. It does more than that, though: It also will create these stories itself, at your bidding. So, for example, you can click the Remix button for a collection of photos or videos, and Remix will put together a suitable soundtrack, transitions, and so on. You can then edit what Remix has done.
Story Remix uses what Microsoft says is “deep learning and AI” to tag people, places and things, so they're easier to find via search.
Beyond that, this release offers the usual assortment of minor changes, improvements and bug fixes, such as making the Settings app more stable so it doesn’t crash when navigating to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16193.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16188
Release date: May 4, 2017
This build features several improvements for Microsoft Edge’s PDF reader. The reader now lets you fill in PDF forms and annotate PDFs. The app's navigation has also been improved, and you can also finally rotate PDFs.
Edge also gets a security improvement: The Windows Defender Application Guard, which offers increased protection against malware and Zero Day attacks. There’s also a related change that anyone who has ever been confused about Cortana’s settings will be pleased to see: Cortana settings are now available in the Settings app, rather than separately.
This build also includes a variety of minor changes, improvements and bug fixes.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16188.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16184
Release date: April 28, 2017
This build introduces a new feature called My People that Microsoft promised was on the way last October, but that was delayed until after the Creators Update. My People is a social app that lets you pin your favorite people to the taskbar, and makes it easy to contact them in a variety of ways, including the ability to share files and photos, chat, and include emojis. The app remembers the way you've shared with each person previously and uses that method each time afterwards, unless you decide to change it.
There are also a variety of minor changes, improvements and bug fixes for the OS, including the ability to disable the Night Light feature (which reduces the amount of blue light produced by your display).
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16184.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16179
Release date: April 19, 2017
This early build has few changes in it. A new feature introduces automatic checkpoints to Hyper-V for developers so that they can easily undo mistakes by being able to always revert to the last time they started a virtual machine. Power throttling, which can save up to 11% in CPU power consumption, has been turned on. There are also a variety of minor changes, improvements and bug fixes.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16179.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16176
Release date: April 14, 2017
Because this is an extremely early build of the next upgrade to Windows, there are no noticeable new features. Microsoft has mainly worked on OneCore, which is the heart of the operating system that works not just on the PC version of Windows 10, but also on Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Server, Xbox 10, Windows 10 IoT and the HoloLens operating system. There are some very minor changes and bug fixes. The Narrator, which had been broken in the build 16170, now works, for example.
(Get more info about Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16176.)
Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 16170
Release date: April 7, 2017
Well, that didn’t take long, did it? Even before the official rollout of Windows Creator Update, Microsoft released the first preview build update for the next upgrade to Windows 10, due out by the end of the year.
Given that it’s the earliest public build of the next upgrade, there’s very little new here, only the most minor of bug fixes, such as an update to the share icon in File Explorer. However, there are a number of known issues with the build. Narrator doesn’t work in it, for example, and some apps and games may crash. So if you decide to try it, proceed with caution.
(Get more info about Insider Preview Build 16170.)
Preview builds for the Windows 10 Creators Update
Release date: March 20, 2017
This build offers only two minor changes and bug fixes: one in which Edge would become unresponsive and another that affected language packs.
Release date: March 17, 2017
This build offers only a few minor changes and bug fixes, including one in which some VPN connections don’t show up in Network Connections.
Release date: March 16, 2017
This build offers only a few minor changes and bug fixes, including one in which Microsoft Edge would not launch several minutes after it crashed.
Release date: March 14, 2017
This build offers a few minor changes and bug fixes, including one that caused some Windows apps such as the Windows Store to fail to launch, and one in which people could not get to the Wi-Fi settings page.
Release date: March 10, 2017
This build offers only minor changes and bug fixes. There are 10 fixes for Microsoft Edge, including one for circumstances in which touchpad and keyboard input periodically stops working for a few seconds at a time when using an Edge window.
For the first time, the Windows version number displayed is 1703, which likely indicates the next update to Windows -- called Creator’s Update -- is close to final. The version number usually indicates when the final build will be compiled, which in the case of “1703” would mean March 2017. If that’s the case here, it would mean that the Creator’s Update would likely be compiled some time this month.
It has been reported that the official availability date of the Creators Update will be April 11. Not uncommonly, it takes several weeks between when an update is compiled and when it’s generally available to the public, so the time frame seems right.
Release date: March 3, 2017
This build offers only very minor changes and fixes for bugs such as: LastPass password manager extension for Microsoft Edge sometimes failed to show autofill buttons; the mouse wheel would not work properly; some games minimized to the taskbar as soon as they were launched.
Release date: Feb. 28, 2017
This build offers a variety of minor changes that will be released to the general public in the Creators Update, which is expected in April. Windows Defender Security Center has several modifications, including the addition of an icon in the notification area so you can easily see your protection status. Cortana now displays apps, files and websites that appeared in Microsoft Edge when you last used it. There are also a variety of small changes, improvements and bug fixes.
