Microsoft is giving Windows Server the Insider treatment.
Last month, the software maker announced that Windows Server was moving to a semi-annual update schedule, similar to Windows 10 and Office. To test upcoming updates and gather feedback, Microsoft makes early builds of its desktop operating system and productivity software to members of the Windows Insider and Office Insider programs, respectively.
Now, Windows Insider or Windows Insider for Business users can be among the first to see what the next major update to Windows Server has in store, including a trimmer Nano Server installation option.
Windows Server preview build 16237 contains the new, container-only version of the lightweight version of Windows Server. “To optimize for containers, several features were removed that were in the Nano Server base image in Windows Server 2016, these include WMI [Windows Management Instrumentation], PowerShell, .NET Core, and the Servicing stack, which has significantly reduced the image size,” blogged Dona Sarkar, a software engineer at the Microsoft Windows and Devices Group and head of Windows Insider.
According to Microsoft, ditching those components helped reduce the size of Nano Server images by more than half. Another streamlined installation option, Windows Server Core, had its size reduced by 20 percent in the latest build.
Windows Server Build 16237 also includes enhancements to container networking for improved Kubernetes support and a feature that allows Hyper-V virtual machines to use low-latency persistent memory devices. A lengthy list of new features and known issues that users may encounter is available in this blog post.
On the desktop operating system front, Microsoft also released Windows 10 preview build 16241 this week.
New to this version is Cloud Self Service Password Reset integration, enabling users to recover PINs and passwords from the lock screen. Cloud Self Service Password Reset is currently offered as a feature in Azure Active Directory Premium.
Microsoft has also revamped the GPU performance tab within the Task Manager for users who like to keep tabs on how well their graphics cards pump out pixels.
“We now default to the multi-engine view, which shows performance monitors for the four most active GPU engines,” informed Sarkar in a separate blog post. “Typically you’ll see charts for the 3D, Copy, Video Encode and Video Decode engines. Right-click on the chart to switch back to the single-engine view.”
Other enhancements to the Windows Task Manager include labels that contain the web page title of each Edge browser tab process. Build 16241 also include labels for additional Edge-related processes, including the Chakra JIT (just-in-time) compiler.
Also new to the early Windows 10 Fall Creators Update build is support for USB-based Mixed Reality motion controllers. Bluetooth support will arrive in an upcoming release, said Sarkar. The operating system also now features improved 4K, 360-degree video streaming and a number of reliability-enhancing upgrades for headset users.