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Windows 10 – A guide to the builds

Microsoft never sleeps. Even before the Windows 10 Creators Update was rolled out, the company began work on the next major update to Windows 10, code-named Redstone 3. As it did with the 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 3, 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 Creators Update, which are below the builds of Redstone 3.

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 Creators Updates

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15063

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15061

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15060

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15058

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15055

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15048

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15046

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15042

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15031

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15025

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15019

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15014

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 W-Fi settings have been simplified, and there is a new Storage setting for letting you automatically delete files you don’t need any longer.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15007

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 15002

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 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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14986

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14971

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14965

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14955

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14955

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14951

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14946

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14942

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14936

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14931

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14926

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14915

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.

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 14901

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.