Another week, another Windows 10 build for insiders. The increased release schedule pace hasn’t slowed down the new features, and this build, 14279, is chock full of them, but it isn’t without its issues, and one of them might draw the ire of Surface owners.
Most notably, Cortana has some new functionality, and she’s been brushing up on her language skills. She now speaks Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Canadian French. These aren’t just translations either. The Cortana team actively works to adapt her personality, preferences, and word choice to reflect local dialect and culture.
She’s now better at remembering things with the reminder function. For example, tell Cortana to remind you to feed your cat when you get home, and she’ll wait until the perfect time to bring it up again.
Moving on to a more aesthetic changes, the logon screen and lock screen backgrounds are now one and the same. There are still two separate screens when you login, but now they’ll both have the same image, whether that’s a custom wallpaper or the default one. There are also improvements to the Japanese typing experience, with improved text prediction and smooth performance.
A ton of bugs have been squashed this time around. Microsoft Edge and Cortana were crashing for some users on roaming profiles. Cortana was also sometimes showing reminders for tasks that were already marked completed. The desktop wasn’t updating when files were moved to it without refreshing, and certain drivers from Windows Update were causing blue screens. That’s all been ironed out.
There are a number of known issues that tend to pop up in these updates. In this case, it’s the usual suspects – anti-virus compatibility issues, misaligned interface elements, apps crashing – but there’s one in particular that drew my attention.
“We’re investigating an issue in which some Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book devices experience a freeze or hang and all input such as keyboard/trackpad and touch do not work. The workaround is to hold down the power button to force the device to hard reboot.”
To be clear, this is just one of myriad problems that have plagued my Surface Book over the last few months. It happens for no discernible reason, it happens often, and it has nothing to do with this update. Perhaps this is an admission by Microsoft of the Surface line firmware issues, and hopefully it leads to a fix soon.
Windows 10 mobile users have to wait a bit longer for their update, but there’s some good news. Firmware updates for Windows 10 devices will be auto-published for Windows Insiders. No more waiting, the updates will go up for download as soon as they’re ready, hopefully allowing for faster and more reliable iteration.
Downloading build 14279 is as easy as switching to the Fast ring in your system settings. That being said, Surface owners may want to avoid this one, lest they exacerbate their crashes.