There's a new Windows 10 preview build (14931) awaiting Windows Insiders this week, but before trying out its new features, Microsoft is nudging users with old builds to update.
Dona Sarkar, a software engineer in Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group and head of the Windows Insider program, announced this week that the clock is ticking on older versions of the prerelease system software. As of a week ago, some users may have already noticed a new notification informing them that time is running out.
Urging Insiders to update to build 14926 or newer using Window 10's system settings (Settings, Update & Security), she said that it soon will be harder to ignore the warning signs. On Oct. 1, PCs with older preview builds will start rebooting every 3 hours. Two weeks later, on Oct. 15, they will cease booting altogether.
"If your PC is running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Build 14393) in the Slow and Release Preview rings today—this does not apply to you and you will not be notified of your build expiring," wrote Sarkar in a Sept. 21 blog post. Users running build 14926 and newer won't have to worry about their system software expiring until May 1, 2017.
Meanwhile, testers who download the newly released build 14931 can take Windows' new USB Audio 2.0 class driver for a spin. The driver enables native support for USB Audio 2.0 devices, a capability available in Mac OS X. Currently, it only supports playback, not recording, but Microsoft is working on releasing the audio capture component in upcoming releases.
The Maps app contains new features that allow users to check on traffic conditions before they embark on their commutes. "You will see traffic conditions to Home and Work and your most recently viewed traffic cameras so that you can stay on top of the road conditions along your route," said Sarkar. The app also now reflects Windows theme settings (light or dark) although users can independently set the map theme, she added.
The Feedback Hub, which Microsoft uses to gather reactions from the Windows Insider community, also now supports the operating system's dark mode. In addition, the feature now has its own settings page and the original author of a particular piece of feedback now appears in the item's details.
A new Skype integration allows users to send SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messages to Windows 10 Mobile phones from their PCs. Skype must be set as the default messaging app on the smartphone side of things for the feature to work properly.
In terms of bug fixes, Microsoft solved an issue where the screen would go blank while attempting to switch between user accounts. A bug that caused Alarms & Clock, Calculator, Voice Recorder and other built-in Windows apps to quit working after updating to new builds has also been resolved.