Earlier this month, Microsoft offered a sneak peek at the new privacy settings the software giant plans to include in its forthcoming Creators Update for Windows 10. Now, members of the Windows Insider early-access program can take some of those new controls for a spin.
In build 15019, the Windows 10 setup experience now includes a screen that allows users to toggle certain settings, including location-based services that collect information on a user’s whereabouts.
Users can also turn off the operating system’s speech recognition capabilities, used by Cortana, the built-in virtual assistant, and certain Windows Store applications. Finally, users can select how much diagnostics information they wish to send to Microsoft, either a “Basic” amount of telemetry data or a “Full” helping of data that may include fragments of user content, like parts of a document a person was working on when the application crashed.
The Windows setup process also includes a new captive portal feature that delivers a “lightweight browser experience” enabling users to connect to the internet via WiFi. Typically encountered while traveling and connecting to WiFi networks at airports, hotels, coffee shops and other businesses that offer wireless internet connectivity, captive portals are web pages that often require users to provide authentication details, enter payment information and agree to the provider’s terms of service.
Expanding on the Edge browser’s new e-book functionality, Microsoft has added a new “read aloud” for users that prefer to take more of an audio book approach to literature.
“Just press the “read aloud” button at the top-right corner after opening one of your e-books and listen to Microsoft Edge read you the book with focus on the line and the word being read along,” wrote Dona Sarkar, a software engineer at Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group and chief Windows Insider. “This feature is also extended to all non-store EPUB files opened using Microsoft Edge.”
The troubleshooting hub, now found under the Update and Security screen in Windows Settings, has been expanded to include more common problems and redesigned to help users find fixes faster. Hyper-V users can now resize their virtual machine connection windows on the fly. The guest operating systems now adjust to their new resolution automatically after users click and drag on the corners of the Window.
For gamers, build 15019 includes a new performance-optimizing Game Mode, a dedicated section for gaming and full-screen support for the Windows Game Bar for more titles. The new build also includes built-in streaming support for Beam broadcasts. (Microsoft acquired video game streaming specialist Beam Interactive last year.)
Meanwhile, observant Insiders have noticed references to a Windows 10 Cloud SKU (stock-keeping unit), sparking speculation of a version of the operating system that may challenge Google’s lightweight Chrome OS. Used in low-cost Chromebooks, Chrome OS is taking off in schools and is gaining fans among technology buyers looking for portable and cost-effective systems that seamlessly integrate with Google’s cloud application ecosystem.