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Windows 10 build 16215 (Fall Creators Update) releases with new features

Windows 10 build 16215 rolls out with a lot of new features and improvements — Here's what you need to know.

Windows 10 build 16215

Microsoft has released Windows 10 build 16215 for testers with PCs enrolled in the Fast ring. The new rollout is part of the Fall Creators Update (previously known as Redstone 3), and it brings a slew of new features and improvements over the previous build.

Windows 10 build 16215, according to the company, updates the Start menu and Action Center with Fluent Design System elements. Microsoft Edge gets full screen mode button, you can pin favorites to the taskbar, annotate ebooks, and a lot more.

In this flight, Cortana gets smarter with two new features, including Camera roll insights and Lasso.

The Windows Ink experience is also getting some great new improvements. Starting with build 16215, Windows 10 is bringing changes to the handwriting experience with a new continues writing overflow, handwriting correction support, new gestures, and more.

Entering emoji on a hardware keyboard is much easier with new keyboard shortcuts and a new emoji panel, and there is a new on-screen touch keyboard with the ability to add dictation.

Windows 10 build 16215 introduces new shell improvements, including in the share experience, and Windows Store apps now include detection for locally stored content. Additionally, the Settings app introduces a bunch of new tweaks and options.

In addition, Microsoft is also noting a number of fixes and known issues you should know before installing this flight.

What’s new on Windows 10 build 16215

Start menu & Action Center

In this flight, the Start menu and Action Center introduces new elements part of the Fluent Design System.

On the Start menu, you’ll now see new elements, such as acrylic, which adds new transparency, and there are new resize and transition effects.

Action Center also includes Fluent Design System elements, and it’s also getting redesigned to provide clearer information separation and hierarchy.

Action Center with Fluent Design System
Action Center with Fluent Design System

Cortana

In this pre-release of the Fall Creators Update, Cortana is getting reminder improvements with two new features.

Cortana camera roll insight: The assistant can now prompt you to create a reminder when it identifies an event poster in your camera roll folder. (Only when plugged into a power source and on an un-metered network.)

Cortana Camera roll insights
Cortana Camera roll insights

To try this feature, go to Settings > Cortana > Permissions & history, click the Manage the information Cortana can access from this device link and turn on the Camera roll toggle switch.

Cortana Lasso: You can now use the new lasso tool to circle the relevant information and Cortana will recognize the time, and offer suggested follow-ups through a context menu.

Cortana Lasso
Cortana Lasso

To try this feature, go to Settings > Device > Pen & Windows Ink > Press and hold, and select Cortana Lasso in the dropdown picker. In addition, you’ll need a pen that supports press and hold, such as the Surface Pen.

Windows Ink

On build 16215, Windows 10 adds a new XAML-based handwriting panel with more gestures, easier editing, emoji, and more.

Some of the new handwriting features, includes the ability to write continuously. When you fill the handwriting panel and lift your pen off the screen, the text will shift so you have room to continue writing.

If you select text while the handwriting panel is open, that text will now appear within the panel so you can easily make alterations.  

Instead of using the suggested text alternate, you now have the option to ink the correct letters right on top of the converted text.

Additionally, you can make corrections using ink gestures. Once your written words have been converted to type, or if you’ve selected existing text, you can now do edits from within the handwriting panel using four new gestures: strikethrough, scratch, join, and split.

The handwriting panel now includes two new buttons to make easy to input emoji or symbols without needing to switch to the touch keyboard.

These is also new option in the Pen & Windows Ink settings page to reduce palm rejection.

In this flight, there are also improvements in handwriting recognition for English (US) to be more accurate. In addition, to further improve the recognition accuracy of mixed input (when Chinese and English characters are inked together), Windows 10 now adds an English mode button when handwriting in Simplified Chinese.

Find My Pen

While digital pens don’t include GPS, Windows 10 can tell where you’re last seen using the pen with your computer, which can help you find where you lost it.

Find My Pen
Find My Pen

You can configure this feature on Settings > Update & Security > Find My Device.

Other pen improvements include, scrolling improvements, so that you don’t have to “hunt and peck” for scrollbars, or frequently switch between pen and touch, when navigating. Now you can scroll content directly and fluently as you would with your finger.

In addition, selection with pen has also been improved to not only show selection grippers whenever text is selected, but also to allow for a consistent and fast selection of content by dragging the pen while the barrel button is pressed.

Scrolling with pen is currently only supported for Windows Store apps, but support for win32 apps is coming.

Hardware keyboard improvements

The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update also introduces a new emoji panel for hardware keyboard. Simply press Windows key + period (.) or Windows key + semicolon (;) while focus is in a text box to open the Emoji Panel.

Hardware keyboard emoji panel Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Hardware keyboard emoji panel Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

You can also navigate through the panel by using the following keys:

  • Arrow keys: Navigate among emoji
  • Tab / Shift + Tab: Switch emoji category
  • Enter: Select an emoji
  • Esc: Close the panel​

Touch keyboard experience

Starting with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 is also bringing the phone touch keyboard experience with the new XAML-based touch keyboard.

The experience delivers many of the popular features found in the phone keyboard, including enhanced touch prediction and new improved emoji experience divided into categories.

Touch keyboard on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Touch keyboard on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

There is also a one-handed touch keyboard experience with support for shape writing for faster typing.

One-handed touch keyboard on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
One-handed touch keyboard on Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Along with all the improvements, Windows 10 is also updating the way to switch into handwriting panel and other keyboard layouts.

