Microsoft today released a new Windows 10 preview for PCs with the recently announced Eye Control feature, as well as improvements to Edge, Console, input, and Windows Defender Application Guard (WDAG). This is the ninth build of the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which is slated to arrive later this year (likely in September).
Windows 10 is a service, meaning it was built in a very different way from its predecessors so it can be regularly updated with not just fixes, but new features, too. Microsoft has released many such updates, including three major ones: November Update, Anniversary Update, and Creators Update.
The biggest addition by far is Tobii’s eye tracking technology, which was announced as coming to Windows 10 just yesterday. The feature makes Windows 10 more accessible by empowering people with disabilities to operate an on-screen mouse, keyboard, and text-to-speech experience using only their eyes. You’ll need a compatible eye tracker so that you can accomplish tasks normally done with a mouse and keyboard.
Eye Control is still in beta and only works with the EN-US keyboard layout, but more keyboard layouts are on the way. It is also limited to select Tobii hardware like the Tobii Eye Tracker 4C (support for Tobii Dynavox PCEye Mini, PCEyePlus, EyeMobile Plus, and I-series is coming soon). Microsoft says it is “open to working with additional hardware vendors to provide customers a broader set of hardware options to enable this experience.”
Edge has received a more modern look in the browser frame, inspired by Microsoft’s Fluent Design System. The company says its uses of Acrylic material “provides depth and transparency to the tab bar and other controls” while button animations are now “more responsive and delightful.”
Looks aside, Microsoft has made an important change to the address bar. When it’s not in focus, clicking and dragging the text it will remain under the cursor – previously the text would shift as the “http://” appeared, making it annoying to edit parts of the URL. Edge also received fixes when copying images, closing tabs in full screen mode, and tab ordering.
As part of the Creators Update, the Windows Console gained support for full 24-bit RGB color. Now its default colors are getting their first overhaul in more than 20 years, with the hope of improving legibility of darker colors on modern screens. If you want to learn more about Microsoft’s thinking behind the changes, head over to the Command Line blog.
As for input improvements, the touch keyboard now launches faster from the taskbar. Bugs related to dictation and Japanese keyboards were also squashed.
WDAG has also received performance improvements, particular to container launch times. The tool has received new status strings for providing more detailed information when starting up, plus networking and launching bug fixes.
This desktop build includes the following general bug fixes and improvements:
Fixed an issue where the battery flyout might have shown unexpected text for the % charged (specifically “%1!s!%2!s!% until fully charged”).
Fixed an issue resulting in certain network setting being lost on upgrade and reverting to default. Specifically, static IP address configuration was reverted to DHCP, and networks marked private were reverted to public.
If Storage Spaces broke for you, the fix in build 16241 has been expanded to remediate those PCs that were still in a bad state.
Fixed an issue where if you switched to a new tab and back in Microsoft Edge, Narrator would start reading from the top of the page again, rather than remember where you had been on the page.
Fixed an issue where right-clicking on a folder in File Explorer and saying Scan with Windows Defender wouldn’t work if the folder name contained #.
Fixed a rare issue where the Windows Search Service might get stuck on initialization after upgrade, resulting in File Explorer showing “Working on it…” infinitely when accessing certain folders.
Fixed an issue resulting in certain games such as Wargaming’s World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes appearing to hang/freeze shortly after launch when played on x86 PCs in recent flights.
Fixed an issue where some Insiders were not being offered builds higher than Build 16241.
Fixed an issue where connecting to a VPN using a solution downloaded from the Windows Store may result in a system crash.
Today’s update bumps the Windows 10 build number for PCs from 16251 (made available to testers on July 26) to build 16257. This build has four known issues, so make sure to check those before updating.
Microsoft today also released a new Windows 10 Mobile build, but nobody cares.