Microsoft is planning to overhaul its Windows 10 operating system with two major software updates due in 2017. The first, dubbed the Creators Update and expected to arrive in April, introduces an array of tweaks designed to improve the user experience.
Highlighting some of the changes to come, the firm's latest preview build, version 15002, is now available to Windows 10 Insiders and provides a detailed look at many of the features that will underpin the Creators Update.
Announcing the preview build, Microsoft software engineer Dona Sarkar described the release as "a BIG update" and there are fundamental changes to many of the operating system's core components. The Edge browser, for example, has been upgraded to include a tab preview bar (pictured) that lets users glance at all open tabs without having to leave the current page.
There's also an option to set tabs aside and restore them at a later date, added jump-list support, and in keeping with rival browsers, untrusted Flash content will be blocked by default until the user clicks to play.
The Start menu has undergone radical tweaks over the years and will receive a relatively minor tweak in the Creators Update via support for tile folders. Bringing the interface in line with the Windows Phone experience, users will be able to group multiple shortcuts into a single tile as demonstrated above.
Other changes include the ability to screengrab a certain area of the screen using a Win+Shift+S shortcut, improved DPI scaling for desktop apps, an option to automatically lower blue light emissions at night, as well as the addition of a 'Refresh Windows' function. The latter, located in Windows Defender, is designed to help slow-running PCs by reinstalling Windows 10 while retaining user files and removing all non-standard apps.
Reports suggest that the Creators Update will be finalised within weeks ahead of a widespread rollout in April. The latest preview build, meanwhile, is now accessible to Windows Insiders and a comprehensive list of what's new is available at the Microsoft Experience Blog.