Microsoft Released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18298 with Tons of Improvements

Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18298 (19H1) to Insiders in the Fast ring on Dec 10, 2018. With this build, Microsoft has provided several improvements and new features to Insiders. Here is compiled list of all new big features and improvements in this new build.

WARNING: As is normal with builds early in the development cycle, builds may contain bugs that might be painful for some. If this makes you uncomfortable, you may want to consider switching to the Slow ring. Slow ring builds will continue to be higher quality.
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What’s new in Insider Preview Build 18298

1. All sign-in options at one place

In the build 18298, Microsoft has combined all sign-in options at on settings page. Just go to Settings > Accounts > Sign-in Options and you can set your desired sign-in option. You can also set up a security key straight from Settings.

Image of Sign-In Settings with new Security Key section

2. Enhancements in File Explorer

New Icon For File Explorer: Microsoft released Light theme for Windows in build 18282. Explorer icon was not matching correctly with light theme. So, Microsoft has updated the File Explorer icon, now it looks better with the new light theme. Have a look at how it looks now:

Updated File Explorer looks better with the new light theme.

The default downloads folder sorting: When you download a file, it’s very common that you don’t change the name before downloading it. Because of that, the names aren’t always very memorable (like cake_134_small_red.jpg). This makes sorting by name less optimal since it’s hard to find the file you’re looking for. In this build, Microsoft has updated the default sorting to show the most recently downloaded file at the top of the list instead. But if you’ve already changed the current sorting from the default, this build will not change it automatically, this is only for people who haven’t changed it. If at any point you want to change sortings, you can go to the View tab in File Explorer

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3. Start menu improvements

Quick unpin groups and folders: Sometimes you just wanna quickly start fresh – with this build, you can easily unpin groups and folders in Start via a new context menu option. This option is available in build 18298.

Showing a context menu above Start with an option to unpin group.

4. Touch keyboard improvements

Type faster with more accuracy: When you’re typing quickly, sometimes your fingers miss the actual key you’re trying to hit by a small margin. This is totally normal, but can impact the text prediction accuracy (if you ending up pressing a different letter than expected). To address this, as you type, under the covers we will now dynamically adjust the hit target of each key, based on prediction of what letter most likely will be typed next. The keys will look no different to the eye, but here’s an example of the what’s going on underneath if you’re curious:

Showing the keyboard’s underlying heatmap.
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5. Notepad Updates

UTF-8 Encoding: Now you can save files in UTF-8 without a Byte Order Mark and this is the default for new files starting with build 18298. UTF-8 without a Byte Order Mark is backwards-compatible with ASCII and will provide better interoperability with the web, where UTF-8 has become the default encoding. Additionally, you can see an extra column to the status bar that displays the encoding of the document.

Modified indicator: Notepad will now show an asterisk (*) in the title bar before the title of a document to indicate that a document has unsaved changes. Just like Notepad++ 

Showing Notepad, with a little asterix in the title bar, and showing the encoding in the status bar.

Other Improvements include: 

  • This build includes support for some additional shortcuts:
    • Ctrl+Shift+N to open a new Notepad window.
    • Ctrl+Shift+S to open the Save as… dialog.
    • Ctrl+W to close the current Notepad window.
  • Notepad can now open and save files with a path that is longer than 260 characters, also known as MAX_PATH.
  • Fixed a bug where Notepad would count lines incorrectly for documents with very long lines.
  • Fixed a bug where, when you select a placeholder file from OneDrive in the File Open dialog, the file would be downloaded to determine its encoding.
  • Fixed a recent regression where Notepad would no longer create a new file when launched with a file path that didn’t exist.

6. Narrator Improvements

Introducing Narrator Home: Every time you turn on Narrator, you’ll be taken to Narrator Home, which gives you one place where you can access everything you need for Narrator—whether you want to change your settings or learn Narrator basics with QuickStart.
In settings, you can remove Narrator Home from the Alt + Tab list, and instead minimize it to the system tray. You can access your settings through Narrator Home or by pressing Windows logo key + Ctrl + N.

Showing the Narrator Home, with a landing page that says Welcome to Narrator.

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7. Ease of Access Improvements

Bigger and brighter cursors: This build introduces new cursor sizes and colors to make Windows easier to see.  You can go to Ease of Access Settings (Windows + U), under the “Vision” category, select “Cursor & pointer” to see the list of options. You may still face a couple issues where some cursor sizes may not work correctly on DPI’s larger than 100%.

Showing Cursor Settings, with the option to make your cursor colored and bigger. In the screenshot, the cursor is selected to be big and pink.

8. Enhancing the Windows 10 Setup experience

With some adjustments to the design of Windows 10 Setup, this is how it looks now. The experience you see when running setup.exe from an ISO – it will look like this now:

Showing how the Windows 10 Setup looks now. White background instead of blue.

9. Windows Update Notifications

Starting with 19H1 build 18298, when you install and update and a reboot is required, you will see the Power button in the Start menu with orange indicator alerting you to restart your device.