Release date: Feb. 24, 2017
This minor build offers new animation for Cortana, a new animation for the Edge URL bar which shows when Flash content is being blocked, and a few minor improvements to Edge's ebook-reading capabilities. There are also various small changes, improvements and bug fixes.
Note: This build only works with PCs running 64-bit versions of Windows, not 32-bit versions.
Release date: Feb. 8, 2017
The main feature of this minor build is the introduction of the Compact Overlay window feature, which lets developers write apps that display in a thumbnail above other windows so they're always visible -- for example, for watching a video. The Windows 10 Movies & TV app and Skype Preview app will eventually make use of it. There’s also a new Share icon, and a variety of minor bug fixes and changes.
Release date: Feb. 1, 2017
The main new feature in this minor build is braille support for the Narrator screen reader. There are also several small improvements and bug fixes. The build is aimed primarily at the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update and is the primary build for the second Windows 10 Creator's Update Bug Bash, during which users and developers identify as many bugs as possible; it started on Feb. 3 and will end on Feb. 11.
Release date: Jan. 27, 2017
This minor build focuses in large part on adding features to Xbox gaming. Included is the ability to broadcast your gaming play by streaming it over the internet, as well as a new Game Mode that optimizes your PC for gaming. Scott Henson, Xbox Partner Group Program Manager, has provided a list of all new gaming features on his blog. Even though this build is, to a great extent, targeted at gamers, Dona Sarkar, Software Engineer, Windows and Devices Group, noted in the announcement that, "This build does have some platform-related bugs that will impact the ability to play popular games on your PC."
There are a variety of other minor changes, such as giving Microsoft Edge the ability to read e-books aloud, and being able to stop app and game download progress in the Action Center. There are also several small improvements and bug fixes.
Release date: Jan. 19, 2017
This build adds a handful of minor new features, and fixes a variety of bugs, many of which have been pointed out by users in Microsoft’s Feedback Hub. With it, you can now buy e-books from the Windows Store and read them in Microsoft Edge. There’s also a new custom color option in the Color settings, the Wi-Fi settings have been simplified, and there is a new Storage setting for letting you automatically delete files you don’t need any longer.
Release date: Jan. 12, 2017
This minor build focuses on several small improvements to the Edge browser. You can now share tabs with other apps on your PC; you can also more easily import favorites, browsing history and passwords from other browsers. Microsoft has updated the web notes feature so it uses Windows Ink, among other features.
There are also non-Edge improvements; for example, when you switch from one PC to another, Cortana will display (in the Action Center) links to the Edge websites and the SharePoint or OneDrive documents you most recently used on the original PC. There are several other small changes and a variety of bug fixes.
Release date: Jan. 9, 2017
This build makes a fair number of changes to the Edge browser and adds a few tweaks to the overall interface.
Edge now features a useful tab preview bar that pops up at the top of the screen when you click a small down arrow to the right of the + next to your tabs. You can then scroll through the tab preview bar by clicking an arrow on its right side, or by using a mousewheel, touchpad, or swiping on a touch screen.
Edge also gets two new buttons for managing tabs: one of them closes all your tabs; the other one thumbnails the tabs you’ve closed and lets you restore them all, or each individually. Edge also blocks untrusted Flash content and gives you the choice of whether you play it or not. The Microsoft Edge changelog lists all the changes to Edge.
People who are fans of the Start menu will welcome a new feature that lets you group Start tiles into folders. This build also addresses a complaint that some people have had about windows resizing not being smooth enough -- according to Microsoft, it’s now smoother on both desktop applications and Windows apps.
The build also includes minor improvements to Windows Ink, Cortana, Windows Defender, accessibility features and the Settings app. And, as always, there are a variety of bug fixes.
Release date: Dec. 7
This build focuses on several system changes, including improvements to Cortana. By speaking to Cortana, you can now turn off, restart, lock, or put your PC to sleep, and raise and lower your system volume. You can also control the iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio music apps using voice commands.
Windows Ink has gotten some new features -- for example, it's more difficult to accidentally delete sketches. There are several new Microsoft Edge extensions, including for the Ebates cash-back service. There are lesser improvements, such as the addition of a Windows Defender dashboard and improvements to Narrator. And, as always, there are a variety of bug fixes.
Release date: Nov.17
This minor build adds several minor features. You can now read unprotected e-books in the EPUB file format with Microsoft Edge. The Paint 3D Preview app is included as part of Windows for the first time -- previously it was a separate download. PowerShell becomes the default command line for Windows. There are also a variety of minor bug fixes, such as improving the reliability of the protractor and inking in Sketchpad, and fixing an issue with the Magnifier’s keyboard shortcuts.
