Last week, Microsoft began rolling out its highly anticipated Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Wasting little time, the software maker is already laying the groundwork for its next major update, known internally as Redstone 2 (Anniversary Update carried the Redstone code name until its completion).
This week, participants of the Windows Insider early access program who are enrolled into the Fast Ring can access Windows 10 build 14901. On the surface, Insiders may not notice many differences from previous versions, with the exception of some system instability, cautioned Microsoft's Dona Sarkar, head of the Windows Insider program.
Most of the development work in these early stages is taking place behind the scenes.
"We are focusing on making some structural improvements to OneCore which is the shared 'heart' of Windows across PC, tablet, phone, IoT, Hololens and Xbox," blogged Sarkar. OneCore sits at the center of Microsoft's Universal App initiative, wherein developers can code once and target multiple Windows-powered devices (PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox, etc.) with little to no modification for each platform.
"We're doing some code refactoring and other engineering work to make sure OneCore is optimally structured for teams to start checking in new features and improvements in a few months," continued Sarkar. "As a result, these builds may include more bugs and other issues that could be slightly more painful for some people to live with." She suggested that risk-averse Insiders switch to the Slow or Release Rings to access more stable builds.
Those issues include the removal of kernel debugging support over a Firewire (1394) cable. Acrobat Reader, Adobe's PDF viewing software, also crashes in build 14901.
Although most of the changes introduced in the latest test build are taking place in the background, users will see some outward signs of progress.
Build 14901 includes new File Explorer notifications that clue users in to Windows 10's capabilities. The notifications highlight new tools and offer additional information on some of the operating system's features. Experts can disable the notifications in the Options menu under the View tab.
Windows Mobile users have a while longer to wait before they can get their hands on post-Anniversary Update builds of the smartphone operating system.
Sarkar said her team is currently "laser-focused" on getting the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 Mobile out the door. That day is quickly approaching, she hinted, and Insider builds will resume. Typically, Mobile builds trail the PC versions by a few weeks after they are released from Microsoft's internal Development Branch.
Meanwhile, the internet is abuzz with the discovery that Microsoft left a backdoor to certain Windows Phones open.
Two security researchers, who go by the aliases MY123 and Slipstream, uncovered code on ARM and RT (non-x86) devices, according to a report in Fortune. The code, presumably a debugging tool, allows users to get around a phone's or tablet's secure boot functions. Describing it as a "jailbreak technique," Microsoft assured that the flaw doesn't affect desktops and enterprise PCs and cannot be exploited remotely.