Members of Microsoft's Windows Insider early access program can now test the new Windows Store-powered Edge extension model and expanded Bash functionality ahead of this summer's highly anticipated Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
A new preview build released this week (number 14342) includes a new method for installing Edge browser extensions. When Edge, Internet Explorer's successor, shipped alongside Windows 10 last summer, add-on support was conspicuously lacking.
In March, Microsoft announced the first batch of Edge browser extensions, including Microsoft Translator, Mouse Gestures and Reddit Enhancement Suite. At the time, the company said that future extensions would be made available in the Windows Store app marketplace, a move that the company claims will simplify the extension discovery and installation process as well as improve security.
Now, Insiders can take the Windows Store-powered experience for a spin, although it will require them to reinstall any previously loaded plug-ins, Gabe Aul, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Windows and Devices Engineering Systems group, wrote in a blog post. When they scan the app shop's listings, users will notice two new additions: AdBlock and Adblock Plus. To avoid problems, Microsoft advises users to install one or the other, but not both.
As is often the case with preview software, users may run into issues. Microsoft cautions that Windows 10 build 14342 contains a bug that causes Edge to freeze if users turn off all of their browser extensions without uninstalling them, requiring them to kill the corresponding process in the Windows Task Manager.
In this build, Edge also gains a new swipe gesture that enables users to navigate back and forward. A new real-time Web notification feature alerts users to notifications sent by select Websites when they're busy using other applications. The notifications appear in the operating system's Action Center and require that users grant their permission. Users can now dismiss Action Center notifications by middle-clicking the app's name.
Microsoft also made some improvements to the Bash command-line tool. The software giant caused a stir during this year's Build 2016 developer conference when it announced it was bringing the Unix shell and command language to the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
"Symlinks within the Windows Subsystem for Linux are now functional on the mounted Windows directories. This fix helps support many scenarios, including the npm installer," wrote Aul. Additionally, Bash on Ubuntu on Windows can now be installed by users with non-Latin Windows usernames. A more comprehensive list of new command line functionality and fixes is available in this MSDN support document.
Microsoft is setting the groundwork for Windows apps that launch when users visit certain Websites, a common occurrence on iOS and Android. Build 14342 includes new configuration settings, but there are currently no apps that support the feature.
Other tweaks include dark mode support for User Account Control dialogs, a new suggestion feature in the Feedback Hub and an updated Windows Ink Workspace icon.