Release date: Nov. 9
This minor build adds minor features. The Sticky Notes app has been updated to include more languages, improved text input while typing and a few bug fixes. Windows Ink Workspace gets some minor improvements, including an upgraded protractor and faster loading of Sketchpad. It’s also now easier to connect to an external monitor from a tablet -- you can do it from the virtual touchpad instead of a mouse. There are also the usual host of bug fixes and small improvements, including one that stops Internet Explorer from crashing right after loading.
Release date: Nov. 3
This minor build is the first to use a new Microsoft platform for publishing updates, called the Unified Update Platform (UUP), although only the mobile build is delivered with UUP -- it will still be a while before PC updates will be delivered using it. Microsoft says that UUP will lead to smaller update download sizes -- 35% smaller from one major update to another. Aside from that, build 14959 can support an app that runs on just-announced Microsoft hardware, including the Surface Studio: Paint 3D Preview, which adds 3D modelling tools to Microsoft Paint. (The app isn't in the new build; it has to be downloaded separately.)
The build also includes a variety of bug fixes and small improvements, such as better controlling of scaling of virtual machines in Hyper-V Virtual Machines, and squashing a bug related to Windows' automatic brightness setting.
Release date: Oct. 25
This minor build includes updates to Windows’ built-in Mail and Calendar apps. You can now open mail messages in a new window. You can also use @mentions: When you type the @ symbol in the body of an email and follow it with your contact's name, Windows pulls the contact's email address from your contact list and adds it to the To: field. The build also includes a variety of fixes. For example, it fixes a bug which wouldn’t allow people to sign into some apps -- such as MSN News and Groove -- with their Microsoft account.
Release date: Oct. 19
This minor build adds new features for users who have a precision touchpad. It allows you to record your favorite keyboard combinations and assign them to gestures; you can also change the audio volume with a gesture. Windows Ink gets some improvements as well, including the addition of stencils and the ability to use Windows Ink in the Photos app. The camera interface has been simplified and there are a variety of bug fixes and minor improvements.
Release date: Oct. 13
This minor build lets you customize how your touchpad works, notably by letting you customize three- and four-finger gestures and taps. To do it, go to Settings > Devices > Touchpad and look for the “Other gestures” section. The Wi-Fi settings page has been redesigned, and includes a new setting that lets you have a turned-off Wi-Fi turn back on automatically after a certain amount of time elapses. The build also includes a variety of bug fixes.
Release date: Oct. 7
This minor build updates the Photos app, including a horizontal bar that makes it easier to navigate and view photos. The build also lets you collapse the app list on the Start menu by going to Settings > Personalization > Start and turning on “Hide app list in Start menu.” Windows Update gets a new icon. There are also a variety of bug fixes and minor improvements.
Release date: Sept. 28
This minor build adds several new extensions to Microsoft Edge, including the Microsoft Personal Shopping Assistant, which lets you save products from several web sites in one location, along with price alerts and comparison shopping. Also new is the Turn off the Lights extension that lets you turn a web page black around a video you’re watching, so you can more easily focus on the video. The build also includes a variety of bug fixes for problems such as Explorer.exe crashing frequently.
Release date: Sept. 21
This minor build focuses mainly on small bug fixes. In addition, you can now track traffic in the Maps app by tapping the traffic icon in the app bar. You can also send SMS and MMS messages using Skype on a Windows 10 PC if you have a Windows 10 phone with Skype and Skype is set as the default messaging app.
Release date: Sept. 14
This minor build adds a “Snooze” feature to Edge so that you can set Cortana reminders on pages you’re viewing. The Cortana reminder appears as a notification and in Action Center, which lets you open that site in Edge. This is helpful for people who keep tabs open as a way to remind them to do something on a site.
Insiders will appreciate another change: If you’ve uninstalled an app, that app won’t be reinstalled when you upgrade to the newest Preview build. So, for example, if you uninstall the Amazon Kindle app, it won’t be re-installed when you go to a new Preview build.
There are also a number of bug fixes in the build as well.
Release date: Aug. 31
This minor build has only one new feature: It enables Windows Insiders to download their Insider preview builds, OS updates and app updates from other PCs on their network and from PCs on the internet. This should lead to faster downloads and updates. It needs the Windows Update Delivery Optimization feature to be turned on (it's turned on by default). If you want, you can turn off the feature entirely and just download your updates the usual way, straight from Microsoft.
There are also a variety of bug fixes -- for example, to make the power button on the Start menu work and to correct an issue that had turned off Cortana's text-to-speech capabilities.
Release date: Aug. 11
This first public preview build of Redstone 2 included no new significant features; instead, it focused on Windows 10's plumbing. An announcement about the preview build on Microsoft's Insider Hub (accessible only to those who are running Windows 10) noted that in the first Redstone 2 build, "You won't see any big noticeable changes or new features just yet...we are focusing on making some structural improvements to OneCore."
OneCore, the announcement went on to note, "is the shared core of Windows across PC, tablet, phone, IoT, Hololens and Xbox. It is essentially the heart of Windows."
The announcement warned that the build might be buggy.