10. Improvements in Snip & Sketch

Microsoft is currently rolling out Snip & Sketch version 10.1811.3371.0 to Insiders in the Fast ring. This app update has a number of bug fixes and reliability improvements, including:

  • Fixed an issue where the bottom of the snip might get truncated.
  • When saving as jpg, it’ll now use a white background as the background for margins and free form snips.
  • Fixed an issue where if you wrote your own file name when saving a snip, and then went to save again, an auto-generated name would be shown for the proposed file name instead of the one you’d written earlier.
  • Fixed an issue where temp image files in app storage were never cleaned up, leading to potentially a large amount of space being used if you took a lot of snips.
  • Made some improvements to address an issue where the app might hang when opening or annotating a high resolution image when auto-copy was enabled.
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General Fixes, changes & improvements in Build 18298

  • Fixed a merge conflict resulting in the Dynamic Lock settings being missing from Sign-in Settings.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in Insiders seeing green screens with error System Service Exception in win32kbase.sys when interacting with certain games and apps in the last two flights.
  • The update block for a small number of PCs using Nuvoton (NTC) TPM chips with a specific firmware version (1.3.0.1), due to a bug causing issues with Windows Hello face/biometric/pin login not working, has been removed as this build contains a fix for that issue.
  • If you’ve turned off transparency effects, that preference will now also be reflected on the sign-in screen.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing for some Insiders when clicking “Check for Updates”.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing for some Insiders when going to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in night light settings not working and getting stuck in the last few flights.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in an unexpected amount of space between the categories and subcategories in Settings in recent flights.
  • Fixed an issue where the folder size wasn’t calculated correctly in File Explorer’s Properties dialog when there was a path that was longer than MAX_PATH involved.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in menu flyouts appearing blank when using the Arabic display language.
  • Fixed an issue where when inking on a PDF in Microsoft Edge, if you erased some ink quickly after starting the inking session, then added more ink, upon saving the PDF not all ink may be saved.
  • Fixed an issue where the handwriting panel might crash when using your pen to input into win32 apps in recent builds.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in not being able to type into certain tables using the Vietnamese Telex keyboard.
  • Made some adjustments when text scaling is enabled to emphasize the icon in the Action Center quick actions so that the text doesn’t overlap.
  • Made some improvements so that if theme truncation is detected, we will now handle this more gracefully and not result in unexpectedly thick borders around your windows.
  • Made some improvements to reduce the number of times where you might see the error “Windows can’t find one of the files in this theme. Do you still want to save the theme?” appear.
  • Updated the timeout period when dictating (WIN+H) to be from 5 seconds to 10 seconds, to give you a bit more time to think about what you want to say. If you’d like to stop the dictation before then, just say “Stop dictating” or press WIN+H (same as in previous builds).
  • Fixed an issue on the touch keyboard resulting in some letters unexpectedly being black instead of white in dark theme.
  • Fixed an issue where the “…” menu in clipboard history (WIN+V) was clipped in recent builds.
  • Fixed an issue where when displaying the name of a known file type (one registered under HKCR\<.File Extension>) File Explorer would display an empty string for the file name in some cases. Now, if a file name is not available, File Explorer will always show the extension name, even if Show File Name Extensions is turned off.
  • Updated the microphone and camera privacy settings pages to provide information on which apps are currently using the microphone and camera and the date/time apps last accessed your microphone and camera.
  • Fixed an issue where Magnifier would not start automatically even when “start after sign-in setting” for Magnifier was enabled if Narrator was not set to auto start after sign-in.
  • Fixed an issue where Magnifier did not work with Touch when Centered mouse mode was enabled.
  • Fixed an issue where Narrator sometimes would not start after completing Out of Box Experience (OOBE).
  • Fixed the issue causing Narrator to start unexpectedly. We also made it easier to turn off Narrator when it was launched unintentionally.
  • Fixed an issue where Narrator scan mode did not turn off automatically when you focused the address bar in Microsoft Edge.
  • Fixed an issue where Narrator heading navigation was skipping some headings in Chrome.
  • Fixed an issue where Narrator read page loaded notification multiple times in Chrome.
  • Fixed an issue where Narrator did not read Edit box placeholder text in Chrome.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the settings page to crash after changing the account password or PIN.
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Known issues in Build 18298

  • The hyperlink colors need to be refined in Dark Mode in Sticky Notes if the Insights are enabled.
  • Settings crashes when clicking on the “View storage usage on other drives” option under System > Storage.
  • The Windows Security app may show an unknown status for the Virus & threat protection area, or not refresh properly. This may occur after upgrade, restart, or settings changes.
  • Delete previous version of Windows in Configure Storage Sense is not selectable.
  • Settings will crash when opening Speech Settings.
  • The cmimanageworker.exe process may hang, causing system slowness or higher than normal CPU usage. This can be bypassed by rebooting the machine if it occurs.
  • Launching games that use BattlEye anti-cheat will trigger a bug check (green screen) – we’re investigating.
  • USB printers may appear twice in the Devices and Printers under Control Panel. Reinstalling the printer will resolve the issue.

About Aslam Khan

Hi there, I am a blogger, engineer and a computer geek. I love kittens. I spend some of my time blogging besides full time job as Senior Windows Administrator. I like to learn new things.

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