Finally, the new touch keyboard experience features dictation to input English or Chinese text. Simply tap the microphone button in the top-left corner of the touch keyboard or handwriting panel, or press the new dictation hotkey Windows key + H to start dictating. Besides dictating text, you can also use voice commands to do basic editing or to input punctuations.

Windows 10 shell improvements

On Windows 10 build 16215, there is a number improvements to the new Share experience on your desktop.

Copy Link: If you’re sharing a link, Windows 10 now adds a new option in the Share interface to copy that link to your clipboard to easily paste it into your app of choice.

Local media folder detection for Windows Store apps: Sometimes local media is missing as a result of folders not being included, as such in this build Windows 10 is adding new logic to address this issue. After a storage scan, Windows 10 will now detect relevant media folders you might want to include in your collection when looking at the files via Windows Store apps, and suggest them to you when you go to add new folders.

Settings

This flight also introduces a number of new improvements and option for the Settings app.

On Settings > Personalization, the Video Playback page has new media controls, including a new option to adjust video HDR streaming. It also adds some battery settings for you to decide whether you’d prefer to optimize video streaming for battery usage or video quality.

On Settings > System > Display, in the new HDR and advanced color settings page, you can now find more details about the HDR settings of the currently selected display.

On Settings > Apps > Default apps, in the Set defaults by App page, you can now control per-app default settings. In the past, when using Settings, you had to start with your file type or protocol if you wanted to make a change to the default app. Starting with build 16215, you can now start with your app, and then see the available options for what it can handle.

Per-app default settings
Per-app default settings

Choose an app and click Manage to see all the file types and protocol associations for which the app is the default.

On Settings > Network & internet, Windows 10 updates the Network connection properties page to show two radio buttons to select whether the profile should be public or private.

Network Public and Private settings
Network Public and Private settings

Another improvement, includes new context menu full of quick actions when you right-click one of the listed Wi-Fi networks.

On Settings > Update & Security, the Windows Update page, now lists the individual update status and progress.

If there are any applied group policies for Windows Update, a page will now appear in Windows Update Settings so you can look through them.

On Settings, the Gaming section gets a lot of improvements. For example, the Game bar (Windows key + G) now has a button to enable or disable Game Mode for the current game.

The Game bar now allows you to take screenshots of games running in HDR. Screenshots of games running in HDR should now correctly save a copy in PNG that is tone mapped to SDR. Bitrate changes during game broadcasting to Mixer should now be smoother and more seamless. When broadcasting to Mixer, you can now specify the language that you are speaking during the broadcast. Finally, the resources made available to games running in Game Mode have been tweaked to support 6 and 8 core processors machines to improve game performance.

Microsoft Edge

On Windows 10 build 16215, Microsoft Edge is getting updated with a lot of new improvements and features.

For example, you can finally pin your favorite websites with icons on the taskbar.

Microsoft Edge pin websites to taskbar
Microsoft Edge pin websites to taskbar

While it’s been possible in the past to use the browser in fullscreen mode, starting on this release, you can use the F11 key or using the new full screen mode button in the Microsoft Edge menu.

Microsoft Edge fullscreen mode button
Microsoft Edge fullscreen mode button

In the Creators Update, the browser introduced support for ebooks, and in the next update, you’ll be able to annotate epub books by highlighting in four colors, underlining, and adding comments.

Microsoft Edge highlight ebooks
Microsoft Edge highlight ebooks

You can also add and edit notes while you read an epub ebook.

On PDF support, Microsoft Edge adds more highlight colors and the option to Ask Cortana.

Other improvements include, new splash page, and you can close the browser even when JavaScript dialog is showing. You can add tabs to your favorites, starting a new tab animates smoother, and the session restore behavior has been improved as well.

Developer Improvements

If you open Task Manager, you will notice Windows Store apps now use per-application instanced Runtime Broker processes.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) no longer requires Developer Mode. Hyper-V gets virtual battery support to see your PC’s battery state in your virtual machine. And the Registry Editor is now per-monitor DPI aware.

Ease of Access Improvements

Scan Mode on By Default: The largest change that you will experience is that Scan Mode is now on by default, and removes the popup dialog when first launching Narrator explaining how to start scan mode.

Narrator Input learning: This will allow you to learn the keys on your device. Narrator will tell you the key that you have pressed, and the Narrator command associated with it. This mode can be turned on and off with Caps + 1.

Hotkeys: To read from where you currently are through the rest of the application press Caps + R for Read. To jump to the beginning of an application press Caps + Home and Caps + End to jump to the end. Caps + W will now read both the controls in the window and the text.

Narrator Getting Started User Guide: There is now a button in the main Narrator UI to the Narrator User Guide.

Braille improvements: You can type and read using different braille translations. You can also now perform braille input for app shortcuts and modifier keys.

Color filters: Windows 10 now includes color filters at the system level, including filters designed to make it easier for people with color blindness to differentiate between colors like red and green and to make it easier for people with light sensitivity to create and consume content. You can find these new filtering options under Settings > Ease of Access > Color and High Contrast.

Microsoft is listing the complete set of fixes and known issues for build 16215, at the Windows Blog. In case you missed it, you can read all the changes for Windows 10 build 16199 in this article.

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Windows 10 build 16215 for PC is available immediately through the Fast ring. It’ll download and install automatically on your device, but you can always force the update from Settings > Update & security > Windows Update and clicking the Check for updates button.