Microsoft Adds Three-Finger Gestures to Windows 10 Preview Build

A nice gesture? Members of Microsoft's Windows Insider early-access program can test some new interface tweaks and finger-friendly input options.

Windows 10

Microsoft has added new gestures and revised the taskbar as part of a new Windows 10 preview build.

After a teasing the updated software on Twitter, Gabriel Aul, Data and Fundamentals lead in Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, announced that build 9879 was available for download in a Nov. 12 tweet. "Welcome inside our #Windows10 shiproom - Just pressed the button to launch 9879 to #WindowsInsiders Fast ring!," he posted, along with pictures of the scene at the company's offices.

Windows 10 build 9879 is available to members of the Windows Insider early-access program that have opted for faster, more frequent updates. A slow option is available for testers who want "to wait a bit and let others find any gotchas so that the community gets caught up with known issues and workarounds," explained Aul in an earlier status update.

The latest version of Microsoft's flagship operating system, which is slated to launch next year, delivers on features that were demonstrated at a recent TechEd conference, said Aul in a separate blog post. These include multi-monitor support for the Snap Assist window management capabilities and a handful of "3 finger gestures for precision touchpads."

According to Aul, users now have new, potentially time-saving shortcuts for navigating the Windows desktop. They include:

  • 3 finger up -> Task View
  • 3 finger down -> Show Desktop
  • 3 finger flick to left or right -> switches to previous app (go back 1)
  • 3 finger move left or right -> Alt-Tab (Task View) pops up and you can select the app you want (remove fingers to select)
  • 3 finger tap -> Search

OneDrive integration has been improved, eliminating some common annoyances affecting the way Windows 10 synced with Microsoft's cloud-based storage service. "In Windows 8.1, we use placeholders on your PC to represent files you have stored in OneDrive," causing some confusion about the availability of certain files on a given device.

"For example, people would expect that any files they see in File Explorer would be available offline by default. Then they would hop onto a flight (or go someplace without connectivity) and try to access a file they thought was on their PC and it wasn't available because it was just a placeholder," explained Aul.

Windows 10 addresses this with a selective sync feature. "This means you choose what you want synced to your PC and it will be. What you see is really there and you don't need to worry about downloading it," assured Aul.

The latest build also offers users more control over their task bar. "With 9879 you can now hide the Search or Task View buttons on the taskbar. Just right-click on the taskbar and uncheck the check boxes for whichever button you want to hide," he said.

Rounding out the enhancements are smoother app minimize and restore animations, an updated full screen button in modern apps, support for the open-source Matroska (.MKV) video file format and a smattering of UI refinements. A new Insider Hub app serves as a "one-stop-shop for all the latest news and announcements regarding the Windows Insider Program," added Aul.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...