Microsoft has made Windows 10 Redstone 5 Build 17692 available to members of its Windows Insiders Program. It is the 16th overall development build for this cycle which began back in February of this year.

I have been able to install this build on two of my three bare metal testing devices (Surface Book and HP Spectre x360-15) however, I have had the Lenovo X1 Yoga with OLED crash during the offline phase of the upgrade three separate times. A twitter follower suggested I turn off the fingerprint reader as they found that might be the issue as that worked for them. Unfortunately, my system had another Green Screen of Death (GSOD) even after I disabled the fingerprint reader.

I am going to attempt an update from 17686 to 17692 via ISO which I have access to through the Microsoft TAP program and see if that pushes things through. I will add an update here if anything changes. Otherwise, I might just wait on this one device until the next build is made available. This is a Skip Ahead device and I do not want to reset and lose that access.

So here is a rundown of what is new, the general changes, and the known issues from the official release notes:

SwiftKey

Leading off the feature/capability list for this build is the addition of SwiftKey technology which many of you may already be familiar with on Android and iOS. This service analyzes your typing and learns your writing style to make text predictions more accurate.

Now Windows 10 users can benefit from this same technology when using the on-screen touch keyboard on their Windows 10 device. It is currently available for the following languages/countries

  • English (US)
  • English (UK)
  • French (France)
  • German (Germany)
  • Italian (Italy)
  • Spanish (Spain)
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Russian

You can get the benefits of this service whether you use the shapewriting capability or just type with the on-screen keyboard.

Microsoft Edge

For a brief period of time it looked like a new setting had been made available in this build that would allow users of Microsoft Edge to flip and switch and prevent the auto-paying of media on webpages including audio and video.

After installing the build myself and many others on social media could not find this new setting. A short while later, Microsoft confirmed they had jumped ahead of themselves and the setting was not actually in this build. So we know it is coming and this capability will be very welcomed and it might help Edge’s usage profile as this was a sorely lacking feature.

They also made improvements to the WebDriver which helps with testing. It is now available as a Windows Feature on Demand which means it is updated more regularly with that latest version available for install at any given time.

You can read more from the Edge team about this update for the WebDriver on the Microsoft Edge developer team blog.

Ease of Access

Microsoft brought back a very popular feature that was previously removed from Windows 10 – the ability to resize the text in your Windows 10 UI.

Ease of Access Settings in Windows 10 - Text Size

This new setting works for text you see in Start Menu, File Explorer, Settings, and other areas of the OS without changing your display’s scaling settings.

Several updates were made to the Windows 10 Narrator functionality in this build as well:

  • Narrator Standard Keyboard Layout for Screen Reader Users
  • Automatic Dialog reading
  • Narrator Find
  • List of Objects
  • Selection in Scan Mode
  • Stop on Controls in Scan Mode

Game Bar

The Game Bar in Windows 10 Redstone 5 is gaining more functionality for gamers who play their games on Windows 10 itself.

Windows 10 Game Bar in Redstone 5

Some of those new features include:

  • Audio controls to change default audio output device, mute and adjust volume of games and apps running
  • Performance visualizations for framerate, CPU usage, GPU VRAM usage, and RAM usage.

Game Mode, an option that dedicates system resources to the game being played at that time, has also been updated so that more background processes can be toggled off when the users opts to use the dedicate resources option in the Game Bar.

Note: This week was E3 in Los Angeles, and the head of Xbox at Microsoft, Phil Spencer, talked in an interview about efforts they are making to improve PC gaming. It looks like maybe these changes for Game Bar could be related to those early efforts.

Search

The search preview on Windows 10 has been updated in this build to make it easier to find official Microsoft download pages for various software you might want to locate. The benefit of this change is that it is a server side change so even Windows 10 users who are on production releases of Windows 10 will see this improvement on their devices. Of course, this is also tied to supported regions and might vary based on that info.

Windows Mixed Reality (WMR)

Now users can stream audio to both their mixed reality headset and the system speakers on their device at the same time.

Microsoft also updated WMR in this build with new error codes in the Mixed Reality Portal to more easily identify any errors when using this capability.

They also revealed that the Mixed Reality Portal app will not be serviced through the Windows Store. This allows new features to be shipped and iterated on at a much faster pace.

