Microsoft Kicks Off Battery Life Experiment in Windows 10 Test Build

The latest Windows Insider build includes Microsoft's battery life-extending tech, a new nighttime viewing mode and a rapid Hyper-V virtual machine creation option.

Windows 10 Test Build 2

This spring's Windows 10 Creators Update is coming into sharper focus this week with the release of a new build for Windows Insiders.

Members of the early-access and feedback program can now download build 15002 for Windows PCs, announced Microsoft's Dona Sarkar, a software engineer at the software giant's Windows and Devices Group and head of the Windows Insider program, Jan. 9 blog post. Among the lengthy list of new features and enhancements is an experimental power mode that may help boost battery life.

A subset of insiders will notice that some applications appear "throttled" in the Windows Task Manager under the Status column, which typically shows programs as running or suspended. This suggests Microsoft is taking a new OS-level, per-application approach to helping Windows notebook and tablet users squeeze more useful life out of their batteries between charges.

"The experiment should have no noticeable impact on your user experience and we look forward to hearing your feedback," wrote Sarkar. "In support of this experiment, some of you will also see a new power slider in the battery flyout; we're still experimenting with these power modes that this slider sets." Microsoft plans to release more related updates related to the feature in mid-February, she added.

Build 15002 also adds a new blue light section to the operating system's display settings. Similar to the Night Shift feature released in iOS 9.3 for Apple devices, the new controls allows users to configure their PCs to emit warmer colors that help mitigate the sleep-disrupting effects of blue light during nighttime hours.

Blurry desktop apps on today's 4K displays and high-DPI (dots per inch) monitors may be a thing of the past, at least for apps that conform to the company's GDI (Graphics Device Interface) standard. Users can right-click on an application's .exe file to select a new DPI scaling option that uses a Windows-controlled rendering scheme that produces sharper, properly-proportioned visuals.

Following Firefox's and Chrome's lead, Microsoft Edge now enforces the browser's click-to-run functionality on Adobe Flash content by default. Users must now explicitly choose to run Flash content if they happen upon an untrusted site. Browser makers have turned away from natively supporting Flash after the web interactivity and multimedia streaming software was beset by numerous zero-day flaws that cyber-attackers were quick to pounce on.

Microsoft is also setting the groundwork for a quick online checkouts in Edge. The browser contains support for the new Payment Request API (application programming interface) that enables users to complete online purchases using the payment and shipping details stored in their Microsoft Wallets. At this stage, the web payments feature is in preview and is unable to process payments and complete transactions.

Developers and power users can now spin up Hyper-V virtual machines (VMs) faster with a new wizard-driven experience. Hyper-V Manager now offers a Quick Create option that takes just a few clicks to configure a working VM.

And reports of the blue screen of death (BSOD) error screen's demise appear to have been at least somewhat exaggerated. Sarkar revealed that the new green-hued screens that are making the rounds are reserved for Windows Insider builds. Production releases of the OS, including the Creators Update, will retain the classic BSOD, she said.

The exhaustive list of new features is available here.

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...