Microsoft outlines new features coming in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Handwriting recognition and a revamped Start menu are just the beginning of new features users can expect

Windows 10 updated start menu
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has posted what it calls “a major build” of Windows 10, with significant new features scheduled for the Anniversary Update due this summer. The news has been detailed by Gabe Aul, vice president of the engineering systems team in the Windows group.

Microsoft posted Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14328 for both PC and Mobile to the Windows Insiders Fast ring, which gets more rapid updates than Insider, and thus isn’t for everyone. You’re getting builds hot off the compiler, so to speak, which means they are liable to be buggier. This is for true testers.

“With the amount of code change in this build there are going to be some rough edges,” Aul warned.

This build is just one build newer than the Mobile build released last week, so there isn’t much that’s new. For PC, however, it has a lot of new features.

One of the major updates is to the Ink Workspace, a one-stop shop for pen-enabled features that you can use even when the Windows computer is locked. Windows 10 already had pen recognition for drawing, but this new version has handwriting recognition, something Microsoft showed off at the Build developer conference earlier this month.

Also included in today’s beta release are updates to the Windows Start menu Microsoft previously announced at Build. The company is merging the Most Used Apps list and the All Apps list into a single view, which should make that menu more useful and current.

Cortana will be able to take some requests even when the device is on the lock screen, within limits. Anything involving personal data or launching apps will require you to unlock the device first. There are also two new Cortana reminder features: you can set reminders by taking a picture of whatever it is you want to be reminded about or set a reminder based on content in a third-party app.

Tablet mode display changes

In tablet mode, Microsoft made two notable display changes.

First, it brought back the full-screen All Apps list, which was the top request from Windows Insiders. It is basically a full-screen implementation of the All Apps list without needing the Start menu. The new build also makes it easier to toggle between your pinned tiles and All Apps list on the Start screen.

The second notable change is auto-hide of the taskbar in tablet mode. This is primarily for creating full-screen applications without the distraction of the taskbar.

There are quite a few more updates and changes, all of which are available in Aul’s blog post.

The Anniversary Edition of Windows 10 should appear sometime in the summer to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Windows 10, which launched July 29, 2015.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10