Microsoft Shows Off Big Changes for Windows 10

Released yesterday, the latest developer preview build for Microsoft's Windows 10 brings a large number of changes to the operating system. New features include a more easily resizeable user interface for the Start menu and Action Center, the ability to pin favorite Web sites and other improvements to the Edge Web browser, Cortana intelligent digital assistant, and a pen-based handwriting experience.

The Windows Insiders preview build is available for both PC and Windows 10 Mobile developers. Other improvements arriving with this preview are a new panel for quicker and easier selection of emojis, new phone keyboard-like experiences for PCs, and a one-touch microphone button for desktop dictation in English or Chinese.

New 'Fluid Design' Elements

The Build 16215 for PC and Build 15222 for Mobile improvements feature new elements from Microsoft's Fluid Design System, Windows and Devices Group software engineer Dona Sarkar wrote yesterday on the Windows 10 blog. Unveiled at last month's Build developer conference, Fluid Design is designed to "deliver intuitive, harmonious, responsive and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions," according to Microsoft.

The improved user interface allows users to more easily and smoothly resize the Start menu and Action Center frame vertically and horizontally, as well as diagonally, Sarkar said. The UI also enables a smoother transition from PC to tablet mode.

With this latest build, Microsoft is also rolling out a number of improvements to its Edge Web browser. One brings back a feature requested by users: pinned sites.

"We heard your feedback, and . . . in this build you can now pin a Web site to the taskbar from Microsoft Edge," Sarkar said. By choosing the "pin this page to the taskbar" option in the settings menu, users can add the icons of their favorite sites to the desktop taskbar for quick, one-click access.

Other Edge...

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