Changes, Improvements, and Fixes

Here are all the documented items from the Build 17692 release notes:

  • We fixed an issue resulting in audio glitching on systems with lots of firewall rules.
  • We fixed an issue from the last few flights where Eye Control would fail fast and not start.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in certain games, such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, to crash on launch in the last two builds.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in Settings crashing when attempting to open Data Usage Settings in the last few flights.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in an unexpected “codecpacks.vp9” entry in the Start menu.
  • We fixed a recent issue for some Insiders resulting in an explorer.exe crash with AppXDeploymentClient.dll.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in some Insiders recently experiencing a bug check (green screen) with the error SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION in afd.sys.
  • With Build 17672 we made a fix for an explorer.exe crash in structuredquery.dll – that fix stopped anyone new from encountering the crash, however we heard your reports that anyone already impacted was still impacted. Today’s build has a fix for this issue that should resolve it for anyone who was already impacted.
  • To improve discoverability, we’ve moved Delivery Optimization Settings to now be directly listed as a category under Settings > Update & Security.
  • We fixed an issue in Microsoft Edge impacting websites like Facebook.com, where when starting a message only the first contact name entered was automatically resolved while typing.
  • We fixed an issue in Microsoft Edge where if both images and text were selected, right-clicking on the image and selecting copy wouldn’t work.
  • We fixed an issue resulting in the Windows Security app crashing recently when adding a process to the exclusion list.

Known Issues

Of course, we are very early in the Redstone 5 testing and development cycle so the list of known issues is quite lengthy.

  • The login screen will crash in a loop when the active sign-in method is set to Picture Password. We recommend removing your Picture Password before upgrading to this build.
  • This build will only be offered to Insiders running Builds 17655 and higher. You will not be able to update from RS4 to this build without first taking Build 17686 first.
  • We’re working on adding dark theme in File Explorer and the Common File Dialog, but we still have some things to do. You may see some unexpectedly light colors in these surfaces when in dark mode.
  • DRM video playback in Microsoft Edge from websites such as Netflix is broke on this build. But you should be able to use the Netflix app to play videos.
  • Some Insiders may find increased reliability and performance issues when launching Start on this build. We’re investigating.
  • When you upgrade to this build you’ll find that the taskbar flyouts (network, volume, etc) no longer have an acrylic background.
  • There is a bug in these builds that will impact driver testing scenarios. When executing HLK Component/Device driver tests, you may experience a bug check that blocks test execution. We are aware of the issue and actively working on a fix.
  • Due to a merge conflict some settings in Settings may be unexpectedly missing and / or missing their labels.
  • When Narrator starts you will be presented with a dialog that informs the user of the change to Narrator’s keyboard layout. This dialog may not take focus or speak after Narrator has started. We recommend that you Alt + Tab to this dialog, which should cause it to read.
  • The Settings for Keyboard Settings found in the Ease of Access center are missing text as well as visible values in the two combo boxes. Narrator users can interact with these controls and get some information pertaining to the settings that are available to them.
  • When using scan mode you may experience multiple stops for a single control. An example of this is if you have an image that is also a link. This is something we are actively working on.
  • If you change Narrator’s default Narrator key to just caps lock the Insert key will continue to function until the caps lock key is used as the Narrator key or if the user restarts Narrator.
  • If the Narrator key is set to just Insert and you attempt to send a Narrator command from a braille display then these commands will not function. As long as the Caps Lock key is a part of the Narrator key mapping then braille functionality will work as designed.
  • There is a known issue in automatic dialog reading where the title of the dialog is being spoken more than once.
  • The state of a Narrator command such as toggling Scan Mode on and off, volume up and down, voice speed, changing verbosity and context verbosity commands may not be announced when executed.
  • If you have previously performed a Find using Narrator’s Find feature and you bring up the dialog the text will not be cleared from the field.
  • Please refer to the Narrator Keyboard Layout documentation for other issues found in this release that pertain to Narrator. (Intro to New Narrator Keyboard Layout doc).
  • If you have a Surface Studio, it will fail to update to Builds 17682, 17686, and 17692. This bug is fixed and you will be able to update to the next build we flight.

There are also known issues for the new Game Bar in this build:

  • The Game bar may crash on x86 machines.
  • The framerate counter chart sometimes doesn’t show up correctly over known games.
  • The CPU chart shows an incorrect percentage of usage in the top left corner.
  • Charts in the performance panel don’t update immediately when clicking through tabs.
  • The user’s gamerpic doesn’t display correctly, even after signing in.

Lastly, for developers, there is a bug that can impact remote deployment of UWP apps to either a virtual machine or an emulator. Microsoft recommends skipping this flight if this is a feature you use regularly. There is a PowerShell work around that might address some of the regression in this build. Check out the release notes for the details.

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