Microsoft is now rolling out Windows 10 build 14986 for PC in the Fast ring. The new test preview of the operating system is part of the Creators Update, and it brings a slew of new features and improvements that users will see in early 2017.
Windows 10 build 14986, according to the software giant, includes new voice commands to use Cortana, and the digital assistant gets a new full screen mode. Windows Ink gets a feature to resume your previous sketch, Windows Defender gets a brand-new dashboard, and there are new update experience improvements.
As always, this test preview for the Creators Update release ships with a number of fixes as well as some known issues.
What’s new on Windows 10 build 14986
Microsoft’s digital assistant is getting some great new features. For example, now you can use voice commands to ask Cortana to shutdown, restart, sleep, and lock your PC. And that’s not all, you can now use Cortana to control your system’s volume with voice commands too.
Starting with build 14986, Cortana can also control music playback on more apps, including iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio. You can even control music playback using Cortana when your PC is locked.
Additionally, the assistant remembers the last played music, which means that you don’t have to repeat the name of the app on every query. For example, if you say “Hey Cortana: Play Jazz on Groove”, and you say “Play rock music”, then the music will keep playing on Groove.
Perhaps one of the major improvements with Cortana on Windows 10 build 14986 is the new full screen experience, which you get when your PC is unlocked and idle. For example, now if your device is idling for at least 10 seconds, you can say “Hey Cortana”, and then you’ll see assistant in full screen — just like the experience you get when your PC is locked.
Finally, on this flight, Microsoft is adding the ability for an organization or school to use Azure Active Directory (AAD) identity to sign in to Cortana instead of using a Microsoft account.
Windows 10 is also introducing a number of improvements for the Windows Ink experience that users will get with the Creators Update.
On this flight, you’ll never lose a sketch when you accidentally close Screen Sketch. In the new update, every time you open the app, it will open on a new screenshot, but you can also click the new Resume button to go back to your previous sketch.
The Windows Ink pen, pencil and highlighter flyouts now show a preview of what it would look like to ink with the currently selected color and width.
The Windows Ink ruler now rotates in sub-degree increments when you’re moving it with touch making it easier to line the ruler up with two points on the screen.
On this build, we’re also getting the first preview of the new Windows Defender app, which has been completely overhauled to align with the new Windows 10 app design language. It’s still a work in progress and not all the features work, and you can always open the old interface to control the antivirus.
Improved Update Experience
If Windows Update is unable to find a good time to restart your machine to apply the latest updates, you will now get a prompt to “restart now”, “Schedule” a time that works for you, or simply “Remind me later” which will not apply the update but offer you these options again.
In addition, now there is a simplified process to free up storage space if needed for upgrading.
On Windows 10 build 14986, you can now use the Windows Game Bar (Windows key + G) for capture a recording or screenshot in full screen for 19 additional games.
- ARMA 3
- Battlefield 1
- Civilization V
- Dark Souls III
- Fallout 4
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
- Mad Max
- Mafia 2
- NBA 2K16
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
- The Binding of Isaac
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Tom Clancy’s The Division
- Total War: WARHAMMER
- World of Tanks
Enterprise cloud printing
In Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners there is now a new Enterprise Cloud Printers discovery UI to help corporate users find printer in the network when signed in to Azure Active Directory. However, because the back-end services aren’t yet available, this feature doesn’t work yet.
Updated rendering technology
The rendering engine used on most Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps has been updated, so for now you’ll see some visual glitches.
On Windows 10 build 14986, Narrator is getting a number of improvements, including keyboard shortcuts to hear additional information about fonts, colors, line spacing, margins and more. There is also a new keyboard shortcut for getting advanced information about the selected item (CAPS LOCK + 0, used to be CAPS LOCK + FN), Context Awareness changes, and several other fixes.
The operating system now incorporates standard File Explorer keyboard shortcuts to the Registry Editor, which makes it easier to navigate with the keyboard.
You can use ALT + UP ARROW to go up, ALT + LEFT ARROW to go back, and ALT + RIGHT ARROW to go forwards.
In addition, you can now even customize the font used by the Registry Editor.
USB Audio 2 Class Driver
In previous builds, Microsoft added a new USB Audio 2 Class Driver, but now the operating system will use third-party drivers if one was available. However, for the time being, Windows 10 will use the new USB Audio 2 Class Driver even though another one may be available, but later on Microsoft will change this behavior.
Microsoft is listing the complete set of the features, fixes, and known issues for build 14986 at the Windows Blog.
You can also use the following resources:
Windows 10 build 14986 is available immediately through the Fast ring. It’ll download and install automatically on your PC, but you can always force the update from Settings > Update & security > Windows Update and clicking the Check for updates button.
Update, December 21, 2016: Windows 10 build 14986 is now available in the Slow ring, and you can download the ISO file for a clean install.