If you are registered as a Windows Insider, you get to look at the pre-release build 18298 for Windows 10 this week. This new build covers several improvements for a better user experience. These changes range from improvements in user sign-in to touch keyboard input.

Microsoft will use feedback from Windows insiders beginning early next year and will subsequently release the Build 18293(19H1) sometime in April of 2019 after implementing the bug fixes.

What will Build 18298 cover?

Centralizing your sign-in options

Build 18272 optimized sign-in via a PIN or biometric factors. Prior to that, users had two options, password or just sign-in without any security step.

With Build 18298, users can sign-in to Windows 10 using a USB security key. You can create a security key from the sign-in options window.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Security Key Sign-in
Windows 10 Build 18298 Security Key Sign-in

Improvements with File Explorer

A minor graphics change to the File Explorer icon to go with the new light theme. It would be safe to say that more icons will be improved for the new Windows 10 theme.

Windows 10 Build 18298 File Explorer Icon Light Theme
Windows 10 Build 18298 File Explorer Icon Light Theme

Recently downloaded items on top in Download folder

Currently, files are sorted alphabetically in the download folder. With Build 18298, files that you download will be arranged as recently downloaded first by default.

We often have to scroll down a long list of downloaded items to find the one just downloaded. Of course, you can go to the View menu in File Explorer and select Date Modified to accomplish the same result. This new improvement will aid the overall user experience.

Unpin grouped items from the Start menu

You will be able to unpin groups and folders from Start menu with your right mouse click. Currently, you can only resize a group or folder icon in the Start menu.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Start Menu Unpin Group Folder
Windows 10 Build 18298 Start Menu Unpin Group Folder

Enhancement with Touch keyboard

Typing on a touch keyboard on a tablet PC can be cumbersome because you don’t get to feel the tactile response, like from an actual physical keyboard. Additionally, and especially if you are not used to typing on a smooth surface, your typing accuracy gets a hit for touching an adjacent screen-key area.

With Build 18298, Windows will dynamically increase the screen-key size of the anticipated keys based on the new keystroke prediction. This results in higher accuracy of touchscreen typing.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Touch Screen Typing Improvements
Windows 10 Build 18298 Touch Screen Typing Improvements

Command Prompt Console Improvement

Currently, when you right click on the Title bar of a Console window and select Properties, you see Options, Fonts, Layout, and Colors tabs. With the new build, you will see Terminal tab along with the other previously mentioned tabs. With this new change, you get more granularity with terminal color and background, as well as cursor shape and color.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Terminal tab Console Command line
Windows 10 Build 18298 Terminal tab Console Command line

Notepad Improvements

Starting with Build 18298, you won’t need to choose Encoding type to UTF-8 without Byte Order Mark because this will be the default encoding for a text file while saving.

Additionally, an asterisk (*) in the title bar of a Notepad window signifies that the text file has unsaved texts. Surprisingly, Microsoft will not accept user feedback for Notepad from the Help menu in Notepad itself.

Furthermore, Microsoft has added new shortcuts to open a new Notepad window (Ctrl+Shift+N), save as (Ctrl+Shift+S), and close the current Notepad window (Ctrl+W).

You will be able to open and save files with a path longer than 260 characters. Line count for long files will be accurate. Likewise, you will be able to create a new file in Notepad with invalid path issue. Finally, Windows will have better file encoding prediction for placeholder files in OneDrive.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Notepad Improvements
Windows 10 Build 18298 Notepad Improvements

Windows Narrator changes

When you open Narrator with Build 18298 installed, you will see Narrator home window where you can access different options including the guide and Settings.

Windows Narrator will be able to read URL without reading any colon or forward slashes. There are several new improvements with Narrator to give you a better user experience with more natural reading.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Narrator Improvements
Windows 10 Build 18298 Narrator Improvements

Ease of Access changes

For those who need large and colorful prints to see, Microsoft is introducing bigger cursor sizes and colors.

Windows 10 Build 18298 Ease of Access Improvements
Windows 10 Build 18298 Ease of Access Improvements

Additional Improvements

Windows is also changing how their new setup screen looks. You will see an orange indicator over the Power button in the Start menu when you have a pending update that needs a reboot.

The next update build will cover Snip and Sketch applications. Moreover, you will be able to view screenshots and videos of your game window and share it online from the game window itself.

General changes, improvements, and fixes for PC

(Source: Microsoft Windows Blog)

  • We fixed a merge conflict resulting in the Dynamic Lock settings being missing from Sign-in Settings.
  • We 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.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing for some Insiders when clicking “Check for Updates”.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing for some Insiders when going to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in night light settings not working and getting stuck in the last few flights.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in an unexpected amount of space between the categories and subcategories in Settings in recent flights.
  • We 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.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in menu flyouts appearing blank when using the Arabic display language.
  • We 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.
  • We fixed an issue where the handwriting panel might crash when using your pen to input into win32 apps in recent builds.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in not being able to type into certain tables using the Vietnamese Telex keyboard.
  • We’ve 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.
  • We’ve 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.
  • We’ve 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.
  • We’re updating 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).
  • We fixed an issue on the touch keyboard resulting in some letters unexpectedly being black instead of white in dark theme.
  • We fixed an issue where the “…” menu in clipboard history (WIN+V) was clipped in recent builds.
  • We 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.
  • We’ve 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.
  • We 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.
  • We fixed an issue where Magnifier did not work with Touch when Centered mouse mode was enabled.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator sometimes would not start after completing Out of Box Experience (OOBE).
  • We fixed the issue causing Narrator to start unexpectedly. We also made it easier to turn off Narrator when it was launched unintentionally.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator scan mode did not turn off automatically when you focused the address bar in Microsoft Edge.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator heading navigation was skipping some headings in Chrome.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator read page loaded notification multiple times in Chrome.
  • We fixed an issue where Narrator did not read Edit box placeholder text in Chrome.
  • We fixed an issue that caused the settings page to crash after changing the account password or PIN.

Known issues

  • 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.

Source: Microsoft Windows Blog

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