Windows 10 Preview Build 14316 Brings Bash Unix Shell

Microsoft gives its Windows Insider a taste of what's ahead in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, including native support for the Bash Unix shell.

Microsoft Windows 10

During Microsoft's Build developer conference last week, the company elicited cheers when it announced it was bringing the Bash Unix shell to Windows 10 this summer. Today, members of the Windows Insider program can take Bash for a spin ahead of the highly anticipated Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Microsoft has released Windows 10 build 14316 to the early-access program, announced Gabe Aul, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Engineering Systems group. To run Bash natively, first "turn on Developer Mode via Settings > Update & security > For developers," he instructed in a blog post. "Then search for 'Windows Features' and choose 'Turn Windows features on or off' and enable Windows Subsystem for Linux (Beta). To get Bash installed, open Command Prompt and type 'bash.'"

When released as part of the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Bash will feature access to the Windows file system. It will enable users to run Bash scripts and popular Linux command-line tools.

Cortana, Microsoft's voice-enabled virtual assistant technology, also gets smarter in this build, or at least more aware of a user's other devices.

Cortana will now notify PC users if the battery on their Windows Phone or Android devices is running low by displaying a message on the Windows desktop. And similar to the Find My iPhone feature in Apple iOS, Cortana can locate a smartphone and activate an audible ring. Cortana can also send map directions to a smartphone when a user asks for navigation help on a PC. Microsoft is streamlining the set-up process in markets where Cortana is supported by automatically downloading the proper speech language.

After announcing the first batch of Microsoft Edge browser extensions last month, build 14316 includes two new plug-ins, a Pin It Button and the OneNote Clipper. It also includes updated versions of Microsoft Translator, Mouse Gestures and the Reddit Enhancement Suite.

Windows 10 build 14316 also introduces the Skype UWP app. Compared to the non-UWP client, it offers most of the software's basic functionality. Microsoft is working on closing the features gap over the next few releases, Aul said.

Action Center, the operating system's app notification hub, now allows users to prioritize notifications according to three levels (normal, high or priority). Additionally, users can now set the number of per-app notifications to their liking.

Other personalization perks include a new light and dark mode toggle. Switching to dark mode causes built-in and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps to take on a more shadowed appearance. The toggle does not affect UWP apps that set their own theme settings separate from Windows. Right-clicking on a window in the Task View now offers users the option to make the selected window accessible across all Windows 10 virtual desktops.

Microsoft packed more detail into its new, higher-fidelity emojis. They now feature a two-pixel outline to improve visibility on any color background. People glyphs now offer a greater variety of skin tones.

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...